I started painting and drawing in 1995 while I was living in Nice, South of France. The most important determining influence at the start of my painting apprenticeship was to attend Steven Carpenter’s studio who then lived nearby in Roquebrune Cap Martin. He introduced me to figure drawing and showed me how to use oils and water colours. For nine months I went to his house to learn about painting in the morning and to work in his garden in the afternoon.
I am eternally grateful for his patience and his outstanding talent which he was generous enough to share with me during this important initiation period.
Today I still love to draw. I feel that my painting has grown out of the years I spent drawing. They are inextricably linked. I now mostly use charcoal and I especially like to draw trees which I find to be fascinating characters. Life drawing is also very important for me as bodies, like trees, provide endless possibilities in terms of form, light and texture.
I have participated in many life drawing sessions over the years in many different places in France including Le Bar-sur-Loup, Nice, St. Paul de Vence, Grasse, Cannes, Limoux, Revel, Montferrand, Sorèze and Toulouse. I also held life drawing sessions in my own studio near Naucelle in the Aveyron.
I prefer oils as I find they give an extraordinary intensity of colour and can be used either as washes or as dense layers of paint. Having said that, oils are a bit impractical for painting while travelling.
I enjoy painting landscapes as they give me the chance to be in the countryside in a state of concentration where nothing else exists except the subject and the paints. I work best in rural or village environments. I love blues and big clouds, the contrast that strong light gives, the long shadows of the mornings and the evenings. I look for balance and harmony in the composition, seeking forms and colours that attract my glance. The subject beckons to be painted.
I come from a family that either painted or had a good eye for art. My father painted all his life. He loved landscapes, quickly executed with a palette knife. I remember him, a tall figure dressed in a horrible plastic mac tied together with binder twine, his cap on back to front to avoid being blown off by the Connemara gales and his easel weighed down by rocks attached with more twine.
He was wise enough not to push painting on to me. I came to it in my own good time and my life has never been the same since.
It is clear the pursuit of drawing and painting provoked a change in the way I see my role in life. Today my wife and I have made a conscious choice to discover the expression of our personal freedom. We have chosen to make life an adventure. We feel that is the best path to happiness and that happiness is the richest part of life. It has taken me all my life to have clarity on this point.
Place of Birth: London 1954.
Education: Stowe, Buckinghamshire, UK followed by extensive travels in Australia working as a loo cleaner, tractor driver, powder monkey in an iron mine and jackaroo on a sheep station. The travels continued through South East Asia, India, Nepal, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Family: My Brazilian wife, Carolina Ramasauskas and I are based in France and we continue to travel widely. My son Luke is based in France and the U.K. with his wife and son.
Languages: English and French.