For me there is a powerful, primitive magic in painting. Images emerge out of mere gestures and material
substances, something more than was there before, pointing away from the here and now. There is an excitement
as the marks on the painting surface begin to amount to more than themselves, the image coming slowly into
being like a darkroom photograph. When the painting is finished, you can stare at
shapes, colours, brushstrokes, or you can look beyond them to the places where they point. So, though I'm
occasionally fond of caricaturing, my work is mainly in the figurative tradition, and painted mostly in oils,
on board or canvas – using techniques that are centuries old. The apparatus is traditional, but the vision
is concerned with the spaces where we live, now.
Subject matter is important to me. I paint in the realist, topographical tradition, aiming to
represent the world as it is and seems to be. Some people wonder why it is necessary to represent the world as it is, but I believe
it matters, because we today move continuously through spaces we don’t actually see.
Such places include the so-called public spaces - shopping malls and parades, traffic
intersections, motorway junctions, the dead spaces which spring up around urban highways. We move through these
spaces without affect or response, pushing trolleys, steering our conveyances, using them to be somewhere
else. The need to interpret the situations where we find ourselves,
to operate and be effective in them, means we can never surrender to the sensuous overload of really seeing them.
As we can't afford to see the fullness, we cloak the world around us in a veil of familiarity, closing down our
potential for vision, and so miss the deeper reflections of ourselves, the dreaminess, loneliness or
ecstasy which is the landscapes' potential. Consciousness itself creates, or even secretes, this sense of familiarity,
tending to seal us in
worlds of tight familiarity, where we are ‘in control’. Yet this consciousness is its own enemy, sealing
us into a modality where splendour and wonder are dead because risk is dead.
I want to return these spaces to full vision. More exactly, I want to defamiliarize them, give
them back their strangeness. Sometimes it is appropriate to speak about beauty, but why not equally
about triviality, transience, indirection, chaos, ugliness?
There is sometimes a kind of glamour in these subjects, of shopping displays or vehicle design. Here again is a
kind of familiarity, not unseen this time, but carrying the same need for distancing and defamiliarizing.
Viewpoint matters too. I like to work from photographs, snatched from the passing moment, having
no currency beyond it. My paintings make no attempt to transcend time, but hope to live in
the intensity or drabness of the instant - as it comes.
I learned to paint when I was a teenager, at school in Essex, England. I could have studied painting, but I had no
vision for the kind of abstract work that excited people then, and chose an academic path instead - degree and eventually ph.d.
I made money mostly by teaching literature; I also wrote, some plays and tv scripts, and translated some other
people’s poetry. Over a couple of decades I doodled from time to time and slowly forgot how to paint.
Only then, with all deadlines long expired, I rediscovered two things simultaneously - painting and motorcycling.
I found an ancient, simple connection between danger and beauty, a way of peeling the film from the senses. I knew what I
wanted to paint and how to paint it.
I live in West Essex, in the M25 region which borders London, and the starting points for many of these pictures were
photographs taken in this region, where urban development leads to whole new kinds of wilderness emerging. I aim to document the
effect of this process. I often paint large images because I would like them to overwhelm you with strangeness and wonder.
“Outscapes”, Wilde Art Gallery, Wendy, nr Royston, Herts: Sept 2002.
“Blue Edge City”, Brent Artists’ Register, at the Library Centre, Willesden, Feb-March 2004.
"Hinterlands", Loughton Library, October-November 2005
"Edgescapes", Loughton Arts Centre, November 2012.
"The Unmapped Edge", with Alison Chaplin and Rob Lovell, The Gallery,
54 Shepherd market, London W1, August-Sept 2010
"Uncertain Ground", with Alison Chaplin and Rob Lovell, Artefact Gallery, Windmill Street,
London W1, April 2012
“Living for the City”, Blue Wing Gallery, Sandycome Rd Kew, Jan-Feb 2004
Displays, Wilde Art Gallery, Wendy, 2002-2004
Resident display, Brondes Age, Kilburn High Rd, May 2004 - May 2005.
Brent Artists' Register Open Exhibition, April 2004.
"50 over 50", University of Brighton Gallery, July - August 2006.
"Sefton Open", Atkinson Gallery, Southport, 2008
"Eastern Open", Kings Lynn Arts Centre, April/ May 2009
Display, Kenneth More Theatre, March 2011
"Courtyard Arts Open", Hertford Theatre, April/ May 2011
Leyton Library Inaugural Display, Oct-Dec 2012.
buying a painting or print
Many of the paintings and prints on the site are for sale. Prices can be seen on the relevant page,
but with the larger paintings I am also open to offers. I will undertake delivery of the smaller items,
included in the price, but delivery of the large paintings is negotiable. It is often possible to arrange
for potential purchasers to view work before making up their minds. If this is not possible, work is refundable at
cost of postage or other type of delivery.
links and enthusiasms
Does anyone out there share my enthusiasm for the painting of Franz Radziwill? He
was a member of the neue sachlichkeit (new objectivity) group of painters in Germany in
the 1920s and 1930s: his best stuff is both highly realistic and incomparably moody. I don't
have just one address, but type the name into your search engine. Or, why not
Click Here to see just one example!
A rich, broad variety of contemporary work online at
www.agora-gallery.com. Agora Gallery is an organization with two galleries you may visit
physically, in SoHo and Chelsea, New York.
If you like contemporary poetry, the kind of language that you have to loosen yourself
up just to take hold of, then you will enjoy the Great Works website, run by Peter Philpot,
There's an interesting website where you can compose your own patterns run by Max Wright
(a dental programmer in his day job), at
www.wys-systems.demon.co.uk Even better, on this site you can
download a free copy of what I can only describe as the best pc picture viewer I've ever used.
It allows you to play a list of picture files which can be a mixture of all the formats
(.bmp, .jpg, .gif etc), and gives a magnificent full screen view, with further magnification
available. More recently he has added an online pattern program (you can see what others have done, and
contribute variations) at
Finally a link to the UK and Ireland Yahoo directory, which has led some interesting visitors
to this site. Go to uk.docs.yahoo.com/linktoy/
tel: 020 8508 2576
Email at (not a link) firstname.lastname@example.org
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