First memories… the Stones in war-paint, I jumped, jacked and was born in a cross fire hurricane. On my bike, I sailed the seven, tarmacked seas of hell stretching to all horizons that was the empty wasteland of suburban, south London and I was angry….would have killed you stone dead just for looking at me.

Sometimes I stayed home and read the Beano.

Summer Saturday in ‘68 was when it all happened….we left…

Shipwrecked, in a quiet corner of a quiet village in the quiet roll of south west Wiltshire… feathery soft sunlight shimmering through summer leaves down dusty lanes to roll waist high in meadows with the native girls and buttercups…

…furled the jolly roger, the cutlass grew rusty…

I was a god… and it was good…

and lived…. in a blissful state of grace…

I took a BA in Fine Art in the late 70’s… the worst art decade of all.

Modernisms endless demand for the new, finally ending not with a bang and not with a whimper but far worse, with the cold dead hand of minimalism…her dying words; “question everything!” as she was strafed by Lichtensteins “WHAAM!” modernism died in a ditch dug by the industrial might of Warhol and Koons….

The new anarchic age of eccentric individualism (that we so lovingly call post modernism)…that would kick off with Basquiat and Schnabel was yet to begin….

So lets forget wasted years at College…
we questioned, learnt nothing, made nothing… got bored…
after 2 years of that I stopped asking questions, made movies, found some of myself in the role of Director….but was done with art…

I resolved to be the Greatest World Famous Film Director Ever Known, but didn’t have a union card….. so became a fashion photographer…    roamed the real seven seas in 747’s, in New York on Monday, Jamaica on Tuesday…enjoyed…

But that old art college practice of interrogating the medium still lingered… I wondered about fashion photography…clothes chosen at the whim of the stylist…a model chosen for her looks…the tyrant photographer commands her every move…”sit here, stand there, look like this, do as I say”…woman as object…still very Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton so beloved by Vogue…what the hell were they thinking???

Guy Bourdin

Helmut Newton

I had a better idea…how would it be if…?

….I chose for “character”, the model became the subject, clothes selected to suit her…to create a portrait of a unique woman in fashion…and most essential, as the Director, was to create that safe world, like the country is to a boy, where the subject can play free and fearless, as a child in a meadow…

those I photographed opened into a blissful state of grace…a place I remembered from my youth…

…having re-invented the very nature of fashion photography I felt drained, the city crowding in, my cutlass too rusty, Art had left the metropolis already…leaving only dead things in tanks…I was still fascinated by that blissful state of grace and wondered if my own could be recalled in tranquillity…in paint…

…left London…back to the country…bought watercolour paint…

artists talk to artists through their work…

Patrick Heron shared my love of colour but as an original gangster he still dreamt of an abstraction of pure visual pleasure not fully understanding that good abstraction is good because it has metaphor and allusion that makes it rich and full with human spirit. Patrick never properly understood the value of his work was his absorption in land and garden and his work was beautiful because the atmospherics and natural light of the world filled all his paintings. For abstract artists, where you are is what you’ll paint….lesson one…..be careful about where you are….!

I thought about Sean Scully, living in Manhattan… I discount his derivative copies of minimalist work, but what followed in the 70’s is a pugilistic ode to the city…repellent, sour coloured, clashing, aggressive, crowded, airless, perfectly demonstrating lesson one….. where you are is what you’ll paint…the young Scully is all about conflict and the metropolis…

I live (and dance) in the country…

Scully is a boxer…and I’m a choreographer…still directing…

            I take Patricks’ light and Scully’s blocks and set them loose together…my blocks dance…buoyed and unhindered, translucent, transparent, untethered…. shapes freed to allow space between for the emotive light of nature and a different philosophy of thought to run riot…my light and colour has breathing space for…

that blissful state of grace…

…and that’s the subject of my painting….

Get out

Go on