I am a mixed media artist, working in Leicestershire in the UK. I mostly use pen, ink and watercolour to capture the excitement of a moment in time – from sport, landscape or live events. Sometimes there is a reportage element to my work but other instances, the images come from my response to the movement and action in front of me. I work spontaneously and intuitively, using materials which fit easily to discrete observation and quick decision-making when working. Drawing directly with pen and ink and adding quick flashes of colour almost as a shorthand to describe people taking part in the action or cheering on from the side-lines – Fans fascinate me, (I am one myself), a crowd can turn an event, inspire, encourage, dissent and unnerve – they are the essential ingredient, the audience.
The medium of pen and ink with watercolour is intense and risky, but quick and responsive, suiting my subject with its twists, turns and bursts of energy.
Over time, I’ve added new materials to the pictures, sometimes pastel and watersoluble crayons, acrylic paint and gouache, but I always start my pictures with the flowing, uncompromising lines of the pen with washes of watercolour. They are the backbone to every piece.
For me, the subject of sport has great abstract qualities, showing colour and graceful lines. Teams’ colours have a rhythm as they move – singly or as a group, the flags and banners waved by the crowds of fans, set in the open landscape is perfect for me. It is these elements, along with the energy of the race or match itself, that I try to show in my pictures.
Recent Solo Exhibitions: ‘Cycling’ Canon Gallery, Oundle, 2022, ‘Racing Lines’ Cank Street Gallery, Leicester, ‘Le Tour’ Alfred East Gallery, Kettering, and jGallery, 2015, ’20 Stages’, jGallery, Moulton, Northampton, 2012.
Recent group shows include, RI Painters in Watercolours 2021, Mall Galleries, Leicester Open 32, New Walk Museum ‘Little selves’, Leicester Society of Artists, ‘Past and Present’, Leicester Sketch Club, Leicester Museum, along with annual shows for both groups.
Private collections: UK, France, Mallorca, Canada and US
Reportage projects with Kettering Symphony Orchestra and Oaklands School in Leicester, alongside sketching cricket matches at the village club, were the first instances where I used these techniques and approaches in a professional capacity for the first time.
Exhibitions and events
‘Cycling– Ten Years‘ 2022, Canon Gallery, Oundle
‘Racing Lines, Le Tour‘, 2015, Alfred East Gallery, Kettering
‘Racing Lines, Le tour’, 2015, jGallery, Moulton Northants
‘20 Stages‘, 2012, jGallery, Moulton
Royal Institute Painters in Watercolour 209th Mall Galleries, London, 2021
Open 32: The People’s Exhibition, Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, 2021
Leicester Society of Artists 2021, Newarke Houses Museum, Leics.
Leicester Society of Artists, ‘Little Selves’ New Walk Museum, Leicester
Leicester Sketch Club, ‘Past and Present’, New Walk Museum, Leicester
Group exhibitons: from 2003 onwards, Leicester and Kettering Opens, Alfred East Gallery, LSA Annual Exhibitions, ‘Little Selves’, Leicester Museum, New Walk, Leicester, LSC Annual exhibitions various – Open Studios, ‘Art Windows’ regular participant.
Bryan Ward Prize Leicester Sketch Club in 2011.
Private collections: UK, France, Canada and US
Affiliations: Leicester Society of Artists, Leicester Sketch Club and Harborough Artists Cluster
‘Racing Lines‘ began in 2012 as a ‘reportage’ blog with pictures and a brief article. The pun in the title referring not only to the lines of the drawings but also the text. I was looking for a focus for a blog in 2012, telling the story of my favourite bike race, The Tour de France, as it unfolded everyday was perfect.
The image of Peter Sagan at the Prologue was one of the first drawings I made in 2012. In fact, here is the link to the first post. The intention was to draw while the action was taking place – and not stop – just try to record as it happened. It gives risky but exciting results and I work with several pictures simultaneously – generally on the floor with everything spread out.
The subject guided me to the style, along with the drawing medium of pen and ink that really helped form the images. I have long admired many French artists, from Delacroix and Géricault, Lautrec and Degas, through to Matisse, Nicolas de Staël and Dufy. They all have great freedom of expression and draw with beautiful lines.
Another source of inspiration has been fashion illustration; artists such as René Gruau, Andy Warhol and latterly David Downton who all use ink and lines – along with the ‘white space’ of the paper – to glorious effect, which I love too.
The theme of ‘Racing Lines’ developed to portray speed and movement, often with sport, especially cycling as the subject, (La Vuelta de España and the Tours of Britain and Yorkshire followed), along with rugby, horse racing, cricket. I love the spontaneity of line and working quickly, the challenge to keep up is another race in itself! The medium of pen and ink with watercolour is intense and risky, but quick and responsive, suiting my subject with its twists, turns and bursts of energy.
I was extremely fortunate to have my new work noticed by Sue Brooks of the jGallery in Moulton, Northampton – and Sue offered to show my paintings in what became my first solo show, ‘Twenty Stages‘. It was a very important step and endorsement of the new work that I was making.
Development since 2012..
At times, I’ve added new materials to the pictures, sometimes chalk and watersoluble pastels,, acrylic paint and gouache, but I always start my pictures with the flowing, uncompromising lines of the pen with washes of watercolour. They are the backbone to every piece.
For me, these subjects have great abstract qualities, showing colour and graceful lines. In cycling, the teams’ colours have a rhythm as the riders move – singly or as a group, the flags and banners waved by the crowds of fans, set in the open landscape is perfect for me. It is these elements, along with the energy of the race itself, that I try to show in my pictures.
Away from sport…
Alongside sport, I love to draw subjects that reflect life and times, from the wildlife in our garden, our cat, our local landscape, and scenery from holidays – and since the pandemic, news items from hospitals which has moved and inspired greatly.
There’s always something going on and drawing and painting is a different way of capturing memories… I put the camera phone down and pick up my pen and brushes!