I completed a Diploma in Graphics and Illustration in Bristol in 1972, followed by an Art Teachers Diploma in Liverpool. I became a self-taught painter holding exhibitions, supplying commercial galleries and teaching at the same time. I have taught every age group from infants to elderly people bound to wheelchairs, with some experience with people with asd (of all ages) in between.
Growing up in Pembrokeshire, I early developed a wish to depict the beauty of my surroundings. In the seventies I left London to live in Dolgellau to paint the landscape of the beautiful area of the Mawddach estuary overlooked by Cader Idris. I developed a way of working combining paint with thread, building up texture and colour in layers which I now see as the precursor to wood engraving which I discovered by chance in 2003. The lines and textures rendered with tiny cuts of the tools are akin to the stitches I used to make, and the medium is ideal for expressing the drama, rhythm, pattern and contrasting light in nature.
Much of my subject matter derives from the coast where I was born, as well as visits to Orkney and Brittany, which are in accord with my early impressions. A move to the Black Mountains in 2015 has opened up a whole new wealth of subject matter and great inspiration. I find that to engrave is to re-visit the emotional experience of place and to find expression for that, endeavouring to create a thing of beauty. If that is achieved it is hoped to inspire others – surely one, if not the, most important aim one can have in art.
I work relatively slowly, producing one design over a period of about a month. I work from drawings or paintings rather than photographs as I find the marks I make are more informative than any photographic image can render, although I do use photographs for factual information sometimes.
When drawing I try to see the scene before me already“in the wood”. Therefore the creative process starts there, to make a design that is not an attempt to duplicate nature. The act of engraving forces one to select and simplify and to create a new “Thing” in the world that is a piece of art, not an imitation.
My engravings are printed on a Victorian Imperial platen press and the act of printing is a whole separate skill.
I am a member of The Society of Wood Engravers, with whom I have exhibited in their Annual Travelling Exhibition in recent years. I have work in galleries in Wales and Orkney, and I occasionally teach wood engraving workshops.