I am a London Brit by birth, and an Australian by choice. That is an extraordinarily privileged position to be in, and I’m very proud of my international identity.
My wife Ag and I have lived by a railway line in the western suburbs of Brisbane since the mid-1980s. I’ve always loved trains, and I own a model train set, which anyone is more than welcome to take a look at!
A great deal of my formal art education occurred through a seamless and continual process of absorption.
Three of my five years of fine art studies were at the Central St Martins School in London, between 1970 and 1973. The painting, drawing and printmaking studios shared the top floor, and although I never formally explored printmaking, I have a clear memory of a dedicated teacher of etching. From morning to night he advised, guided and inspired not only his students, but those close by. It was palpable. His name was Norman Ackroyd.
We migrated to Australia in 1982. I returned to my fine art roots on a full time basis, and literally “back to the drawing board”, in early 2010.
My initial self-imposed scope of 10,000 hours took five years and four months to complete. I’m currently working through a second 10,000 hour scope. This disciplined approach is dictated by my desire to work towards mastery of my craft. I record all my hours in journals to help me maintain momentum.
The works of French painters Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard lie at the heart of my inspiration. Both are described as Intimists, renowned for subjects of simple everyday domestic scenes. I’ve adopted the title INTIMISM as the theme for my current drawing explorations.
It interests me that these two artists used photography as a preparatory tool during the late nineteenth century. Both were also commercial artists, and Bonnard especially was strongly influenced by the recent influx into Europe of Japanese art and printmaking. And then there is their mutual friend Henri Matisse.
I’m continually charged by the ceaseless energy, exquisite palette selection, and decorative patterning employed by these three giants. Matisse’s subject of odalisques lights a particular fire.
I strive to communicate a sense of warmth and comfort in quiet solitude, and perhaps capture a fleeting moment in time.
My subject is a single female figure, who might be seen engaged in a simple activity; enjoying an afternoon siesta; or naturally posed to express a mood of languid reflection/contemplation. She is set in an embellished interior, which on occasions features a view through a window, and might also include a vase of flowers.
The subject of the figure has always engaged me, so I began this journey by attending two semesters of life drawing.
This proved to be an enriching exercise. During classes, and over the subsequent months, I spent some time experimenting with various materials and surfaces.
Early explorations included making a series of pictures from paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard and Matisse. Additional reference sources included photographs by Brassai, Kertész and Cartier Bresson. I was intrigued by their images of Parisienne life during the 1920s through to the 1940s. Matisse was featured in some of these works, and his odalisques drew me to Ken Jacobson's book: Odalisques and Arabesques – Oriental Photography 1839-1925. This outstanding publication presented further inspirational material, and introduced links to Orientalist Art.
These initial explorations set the scene for my future direction. After exhausting existing resources in mid-2011, I decided to hire professional models and create my own themes, designs and compositions.