Watching the grey pink smoke lifting from the blazing flares, I became very aware of the fluorescent yellow gilet labelled ‘Pages of the Sea’ I was wearing. On November 11th 2018, I was one of the invited artists asked to draw in the sand, a portrait of Kenneth W. Grigson 1895 -1918 on the East Looe Beach in the presence of hundreds of onlookers. That stands out as a unique experience and a considerable use of my artistic skills whilst working with others, albeit of a very transient nature.
In contrast, another work I achieved of a very different nature was the commission of a nine foot granite celtic cross for the millennium celebrations at Newquay, Cornwall. Again, a natural material, granite, it will stand proud on the headland for years, perhaps centuries to come. My enjoyment and understanding of art were developed in my youth. Thanks to family friends, teachers and active encouragement from parents, I won drawing and painting prizes at the National Eisteddfod and a foreign holiday prize won in a painting competition via the Eagle Comic.
Needless to say Art College Exeter was the next destination, from which developed a number of distinct aspects of my career; continued studying, teaching and administration and my own practice.
Continued study was at a variety of locations, i.e. Manchester, London, Nova Scotia and Falmouth, with various qualifications and finally, a Masters Degree in the History of Modern Art and Design. However as close friends will tell you, my endless curiosity and research continues.
Teaching and administration was in a variety of sectors from primary to further and higher education including H.M.Prisons, always enjoying the joy and bewilderment as the secrets of using the elements of mood, form, content and process unlocked for each individual. As a result I have worked and studied alongside some outstanding individuals and practitioners. Four in particular come to mind; John Uzzel Edwards I met while still at Grammar School.
He was already the ‘struggling artist’ but quite prepared to have a mutt trail him as we explored the industrial landscape with our noses deep in our sketchbooks and our fingers heavily stained by ink from our pens. Exeter College of Art was a visiting place for Peter Lanyon, mischievous, sparkling of eye and unorthodox of view point, a delight to cross ideas with. Michael Kidner, the ‘Systems’ artist and anthropologist was in a similar vein if not a little more intellectual, challenging and disruptive.
Ian Simpson I met through my involvement with the National Society of Education in Art and Design. I served on the London and Executive Committees. He was at that time Principal of St. Martins School of Art. An outstanding author and collaborator eventually he was to become one of the founders of that most democratic of learning establishments, the Open College of the Arts. Daily I think of his enthusiasm, joy and universal love of art and design, education for all, and his sheer humanity.
As you can guess my practice has waxed and waned throughout my working life, however it grew mostly after the late eighties, so that I was able to develop my work largely drawing and painting and exhibit widely. Which brings me to my favourite places. The link is light, colour and the moment when your head fills with the visual equivalent of the musical surge you have whilst attending a concert of a Bruckner symphony. The first location is a small room off the main Clore Gallery at Tate Britain, where one can stand and watch the dancing pattern of changing light, shapes and forms as the leaves and tendrils dance in the breeze, knowing that behind you are outstanding examples of what can be produced by man. The second is again about light and the thought processes that went to engage it in that particular manner.
You take your place in the main body of the Church of Santa Maria, Trastevere, Rome and wait and wait for that moment in the morning when the sun light creeps across the 12c/13c. facade mosaics and the light and the tessera explode and reveal the images, amazing.
I am constantly exploring, looking, feeling, thinking. The world is full of wonderous things and I look to share some of that with people who view my work.
What is the best work related thing you have done recently?
'The Mind Map' constructed recently to organise myself, again.
What irritates you?
My dear close friend Arthur - arthritis.
What motivates and inspires you?
The light and warmth that hopefully comes with each dawn.
Who would you most like to meet?
Seth, the Canadian Cartoonist who works in the style classic cartoonists of the New Yorker
Who do you most admire?
Apart from those mentioned in the main
text, Charles Schulz - ref. Peanuts