From an early age I had always been interested in art, gaining inspiration and encouragement from my parents, especially my mother, who had drawn and painted a little herself as a hobby.
Growing up in a rural Staffordshire village helped me to understand the beauty of the countryside, which I still feel so important in order to portray its true character. Being close to the subject matter is of great advantage to me for the constant reference I need to support my work.
In 1983 at the age of sixteen, I left school gaining a grade A in ‘O’ level art and winning the overall school prize for best art pupil. Upon leaving school, I worked as a storekeeper in a local warehouse, painting only as a hobby in my spare time. In order to give me more time to develop my artistic skills I decided to give up my full-time job in 1994 and take up a part-time position instead.
I gave up the part-time position in 2000 in order to teach painting two days a week to young offenders in a local youth prison. I then reduced this to one day a week as the demand for my work was increasing. I have found working with these young people very rewarding, as there is so much talent that would normally be unrecognised. I have tried to encourage them to see this as a new adventure, and knowing that I may have contributed something towards turning people’s lives around has made the job worthwhile for me.
Although I was initially concerned about giving up my so-called ‘proper’ jobs, I finally got the confidence to turn to painting as a full-time position after seeing the quality and value of my work rise through doing various commissions for art collectors.
Once painting full-time I started showing my works by exhibiting my paintings in one of Washington Green’s Partnership Galleries. This gave me a steady flow of commissions and an increased following for my work. It also introduced my work to Glyn Washington of Washington Green and has since led to them publishing my work. Teaching myself how to draw and paint has taken many long hard hours in the studio to perfect, and it is now that I am finally starting to feel the benefit from it.
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