How does anybody get into anything? There has to be a spark, a point that you think, yes, that's for me, As my mother went to art school in the 1950s. I suppose it is in the family.
As all kids do, I painted and drew what I liked - Stingray springs to mind and pirate ships. What I did seemed to come easy, not that they were perfect, just better than the other kids seemed to be able to do. And as all kids do. If they find something easy, they do tend to gravitate towards it.
It was in my first year in high school. While in the Westminster Garage. I suspect for Wine Gums or Fig Rolls; I saw a copy of the Motor Cycle News, with a photo of the Six Day Trial in Scotland on the cover. I bought it to draw the cover picture. Why, I don't know. It all just appealed. There was an article on Phil Haslam, I remember. And again, I don't understand why it all seemed right, and almost overnight, I became a motorcyclist in waiting. Not that my mother thought much of the idea.
So I started to draw and paint bikes. And to cut a long story short, by the time I was old enough to have one, the painting had also become a significant interest. I am happy that 50 years on, both still play a major part in my life.
After a short time at the Isle of Man College on the art foundation course, I found that my interests were in painting, which was not what we had to do there. So I left and started in the Isle of Man Examiner newspaper.
That said, what I did gain at college was the experience of spending a little time with Mr Norman Sayle. His enthusiasm for art just rubbed off on you, and what a lovely man to boot. If this is an artist, I thought. I will try to have a bit of this.
I started to go hillwalking with the lads in the paper. It was, in fact, just a long walk to the pub! But it did form my interest in landscape painting. By walking more and more, I found my awareness of the changing seasons heightened. My love was and is to be out in the landscape. Painting is observation and understanding — and you have to be out in it to understand it. Not just the good days, but in all weathers. On the bad days, the sun could break through, if just for a short time, and you won't see it tucked up by the fire.
Days with the sun breaking through racing clouds, an approaching shower or a single illuminated tree in an overcast landscape was the subject for me. For a long time, painting and walking were bound together, and one fed the other.
I hope I can show more than just a photographic representation.
I am trying to give my work an atmosphere and sensation gained from personal experience. "To show others the world as I see it." I think a painting is a collaboration between the artist and the viewer.
" It's my job to give the viewers just enough information, but not too much, as they need input into the work also."
If you like to count blades of grass, then my work is not for you. If, on the other hand, you like drama, light, and movement — then you may like what I do.
No matter what the subject, landscape or even motorcycles. The real issue is light. The Message, if there is one. "I liked this and thought you might like to see it too." It's that simple—a chance to see the world through the eyes of another.
I think it's part of human contentment to feel a belonging to the land, a sense of place. I know when I am out in the hills or just out and about, I am content and count myself very fortunate to have been born in such a place. If I continue to live and paint on this lovely Island, I will be a lucky man.
Long may it be so.