Although I had always enjoyed drawing from a child, it was mainly using graphite pencil. The only colouring I attempted was with coloured pencils, never paint. I had used poster paint at school but always seemed to spoil the pencil drawings I had so painstakingly produced, therefore I played it safe and only used colour when it was really necessary.
It was while watching an artist called Nancy Kominsky on the television in the early 80’s that fired my interest in painting. I bought a set of paints and tried my hand at following her techniques, although I was pleased with what I had achieved I must admit now that they were not very good. However It had pushed the button on my creative side and I thought I would look at other artist’s work to see if there was one that I could relate to. I felt that the best place to do this was in an art gallery, but not just any old art gallery, it had to be the best.
I decided that I would visit the National Gallery in London as this would give me a wider range of artist’s and styles. I spend an enthralling afternoon walking round this fantastic place in awe the thousands of paintings and the artistic skills of these great men and women. There was one artist in particular that caught my attention and as soon as I honed in on his work I knew that this was the man I was going to study.
I spent a long time viewing his paintings getting as close as I could to try to find out how he achieved such fantastic detail and effects. I left the gallery determined to find out as much as I could about this great artist and on the train journey home I could not get the images out of my mind. The next day I paid a visit to my local library and came away armed with several books of John Constables paintings, of course there were many there that I had seen in the flesh the previous day so this made them even more real.
Looking through the many wonderful paintings I still remember a thought that went through my mind, it was ‘I can do this’. Where that came from I will never know but it was very real and I believed it. I did try to copy some of the pictures using the oil paints I already had as I knew that this was the main medium that Constable used, however I found that this was much harder than I thought it would be. I did not give up though and tried several other subjects but this time using my own ideas and pushed John Constable to one side, for the time being at least.
I moved on to other mediums and tried several different styles until I settled eventually with watercolour, I continued to work in this medium for many years and the success of this lead me to open my own art gallery in Broadstairs in 1982.
In the late 90’s while demonstrating the pastel pencil medium at an art show in London I was introduced to Edward Jackson who was the director of the Field Study Centre in Flatford Mill, Suffolk. He asked me if I would like to run pastel pencil workshops at the centre, I agreed to meet up with him and arranged the first course. As I am sure that you are aware that Flatford Mill was owned by John Constable’s father and John spent many happy years helping his father at the mill before moving on to London to pursue his art career.
I spent many years visiting Flatford mill running successful workshops there until I ‘retired’ in 2005. I have a lot to thank John Constable for and without that first inspired push I might never have had the wonderful career I am having.
I am lucky enough to pass on what I’ve learn to members of my website. You too can learn to paint using watercolour or draw using Pastel Pencils using my online courses. Prices start from an incredible £3.99 per month, there’s no contract and you can cancel anytime.