I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t draw pictures. I certainly spent many childhood hours copying animals and birds from natural history books as well as footballers, soldiers and aircraft and landscapes. I clearly remember a lesson whilst at primary school spent drawing the view outside the classroom, and painting a detailed picture of a neighbour’s house, painstakingly rendering each, and every brick.
I studied for a BTec in Art and Design, before undertaking a degree in Fine Art at Liverpool Polytechnic, where I specialized in painting. My degree show comprised a series of paintings and collages based on 1950s American suburbia and the photographs of Edward Ruscha, and Art Deco seaside architecture. Apart from painting and drawing I have always had a love of photography especially the photographs of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, August Sander and Henri Cartier Bresson.
I spent eleven years working at the National Monuments Record, during which I didn’t really do anything artistic, other than an occasional bit of sketching, and making decorative cakes, although I always intended to resume painting and drawing. In 2001 I did a PGCE in Secondary Art Education, and although I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, my interest in art was revived. In 2003 I took part in the first Bear Flat Artists Open Studios. Looking back, my first exhibition seems very amateurish, but I sold quite a lot of pictures, which did wonders for my confidence.
I had done a small amount of printing before, and keen to learn I enrolled on Sally Gaden’s evening class. Sally is great teacher, and I spent three years learning a range of techniques including etching, drypoint, screenprinting and monoprinting. I really got into printmaking and subsequently joined Bath Artist Printmakers, where I now print at our Larkhall studio. I have recently set up a studio at home and was lucky to be offered a press, converted from an old mangle, so I can now print on a small scale at home as well.
Since I started printmaking, I have created and exhibited prints using various different techniques, including etching, drypoint and monoprinting. Over the last couple of years I have tended to work in drypoint and monoprinting, but at present I am focusing on monoprinting.
Regardless of whichever technique I employee, all my printing is concerned with the act of drawing. This is the thing that most interests me – the making of marks on paper, metal or acrylic to create an image that evokes an emotional response in both myself and the viewer. I find the process of drawing endlessly fascinating. I usually draw very quickly and sketchily – often using a continuous line – in pen or pencil, sometimes with the pencil or watercolour wash.
These sketches are then turned into prints. My original sketch is often difficult to read when I return to it, so there is always an element of memory, imagination and guesswork involved in creating the final image.