I find painting to be one of my most satisfying pastimes. Although I drew and painted as a youngster, a career in the British Army followed by many years as a senior executive in business, meant that I did not start pursuing my passion again until I was in my 50s. I am so glad that I did.
Although I love the Impressionists, the engineer in me means that I have a great deal of difficulty being “loose” in my own work. Having tried and failed, I decided to take the route of being a realist artist, and recently coined “High Definition Art” as my slogan. However, I am not interested in achieving photorealism. I want people to see that my pictures are paintings, and would hate the thought that someone had to take a close look to discover that one of my paintings was not a photograph.
My time-consuming technique pretty much prohibits painting en plein air, so I use photographs for reference in my studio. Consequently, I take a camera everywhere, although this drives my wife nuts!
However, I deliberately avoid painting a direct copy of any of my photos. Indeed, with each new painting, I seem to do more and more enhancement, often combining a variety of references, to achieve an interesting result. First, I will often adjust the view, so as to create focal points on one or more “golden ratios” (1:1.613). I may also change the lighting, moving shadows and illuminated areas to maximise impact. I nearly always change the sky, using the large library of sky photos I have built up over recent years. And I often put flowers in the foreground of my landscapes to add contract and interest. Again, I use my extensive library of flower photos for this.
I have deliberately avoided the temptation to focus on a common theme. I am still exploring what is possible, so paint anything that I think is interesting, be it a landscape/seascape, still life or portrait/figure. At this stage, I want to avoid being “type cast” as having a particular style or subject matter.