“I do believe there is creativity in all of us."
I grew up in Yorkshire and as long as I can remember I have loved drawing.
My Father was an accomplished artist and under his guidance and encouragement I developed quickly and won many national painting competitions in my youth.
My formal art training began at Bradford College of Art and later with the Famous Artists School of America under the oversight of Norman Rockwell. I have been fortunate to earn my living doing something I love during all the seasons of my life.
Art has been a gift, and it has also been a discipline. The simple act of opening my studio door and sitting down at my desk, day after day, has given me the life and opportunities I have gratefully received.
As a young man I used to run up to a hundred miles a week. That focus and attention has, in part, made me the artist I am today. You cannot be in a rush to run that distance and you cannot be in a rush to paint well.
Greeting cards have been the enduring thread to my work. Like running, the routes may have changed, but the form has remained the same.
In my early career I was an illustrator, working in-house and later freelance for brands across the world. When my wife and I had young children I would be at my desk from 6 o’clock in the morning. I finished at lunch so I could spend time with the kids, taking them out for picnics and being part of their lives.
It was a precious time and I’m proud to say they grew up on my studio floor. As they grew I took on roles at leading stationery and print companies. That part of life culminated with time spent as a Director at Europe’s largest greeting card and wedding stationery printer.
Following this period I became freelance again and started painting landscapes in acrylic, a looser and broader medium than the finer and detailed medium of Gouache which I use for my Wildlife subjects.
My first landscapes were painted in Forest Hill, London. But this work came to life in 2003 when we moved to South Derbyshire and the heart of the National Forest, which was coming to life as we arrived.
It was a beautiful, inspiring setting and my landscapes became an unexpected complement to my ongoing work in greeting cards.
The unexpected has been a part of my career and I have always tried to be ready to welcome it. I had six years work after I met the creative director of Cadbury’s at a party round the corner from my house. I also started teaching after someone from our village asked me to start a class. I ran that group for eight years, and I am proud to say that it is still going strong to this day.
Teaching became a large part of my career in Derbyshire. Most weeks I was giving a demonstration or leading a workshop somewhere in the UK. Seeing people blossom was such a joy, and I do believe there is creativity in all of us. With encouragement, the right materials and a bit of teaching it can be brought out.
These days my studio is in Marple. It sits next to the River Goyt, a horse stables and plenty of open fields. I no longer run but I continue to open my studio door every day, sit at my desk and paint. I am and will continue to be available for commissions and greeting card work.
It is now the great grandchildren’s turn to grow up on my studio floor.