Early Years


I am a self-taught artist that started out in the 1990s, and like many artists I created artwork by simply copying what I could see before me. I was gifted a natural talent and ability to paint accurately; at the time I would read books to learn more about the craft and understand ways and techniques of refining this skill. This was nurtured through portraiture, traditional landscapes, also animals like horses, dogs and cats. I painted many commissions for people especially dogs and horses back then; but it didn’t give me the satisfaction I was searching for. In 2007 I met my wife and fortunately for me, she was a head teacher. Being a lover of modern art she suggested I should try painting in a different way, to be more expressive, and that was spark that lit the fire within my soul to paint more abstractly. I have never looked back since.


Recent Years


The last several years has been a steady period of growth allowing myself to mature as an original artist by my own design. Along the way I have seen the successes of my development in art sales; growth in social media profiling, my first gallery exhibition, along the successes there have also been the challenges too. Being a painter that creates from within is an emotional process and my mood has to be right: creative block is very real and yet sometimes I can set out to paint but I just don’t find the inspiration to.

I took some time out for a year or so to move home and re-locate into the Ribble Valley, a truly stunning part of England. The move to this location really helped with the creative challenges I was experiencing; now every day I am truly inspired by my surroundings.

2016 year was my first venture back into the art world living in my new surroundings; this time by entering an art competition against respected amateur and professional artists from the region. I was awarded with the runners up prize from a selection of around seventy fantastic entries. This has enabled me to meet like-minded artists, raise my profile and network within the community.


2017 and Beyond


I feel it’s going to be an exciting year for me, especially as an emerging artist. I have two more art projects underway, an exhibition and another few competitions ahead. I consider my journey of art and to progress to be a steady flow enjoying the joy it brings me. I hope to continue with my successes and further develop my style as an artist.


Historical learnings and understanding


The word abstract comes from the days of the philosophers, and it seems to be one of their spotlights that they had particularly focussed on “Art.” So the artist is always illuminated by it. As soon as the term abstract comes into painting, it ceases to be what it is as it is written.


Once upon a time, a painter used “Abstraction” as a title for one of his still life paintings. It wasn’t a very good rendition of true abstraction, but from then on the idea of abstraction became something additional to art. Immediately it gave some people the idea that they could free art from itself. Until then, Art meant everything that was in it, not what you could take out of it. For the painter to come to the “abstract” or the “nothing,” one needed many things. Those things were always things in life; a horse, a flower, a building, the light in a room through a window, tables, chairs, fruit and so on. The painter, was not always completely free from subject.

The painted canvas had a lot of descriptive labels attached to it like “beauty,” “space,” “expression,” “classic,” “epic,” “romantic,” “pure,” “balance,” etc.

That ‘nothing’ which was always recognised as a particular something and was generalised, into circles and squares. They had the innocent idea that the something existed in spite of, and not because of, and that this something was the only thing that truly mattered.


Kandinsky understood “Form” as a form, like an object in the real world; and an object, he said, was a narrative of course which he disapproved of it. He wanted his “music without words.” intended, with his “inner-self,” to rid himself of “philosophical barricades” I read the book but it was too theory driven for me.

I did take a particular liking to the work of Hans Hoffman and his book, Colour Creates Light. Hans was a teacher of the Abstract Expressionist movement. His theories about colour producing light on a canvas, as to that in nature and light producing the colour, the rhythmic movement of space and tension between colours and of course the push-pull theory definitely resonated with me. I apply some of this methodology into my own work which helps me to connect and communicate with my work.


More recently, just a few years ago there was an older gent from the USA, Stan Mckenny, who contacted me through social media. He studied in the New York school when the abstract expressionists reigned supreme. He noticed something in my work he admired and offered to mentor and guide me for a period of time; this would enable me to understand and put meaning to my work. I was fortunate to discover some of the old secrets from the masters of abstract art from back in the day. This included a few little tricks into making artwork sing with colour and provide a communication to other souls. Of course the knowledge I gained is all lost in today’s art classroom, so I hold these secrets very close to my heart.


My Opinion

I have learned a lot from many abstract artists and they have confused me a great deal too. One thing is certain, they didn’t give me my natural ability to draw and paint. I have probably obsessed too much considering their ideas, but now I have enough stored in my head to continue in the search for my way of painting.

Abstraction has always been about essences, intuitions; something you cannot put into words. But today it seems like everything can be put into words. This has certainly diluted abstraction's position and mystery. Although what distinguishes it from other forms is no longer clear and we continue to embrace it. I would still say with conviction abstraction is alive and well.


Abstraction Is Not Easy

Quite often you will hear people comment about abstract art “I don’t understand what it is”, “a child can paint like that” and “what is it supposed to be?” Trying to explain in simple terms can equally be a difficult task too.

Spiritually I am wherever my spirit allows me to be, being creative cannot be switched on like a switch either. I have found that abstraction is the most emotional way to paint, and also quite difficult to render. I've been confused recently for a good while, battling with senses, overthinking my work. I have been making a transition into producing a more abstract subjective approach, but keeping the elements in the way I paint. It is quite manipulative and is currently the emotional rollercoaster I am in contention with. I know all artists go through this, I believe it is something we artists learn to live with.

When I get it right and persistence does prevail eventually; the feeling is so ecstatic it is worth every single battle with myself to produce work I am truly happy with.



A Final Thought

I suppose I do not need a movement to be part of or conform to. What was given to me, I take for granted and there is not only one style of painting now in today’s art world. Of all the movements and isms, I favour expressionism the most. It has that wonderful limitless atmosphere of itself; a world within a frame where something could be possible, where an artist can work with intuition. It doesn’t require absolute precision but it encourages the inner eye to make the commanding brush strokes. My work can exist there with absolute freedom; there are no more rules or ideologies to uphold or hierarchies to respect. It has a force within itself.


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