Growing up in England during a time when the “ Back to Nature” movement was in full swing meant a lifestyle that was lived close to the land. Self-reliance and self-expression were encouraged. Childhood in a small rural village near the Staffordshire Moorlands, was spent running free and wild through a countryside that was lush and green, although often wet. The air was electric from the constant movement of the wind or wind-driven rain through the leaves and wildflowers. The humming, buzzing, chirping, squeaking energy of wildlife made us know that we were a part of something big and good.
Home was about finding your passion in life. My mother’s passion was nurturing and rescuing. In our house the outside was inside. Thus I grew up surrounded by a jungle of plants and animals. A baby crow that had fallen from his nest, a sheep who’s mother had been killed, cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, cockatiels, chickens, rabbits, these creatures were my brothers and sisters, and I became fluent in the expressive language of animals.
At three years of age, Meningitis struck my young body and I was taken by ambulance from my nurturing home where everything flourished and grew. This unexpected separation unhinged my world. When returned from the hospital frail and unable to walk and with damaged eyesight, I was isolated from my friends and familiar activities to allow my weakened immune system to recover. During convalescence I discovered art and it allowed me to process my newly found fears of being returned to that empty antiseptic world. Eventually my art became a safe place to escape. As I got older, I came to understand that life, like art, is a story - you just have to make it up as you go along being sure to avoid the nightmares, of course.
My work is a series of vignettes about life; a commentary on the quirky, bizarre, funny and muddled up human existence on this planet. I’ve always been a watcher of life, and much of what I see is collected in sketchbooks in the form of gesture drawings. These drawings are then spun into compositions using strong design and color elements, which I make permanent through acrylic paint or oil pastel. Animals tend to take center stage in my paintings and have human personas. They wander through my work looking for a purpose and a place to belong. Often the presence of people is implied, through the animals, buildings or vehicles. An idea started in one painting may continue into a series of work until a whole story evolves. These stories are how I process the thoughts and feelings about my own existence.