My personal journey began in 1944 as a Man of Kent
but my love of Cornwall and painting in particular began in 1973
on moving to St Ives.
I had always loved to sketch and draw but never really painted until I saw the artists in their galleries around St Ives harbour and from then on worked hard at teaching myself to paint.
From the beginning I showed my paintings in pubs and restaurants and found people wanted to buy them, so it became a hobby that paid for itself. Soon I was exhibiting in galleries and was invited to join the St Ives Society of Artists in 1976.
My painting did occasionally conflict with my main occupation as a detective, which I had been in London’s East End for ten years and was now again in Cornwall. Some St Ives gallery owners complained that I was encroaching on their territory and so I was obliged to register my painting as a business to comply with Police regulations.
In the eighties I had to move away from West Cornwall and unfortunately allowed my SISA membership to lapse.
A few years spent at Plymouth, and then a move to Truro, fortuitously brought me in to contact with it’s twin town of Morlaix, in Brittany, which was to be a life changing moment.
Having already exhibited and sold regularly in Cornwall, I was invited to exhibit in Brittany at the Morlaix Foire-Expo - where for several days I was painting in public and being required to paint a whole variety of subjects- this being two years running and following that I had a permanent exhibition for a number of years at the village of Locquenole, then some one-man shows at other venues in the north of Finistere, which have only recently ceased owing to a decline in the French economy.
In 1994 I retired from the Police after a career of thirty years, and with my new partner, Rose, set up and ran The Waterfront Gallery in Penzance, as I had long had a dream to sit and paint in my own Gallery/Studio just as I had first seen those inspirational artists in the 70s. However, the location was not as good as St Ives, and two years later I was happy to be bought out by the entrepeneur, Peter de Savary.
I then decided to paint full-time, whilst working part-time as a private detective, and this I did from our new home, a 300 year old farmhouse at Tresowes with Rose, who I married in 1997, and our two Bernese Mountain Dogs.
So, painting and exhibiting continued both in Cornwall and Brittany, and then having always painted alone but enjoying the company of others I looked to join a Group of painters - the St Ives Society had then become very elitist and very different to the seventies, - so I joined the Constantine Arts Society and the Coverack Art Club and through them was encouraged to run oil painting workshops which I began in 2002, initially at Godolphin, then Manaccan and now from my home studio at Chygwins, as the Tresowes Oil Painters or TOPs, who assemble each Wednesday throughout the year.
In 1998, by chance, I began a sideline to my usual painting subjects with Cafe Ole which depicted, on a French Cafe, the players involved in the Football World Cup Final between France and Brazil - very much a play on words and written in French but with a translation provided. This idea proved very popular and developed into Cafe paintings themed for special occasions, such as retirements, birthdays, anniversaries etc., but because of the work involved, are limited to three commissions a year.
There then followed two major events, for me, at around the same time.
First, in 2005, through my nephew, Neil, who was then working aboard the residential cruise liner, The World,
as HR Manager, I was invited to demonstrate and stage an exhibition of forty oil paintings aboard the ship on her 'exotic' journey between Torbay and Greenwich, where she was berthed for 5 days. The exhibition proved very successful and sales included my painting of Old Penzance Harbour for £7,500, purchased by Mr Tsutsumi, of Japan for his new suite of apartments aboard the ship, and an offer to return at a later date as ‘Guest Artist’ when crossing the South Pacific from New Zealand to South America. (Unfortunately, a change in the ship’s key personnel has meant this offer has yet to be confirmed, but one lives in hope!)
From that exhibition, I was able to return to Tresowes with most of the funds required to finish building my own large working space at Chygwins Studio
which occupied me for the next twelve months - and nearly crippled me for much longer!
The other event, was my meeting with the artist Trevor Waugh and a workshop which allowed me to move as a painter from the very laborious detailed style of thirty years to my present more impressionistic, looser style of today. My records show that I have painted nearly 2,000 paintings since beginning in 1973, of which I am fortunate in having sold over 90%, and that list, up until 2006, is headed Pre-Waugh and since then is Post-Waugh. So, I am indebted to Trevor to making me think more about painting light than painting things.
I have since received a number of commissions including one from Wetherspoons resulting in two large paintings now on display at The Green Parrot public house in Perranporth, and am always happy to consider others.
Whilst I am no longer involved with Constantine Arts Society or the Coverack Art Club, I have recently been involved in establishing the Ashton Arts Group
promoting local painters and crafts people engaged in Cornwall Open Studios and with regular exhibitions at the Porthleven Lifeboat Studio.
My style of painting is definitely representational and impressionistic. Being self taught I have concentrated on artists, past and present, who inspire me and from whom I try and learn. So apart from the Impressionists, I look at the work of Ken Howard, David Curtis, Pete Brown, Tom Coates, Peter Wileman and their like. I like to paint what I see, to try to replicate the beauty of the world we live in, and to try and develop whatever skills I was born with, always realising that even after more than forty years I need another forty at least to get close to some of the other artists I see around me - I realise I won’t manage forty, but as the Judge famously said - ‘do as many as you can!’
So, I continue with my passion for oils, but also battle with watercolour - looking to Joseph Zkubvic and Alvaro Castagnet for inspiration - and occasionally acrylics. My preferred subjects are landscape with some seascapes, and character portraits, but I have tackled most subjects in my time where an ability to draw is required............
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my work, there are no hidden messages - what you see is what you get!