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Painter's Progress-A look back

January 7, 2016

 

It’s said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And (never start a sentence with 'and') so it is with many of life’s journeys.  A new career, a new painting…..a blog.  All are steps into the unknown and as such require confidence and the desire to move forward.

For me, the start of a new piece of art is a joy whatever the outcome. The preparation, the choosing of colours, the laying on of paint is an adventure of possibilities.

A blog, now there’s a challenge. What to write? How much to reveal? Who cares?

So, I’ll start at the beginning.

 

I was not always a painter in fact I studied for a degree in Graphics at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, Wiltshire which was a wonderful experience. I was not, however a great Graphics student and on moving to New York in 1978 found work in a fabric design studio on 41st Street. This experience gave me a love for textiles which has grown ever since, and I often use the fabrics I have gathered as pattern elements in my paintings.

 

Moving on. With the birth of my first daughter I began working as a freelance illustrator of mainly scientific subjects for books, magazines and journals. In 1989, now with two lovely girls we moved to a Civil War Era house near Charlottesville, Virginia where we stayed for almost five years. In the rolling countryside of Greene County we enjoyed a close to nature lifestyle with abundant garden produce in the hot summer months and abundant woodstoves (5) in the often perishing winters. Still illustrating, I decided to try ‘proper’ painting for the first time. I started with acrylics which I found stifling but quickly moved on to oils and canvas which I have used ever since.

 

Departing in 1993 for the Isle of Man we were faced with a ‘what to do’ dilemma. Steve quickly found teaching work at the local college (graphics and media) and we opened an antique shop in Castletown, once the ancient capital of the Island. In antiques our main interest was furniture and decorative pieces from the Arts and Crafts Movement and ceramics from that period on into the 20th Century. I still collect ceramics and use, like the textiles the most interesting pieces in my work. Being a shop owner had it’s ups and downs the biggest up of which was when a Designer from a period film production walked into the shop and asked if I’d be interested in working on their project as an Assistant Prop Buyer and to keep an eye on the accuracy of the dressing. Hurrah, the perfect melding of art and antiques (with long, long hours) but great camaraderie. Thereafter followed a steady stream of film projects which have taken me to many fabulous places and given me the opportunity to work my way up from Assistant, to Buyer to Set Decorator with a few stints as Art Director thrown in. Almost twenty years later I now chose my projects carefully and use the in between time for the painting which seems to be taking over more and more.

 

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