“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso
This website showcases my work as a visual artist and as a wood craftsman designing and making furniture.
From a very early age I’ve always wanted to create images as well as make things by hand. I spent a great deal of time during my early childhood drawing pictures of buildings – later using watercolour paint to tint the drawings (I had early ambitions to become an architect – but I failed O’level maths exams several times at senior school – designing and making furniture was a substitute).
I have always been inspired by the local landscape near to my childhood home on the outskirts of Ashbourne (the watercolour of Sturston Lane below was painted when I was a teenager). I enjoyed making card models of Apollo space craft and formula one racing cars. I also created model buildings in our back garden – cementing small bits of limestone together which my father brought back from his work place. All in all I felt destined to want to make a living out of my art and craft abilities.
Since I became self-employed in 1985, I’ve had periods of time where I concentrated solely on making furniture or mainly producing paintings and drawings (the latter when I was teaching on several adult education classes per week). My present work timetable is now more flexible – aiming to strike a balance between the two disciplines. I have also returned to teaching adult education, having recently run two watercolour classes at my home on Thursdays.
Living in such a beautiful area of the UK has given me a lot of inspiration for my work. My home town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, is a very attractive market town with a long history associated mainly with agriculture and is often referred to as the ‘gateway’ to the Peak District National Park. It has a very strong sporting tradition – having its own ancient ‘Royal Shrovetide Football’ game held on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday each year with two millstone ‘goals’ (one for the ‘Up’ards’ side and one for the ‘Down’ards’ side) that are three miles apart.
After completing a Foundation Course in Art & Design at the former Derby College of Higher Education, I spent three wonderfully creative years studying for a degree in graphic design at Norwich School of Art (1981-84). In 1985, with the support of my parents and the MSC Enterprise Allowance Scheme, I started out as a self-employed visual artist and furniture designer/maker. From 1986 to 2006 I worked as a part-time adult education tutor for Derbyshire County Council teaching painting and drawing skills.
I currently live on the edge of Ashbourne with my wife (a teacher and musician) and our young daughter. We both enjoy listening to music from all over the world, especially contemporary traditional Irish music by the likes of Sharon Shannon, Lunasa, Dervish, Altan, Solas, Christy Moore and many other wonderful musicians. We also like to play Irish and British tunes ourselves having jointly started an open trad. music session once a month in a lovely old Ashbourne pub. I still listen to music that dates back to my art school days such as the Cocteau Twins, New Order and the Clash amongst others and enjoy listening to contemporary bands like the Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire to name but a few. I’ve always had music on in the background when I’m working. These days I find listening to classical music or 1950’s jazz very inspiring, whether I’m making furniture or painting in my studio.
We have an organic allotment garden and enjoy walking in the Peak District National Park to (now with our young and lively Romanian rescue dog ‘Star’).
I hope you enjoy viewing my work on this site, any comments you would like to make about it would be very much appreciated.