After completing a degree in Fine Art at Coventry University, in that fortunate era when students could get grants to live on, I spent most of the next 20 years working as a volunteer with the Unification movement. Among the projects I took part in were delivering aid to a Croatian refugee camp, 8 years working at sea on a variety of fishing boats, and 2 years on a reforestation scheme in Brazil – no time for art, but plenty of colour and unforgettable experiences.
In the late 1990s I moved back to the UK, and have taught art in adult and community education, at the same time as getting back to my own painting. My work is inspired by the world around me, and I have a desire that is almost an obsession to be outside . The moments a sparrowhawk flashes past, almost brushing me with its wingtips, or a flock of goldfinches erupts from a tree in a burst of colour, are moments of magic.
I work in both watercolour and mixed media. The mixing of media in the same painting is a process I developed at art college, because it allows a richness of texture and light. I am drawn to small cameos rather than sweeping landscapes, trying to let the light and jewel-like colours recreate the almost mystical peace I find in woodlands and meadows. Birds are an important part of my world, and while the landscapes have become more impressionistic as my work develops, the birds remain true to life.
I exhibit and sell my work throughout the county, and rely on that more as the Adult Education programme has shrunk in recent years. It’s never easy to make a living through art, but I value time above anything else, and my aim is to live simply and use my freedom creatively.