I grew up strongly influenced by art, as my mother was always steeped in some form of creative project, but it was my love of painting that always interested and inspired me the most. Life took me in a different direction as my career, for 35 years, was in the family engineering business. When I retired I was able to pursue my dream and become a full-time artist.
In order to establish my own style, rather than formally studying art, I taught myself over two years the skills used in the many different artistic mediums and materials which I had been fascinated and inspired by.
I live in North Somerset and have a holiday home in Cornwall, and the stunning land and seascapes in these areas are where my inspiration comes from. Over the years I have developed a deep awareness of, and intense relationship with, these places. Some are related to my childhood memories and therefore imbued with a deep sense of time.
I am also drawn to secret and secluded places, such as meadows, woodland and hedgerows, where I find captivating and exhilarating subjects to paint all year round. I try to produce work that captures the beauty of nature, and that reminds us of the things often taken for granted in our increasingly busy lives.
Exhibition & Work Space
I also have a studio nearby, located at the beautiful Barley Wood Walled Garden.
During open studio events, such as Open Studios Cornwall, I exhibit from my studio located in my home in the beautiful seaside town of Bude, North Cornwall.
The house is one of the original Mariners cottages built in the early 19th century and is superbly positioned within 100 yards of Summerleaze Beach. It has outstanding views looking across the beach and out to sea.
My passion for the outdoors, and love of nature, means I spend plenty of time outside walking the many coastal and inland footpaths, soaking up my surroundings and thinking of my next art project. When working outside I enjoy the challenge of the unpredictable, ever changing light and weather.
Painting outside often needs to be fast and dynamic, letting something, which is beyond my control, appear like magic and acquire a life of its own.
The creation of each piece can be physically demanding as I push each medium as far as possible whilst experimenting, learning and developing my style.
Although I prefer to work on location, capturing the true emotion of a scene, I am sometimes confined to my studio. Here I use sketches, photographs and my imagination which all allow me time to give more thought on how to complete each piece.
My Vision Shared
Spending time getting to know a place and becoming saturated with raw, natural beauty is, for me, what it is all about. I get to know the subject well, and my paintings are developed as a result of many hours spent walking through and observing our rich and amazing landscapes. What you see in a painting is my vision and personal journey through the natural environment.
I do not necessarily strive to produce a direct representation or a technical piece of art, but rather create my own impression of what is around me. This allows others to see it through my eyes and evokes a response within the viewer, changing their perspective. Placing emotion, energy and freedom into each piece, be it a floral or woodland scene, a seascape or landscape, transports the viewer into the scene itself.
I find my mind is clear and focused when I paint, leaving the everyday life behind me. When painting, there is a freedom to express myself along with a deep sense of self-satisfaction.
My intention is that the viewer also becomes deeply absorbed, discovering a new depth of understanding towards their natural surroundings.
Process & Technique
I am often asked how I make each of my pieces so different; whilst the subject matter remains the same, each one of the paintings is seemingly almost entirely unique. The reality is that the sky and sea never remain the same; there is never the same sunset or cloud formation, the sky is ever changing, and that is something that I wish to emulate in my artwork.
To produce an exciting sea or sky I allow the flow by letting the paint move on the surface. I wait for the paint to dry before re-wetting and layering further. The result brings depth and dimension to my pieces.
My process is very intuitive, allowing the brushstrokes and marks to follow directions of movement and this creates a rhythm whilst working which, at times, can be very physical.
I translate the subject into marks, brush flicks dots and strokes of paint to portray an idea of the place rather than an accurate representation. I apply colour using a wide variety of techniques to capture the flickering and ever-changing qualities of light, sound and feelings.
I refuse to allow my paintings to appear rigid and cold. Throughout every piece of my work I attempt to build-up a relationship with my surroundings so to avoid a controlled systematic approach.
I try to translate wild places with patterns and impression of light and shade with colour, vitality and inventiveness.
I often feel compelled to paint with bright vibrant colours using watercolours, acrylic inks, acrylic paints and oils onto textured surfaces. When using watercolours and acrylic inks my colour choices are quite intense as I often apply them directly from the bottle or tube, which gives my work the vibrancy I aim for.
I enjoy the effect of using bright colours in some of my works, and a limited pallet of just a few colours can also have a dramatic visual effect. At times the surface takes on a bold textural feel by using textured pastes. This combination expresses the energy and movement of the scene and gives an experience of dimension, richness and depth.
Sometimes I will dilute the acrylics or use them alongside diluted watercolours, allowing the colours to mix together on the paper achieving wonderful effects. I often apply inks onto a wet or dry surface using a stippling or spattering technique to give movement to my work.
With each artwork I aim to stretch both my own and the painting’s limits which can be both challenging and intense. When using mixed media and boldly mixing different materials, the process always excites me as it develops. Even if I am painting the same subject over and over, I will experiment with different techniques and materials to keep the feeling of inventiveness and intrigue throughout.
When it comes to reviewing a painting, I am hugely self-critical. I will leave paintings for weeks and sometimes even months, untouched and unseen. Then I will come back to them, re-assess, and see if they have worked as I had originally imagined. Although this is a time-consuming process I regularly find revisiting my paintings helps me see them from a fresh perspective.
I remember my original inspiration and being able to take a step back from my work enables me to take on the perspective of someone viewing the painting for the first time.
Over the years my large amount of artwork has been compiled in two books, Art to Inspire and The Complete Picture. A chance meeting with poet, John Watts, was the catalyst for my most recent book, The Complete Picture. It is a stunning and original creative collaboration, combining my artwork with John’s poetry. He describes my paintings using sublime prose, complimenting beautifully the relationship between the two creative mediums of poetry and painting.
Inspiration from the Arts
As well as my surroundings, much of my inspiration has come from examples set by others. Combining ideas and techniques that have already been tried and tested by other artists has led to the development of some of my most exciting pieces of artwork. Innumerous local, national and international artist inspire me to learn a new skill or develop a new interesting way to paint. This makes it almost impossible to compile a complete list of my ‘favourite’ and most inspiring artists but here are a few artists who have inspired me...
Turner’s painting, The Fighting Temeraire, was the centre piece above the fireplace in the living room of my childhood home. How I gazed at this painting not really knowing who J.M.W Turner was. I was attracted to the light and wonderful colours portrayed in this fabulous work of art. There has never been, and never will be, anyone quite like Turner.
Jackson never ceases to fascinate me with his vast array of paintings which portray his feelings and his awareness of the environment. I could have easily been held back creatively if he had not shown me, through his work, that there are no boundaries and no rules.
Edmondson’s unmistakable style instantly had me transfixed. In my eyes, his pictures are just deliciously appealing, especially as he paints outside in all weathers to create the atmosphere that can only come from being immersed in the elements.