A Peaceful Way
I’m originally from Ebbw Vale in the south Wales valleys and was brought up surrounded by the end of heavy industry, within the ups and downs of a tight knit community. I’ve had a passion for art since I was very young and obtained a degree in graphic art before enjoying 15 years working as a primary school teacher.
Watching Over the Sleeping Streets
Most of my artwork is based upon the environment in which I live. I endeavour to portray the natural beauty of my surroundings, as well as the decay and deprivation that has resulted from many decades of heavy industry and neglect. I’m inspired by dark and quirky films, browsing around galleries and thumbing through picture books, particularly children’s illustration and comics. It’s hard not to be inspired by everything, even the bad stuff.
I draw extensively and my sketchbook is the diary of my thoughts, ideas and personal experiences, which become the skeletal structure of everything that you see on canvas. When the overall shape and the layout are formed, I begin to develop the colours and the mood of the final piece. My style is continually evolving; I’ve experimented with techniques from photomontage to sculpture and pastels, although I generally choose to paint in oils. The process of producing a new painting is a long one and an image can take anything from six weeks to eighteen months. I enjoy all aspects of crafting a new painting but it is the final fine detail that I really like.
People often look at my work and find places that are familiar, but in truth, many of these places are not real… more an ensemble of memories and dreams. I try to tell a story in each image and often hide messages within the details. My painting of Castle Coch, for example, is packed with references to Aesop’s fables. Many of the paintings contain a journey in the form of a path or a road. I like people to find their own stories and tell me what it means to them.
In 2012 I was shortlisted for the ‘Welsh Artist of the Year’ competition for my painting ‘ The Rusted Iron Shards of Choking Air.’ Since leaving my teaching job a year or so ago my career as an artist has gone from strength to strength. I have exhibited regularly in both solo and group exhibitions and have an ever growing portfolio of work.. I now have a small studio tucked away amongst the shops in Abergavenny. I sell pictures across south east Wales and have exported work all around the world.