When I was studying "A" level art, part of the course was the history of architecture. I had never really thought much about buildings before that. They provided shelter, warmth; a living space and in most cases that was all there was to it.
My mind was changed and my eyes were opened by the works of architects like Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. In each case it was the exterior of the buildings which excited me. I determined to study architecture and spent many hours sketching the exterior of fantastic houses – many split-level in construction.
My parents were delighted with my career plans. I did a week of work experience in an architects’ office – and hated it. Most people spent all their time deciding on which side the doors should hinge or how deep to make the skirting boards; and everybody talked “cost reduction” all day long. The day I applied to college of art in Birmingham, my parents thought I was going to an interview at the local Architecture college but I was headed for the Fine Art Department of the College of Art. On my return in the evening, the answer to my parents’ questions about how I got on was...“There’s good news and bad news!!”
I successfully completed my degree in Fine Art and a further year to train to teach but maintained my interest in the outward appearance of buildings. After I retired from teaching I decided to use my new found freedom to travel and collect ideas for paintings of interesting architecture.
I have visited many European countries seeking out buildings which excite me. I take multiple photographs and on returning to my studio seek out those which express the nature of a particular building best and amalgamate several to form the basis of my painted composition. I hope to emphasise aspects of the texture, colour and scale of a building – ignoring or reducing the impact of irrelevant detail and concentrating on those elements which make the building unique.
I have little or no idea of how a painting will look when finished, as I attack the bare canvas! I have found that the technique works as well for domestic architecture as it does for the grand public edifice –as long as the subject matter excites me in some tangible way. I have sold steadily on the internet and through exhibitions. My work is held by collectors throughout the UK and Europe.
I have been particularly pleased with the ArtGallery.co.uk website which gives me a chance to exhibit my work to a wide audience – and how rewarding it is when you get the sort of response that I received from a very satisfied customer whose feedback is the latest to be posted on the ArtGallery.co.uk testimonial page.
So, where to next on my travels – well, I know little of Germany apart from Berlin and my visits to Italy are limited to Rome and Venice. There is much of Europe and Eastern Europe in particular which remains to be explored. And the UK always has surprises round the corner. I shall not run out of exciting subject matter. My wife with whom I travel shares my excitement in buildings and miraculously we are lucky enough to live in a split-level house which could have been the subject of my adolescent dreams.