Whatever I am working on, my paintings are always rooted in charcoal drawing. Subsequently these drawings are simplified and abstracted to produce the painted work. There is no attempt to hide the painting process, rather to acknowledge it and incorporate into the finished work. For me strong imagery must be rooted in a drawn knowledge of the subject matter and its history, I suppose I'm old-fashioned in that way. Ultimately you've got to put the hours in drawing to understand your subject matter before you start to fashion it into something new.

Visually I perform a balancing act between abstraction and representation, some paintings are apparently completely abstracted and some pretty straightforward, although the colours are rarely naturalistic. This is the way I have always worked and fits in with the artists I have admired and been influenced by over the years; Matisse and Picasso of course, but also Rose Hilton, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, all of whom blurred the line between abstraction and realism. I use traditional media but I am not trying to portray a nostalgic or retrospective vision. I am trying to paint things as I feel them as much as how I see them.

Over the past twenty years I have worked mainly in project format, focussing on a particular subject matter for two years or so. These projects often relate back to my interest in the legacy of the Second World War sparked by my father’s career as a Spitfire pilot working with the RAF photo reconnaissance unit. Most recently I was artist in residence at ex-WWII Deanland Airfield in Ripe (2016-18) which resulted in a book and exhibition at Farley's Farmhouse Gallery with photographer John Brockliss.

This year I've begun researching a new series of paintings about Guernica, which will be exhibited at 35 North Gallery, Brighton in 2020. For more information about these projects please have a look at my website where they are all available to see. The website is updated monthly and I keep a visual diary of my studio practice on Instagram and Twitter.

Photo: John Brockliss

Photo: John Brockliss