Born in Bedford, UK, in 19XX I always had an interest in art. My earliest recollection of making a painting was an underwater scene painted in water colours. A medium I have never really mastered to be honest. It was, as I recall, for an art competition in Sunday school. I remember I won something with the picture but I cannot remember whether I won first prize or not. I like to think I did though.
My next recollection of art work and the picture that made me begin to believe I had some talent was a sketch of my late father. He sat one Sunday watching TV and I did a portrait of him using a simple HB pencil. Every member of my family who saw it said how fantastic the likeness was, I was about 13 or 14 at the time. Using the portrait I went on to make a lino print from it, well several actually as you do when something is successful.
I then started thinking that I should take art a little more seriously at school. Which I did. Going on to do A level. This was followed by teacher training college where art replaced maths as my main subject.
As a student art teacher I thought it would be important to learn as many mediums as possible as not every child in school will be a budding oil painter, or potter, or photographer etc. So my logic was learn as many different mediums as possible and then I would later be able to help as many children as possible.
My final art exhibition contained everything from embroidery to a customised car. Much to the dismay of my art professor who thought I should have an exhibition of just oil paintings.
During my time at college I made pocket money by screen printing posters for the social club to advertise a forthcoming dance or disco, I made passport photos for any student who needed them, the new intake always needed at least 8 to start with, I made pencil drawings of the current heart-throb singers and actors selling them for a massive 50 pence a drawing. Mind you 50 pence in the 70`s was actually worth something. The biggest earner was a colection of black and white photos I took for an older art student who made a 12 place dinner/tea service from clay. He was amazing. He made and hand glazed cups, saucers, soup and dessert bowls, tea plates, dinner plates even the handles of the knives, forks and spoons were made. He even made the kiln which he fired everything in. My job was to record his work from start to finish. Not only did I enjoy watching him at work and getting paid for it, I learned quite a lot about using clay. It was never my medium of choice though.
By the time I was approaching the end of my college days I was a photographer first and foremost. With most of the artistic work coming in the darkroom.
It was about a year after college that my artwork stopped. Not through boredom or lack of ideas, more because I was busy with actually working for a living. I came out of teaching after a year and went and got a proper job.
About 2 1/2 years ago, my wife came home from Aldi one day and brought with her a cheap canvas, cheap acrylic paints and brushes and said to me that it was time I had a hobby and that I had always told her how I was pretty good at art. So the message was....... there you go pal, prove it.
So 30 minutes later I showed her my painting. I am going to show it here but please remember before you criticise too much I had only used paint and brushes to decorate at home in the previous 30+ years.
This was followed by a painting of a windmill museum on the outskirts of the village where we live in Germany. Again using acrylic paints.I was now beginning to get the bug for artwork again so started browsing the internet to see what others were doing.
Boy was I gobsmacked.......... I saw a youtube video of someone drawing a portrait with charcoal. The end product looked like a photo. Absolutely amazing.
But charcoal......... yuck, that messy, smudgy black stuff.......... tried it once and couldn`t get on with it at all. But I thought, if I can still get likenesses surely to use charcoal is just practise. So after a bit of practise with different grades of charcoal pencils and powders, shading, erasers, different papers etc. I thought it is time to actually draw a proper picture. Choosing a well known face I went ahead and completed my first ever portrait with charcoal. My logic being that if I showed it to someone and they said...... that`s nice who is it? Or ....... I can see who it is meant to be but ......... then I would need to practise more.
I have to say I was quite pleased with everyones reactions although I knew technically it was far from perfect, but hey it was my first attempt with charcoal. Now, just over a year later, I am nearly always busy doing prortraits for people and each time getting better and better.
Now it was time to get back to painting, an abstract work or 2. The first was just something simple in acrylic paint, well actually the first two were but the second one was a bit different.
The above picture really doesn`t photograph too well. The star formations are Swarovski AB crystals and nreally sparkle. The clock really works. The rest of the picture is painted in acrylic paint.
Of course looking at internet can end up being quite expensive. My downfall this time, just after Christmas 2015, was seeing people work with an airbrush. I just had to get one to try. It is far harder than i thought. So many things to think about before starting to paint and during painting. Especially during. But, as with charcoal, I believe it is a case of practising.
So then an opportunity arose where I could put my very limited practise an experience to use. I have failed to mention previously that my actual job is teaching. NO, not art but English. Besides working in an international school in the Netherlands I do a number of private lessons. During one lesson my student asked me if I could copy a photograph he had on his phone. He had been trying to get it blown up and printed as a poster via internet but always got the same comment....... the quality was not good enough. So he emailed me the photo and I tried a smaller version than the size he wanted. My first attempt at using the airbrush with acrylic paints on canvas ( a small amount of brush work too but mainly airbrush ).
For this try out I wasn`t too bothered by the colours, I just wanted to see what I could achieve. The painting is fairly small at 40 x 30 cms. As a first attempt I was quite pleased with it, so I decided to attack the bigger canvas that I needed 120 x 80 cms. Also this time I made sure the colours were correct for what I needed to use.
The final result:
I am pleased to say my student was over the moon with it, which makes me a happy bunny.
So, to avoid too much rambling, I am currently working on 3 projects. One an acrylic, surrealistic painting, not yet to be shown. The second is an abstract figure in oils, again not ready to be shown and finally another abstract on big canvas, 80 x 120 cms, in oils. Soon to be finished hopefully.
Whilst I originally trained as an art teacher I have not done that for so long it would be a little arrogant or presumptuous to think I could teach anyone via my website but I have included some information about techniques, equipment/materials and general tips for anyone who has the slightest interest.