All my childhood holidays were spent playing on the beach at Roker in Sunderland at the sight of the river Wear's outpouring in to the north sea. When I was ten we moved nearby to the City of Durham with its stupendous Norman cathedral. It is built on the banks of the river Wear and to my mind it is possessed of a magical, scintillating and enduringly spiritual energy. This, quite apart from its sheer beauty of aspect. Durham is the place I most identify as home and its city cathedral is in my blood.
1979 Art School
In 1979, I came to Sheffield to what was then the School of Art to study painting. I was there for four years and fell profoundly and irrevocably in love with the Peak District landscape. I loved my time there and after I graduated I moved to London and earned my living in other ways while my paints and brushes rested and waited.Thirty odd years would elapse before I once again picked up my brushes because I didn’t paint again until 2016 …
1999 Wrightson & Platt
In 1999 my partner and I started a business casting babies hands and feet in Spitalfields market in London every Sunday. We initially cast in plaster and resin but soon realised that there was an appetite for ‘finer’ castings in bronze and later cast glass and sterling silver. We grew our business in the UK and Internationally but more importantly we made really beautiful things that our customers love and will treasure for generations. We were fortunate enough to attract investment and opened a showroom in Knightsbridge and had our own foundry facilities in SE London.
However in 2014 we had run out of steam and were suffering what I think is commonly known as burnout. So we decided to leave for pastures new but to this day our little company still bears our name and continues to be a great success. I'm very proud of it but for me it was the creativity and invention that I loved most and after all the time doing other things, I realised what I most wanted to do was paint again.
2015 Puglia, Italy
In July 2015 we moved lock stock and barrel to southern Italy and the gorgeous hill top 'white city' or 'La Citta Bianca', of Ostuni in Puglia, southern Italy. If you look at the 'heel of the boot' on a map, you will find it there. The area is characterised by olive groves, vineyards and the unique 'trullo' houses with their conical roofs. It is a painters paradise largely because of the light and it was there in 2016 that I finally picked up my brushes again. Hurrah!
After the adventure of Italy we decided to return to England. It was not London that beckoned but Sheffield and the Peak District landscape of my art school days. I had started painting again in Italy so choosing to come back to South Yorkshire was, as they say, a no-brainer. And so here I am.