I have lived in East Anglia for most of my adult life but have never spiritually left Wales, the land of my childhood.
I was born in Bangor, Gwynedd in1941 but was brought up in Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula. I attended Pwllheli Grammar School in the 50’s where I was influenced by the inspired teaching of Elis Gwyn Jones. He guided a number of pupils to follow a career in Art and Design and I must have been amongst the first generation of Welsh speaking working class children to attend English Art Schools in any number.
I attended Leicester College of Art and Design from 1958-1962. The cultural shock of leaving a predominantly Welsh speaking part of Wales to study Art in an English Art School at atime when momentous changes were taking place in Art Education. was profound . Foundation courses were starting and the highly influential and charismatic pedagogue Tom Hudson had moved to Leicester from Leeds in 1960.
It is difficult to imagine the excitement and challenge of those early years. It stimulated my interest in Art Education, a career I followed successfuly for 33 years.
I was appointed to teach colour and drawing on the Foundation Course at Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design in 1963 .and ended my full time career in education as Head of Diploma and Diagnostic Studies at Norwich School of Art and Design in 1996. I was also an Examiner/Moderator in Foundation Courses in Art and Design fo the Welsh Joint Education Authority from I996-2005.
I have always continued to practice as an artist but have only been fully involved with my work as a painter since retiring as a full time educator.
My work is still heavily influenced by my upbringing in the Lleyn Peninsula. It relies heavily on memory and on drawings made on regular return visits. Over the years I have been making and re-making a succession of images that reflect my feelings towards the landscape and it’s story.
Lleyn is a threshold place where the boundary between this world and another seems very thin. One is acutely aware of the layering of Christian beliefs over much older customs and images. It is also a bastion of the Welsh language where issues relating to it’s survival endanger strong feelings.
I work on a number of paintings at the same time. Some are completed quickly but most evolve over a long period of time aquiring their own memory and a history of my involvement with them. They have connecting themes, and images from one often appear in another. These recurring images have with time become icons of my identity. The challenge is create work which reflects cultural identity and history but at the same time make something of contemorary and artistic relevance.
I have lived away from Wales for nearly half a century but have never severed the umbilical bond that connects and conditions my every action. A Welsh upbringing on the Llŷn Peninsula has inevitably shaped my character and preferences and this is reflected in my work
In the early days I managed to find time to execute large charcoal drawings working directly from the landscape and on my visits to Wales I filled numerous sketch books with notes and observations which were later used as reference for studio based work in Great Yarmouth. These paintings and drawings are about identifiable locations on the Llŷn Peninsula.
My work has changed over the years, relying less on direct observation and reference to a specific location. It has become allegorical with references to myth and story telling. Visits to Wales are spent walking in the landscape and talking to the older generation who are the custodians of language, custom and folk memory. Being an inheritor of a strong literary and oral tradition I strive to find the equivalents to poetic structures and rhythms to create works that connects to the knowledge, wisdom and humanity of this fast disappearing community.
I am interested in the imprint of man on his environment and how past thoughts and actions of individuals are recorded and transmitted by the objects they leave behind. I believe that things created with love have a memory and warmth which is accessible to those who seek it for all time.
I am a member of The Welsh Royal Academy , Norfolk Contemorary Art Society and The Norwich Twenty Group.