We live in a time where most of the world is finally waking up to the environmental crisis we’ve brought into being. I see my job, as an artist, is to spread the message of how valuable, beautiful and fragile our planet is, and to do this whilst raising money for wildlife conservation.
I try to do this by capturing and communicating some of the atmosphere and emotion felt when interacting with the natural world. I cannot capture the way these moments touch my soul, in words, photographs or music, so I try to do so in the only way I know how, through my art.
In short, it’s the raw, spiritual, beauty of our planet that moves me to create art.
Drawing was my first love as a child and I would spend hours looking at the world around me or leafing through David Attenborough’s book, Life on Earth, looking for things to draw. I loved pencil drawing so much, my art teachers had to work hard to get a paint brush in my hand. They succeeded in the end though and over the years I let drawing become a preliminary practice to producing a painting for many years. I’m eternally grateful for that though as painting has improved my art no end and is something I still do. However, as an artist, you have to find your own voice and it’s drawing I have returned to, although not with a pencil.
These days, I draw with a biro on raw canvas, using white oil paint to enhance the work. The reason this method suits me so well is that there’s nothing that comes between me and my art. I don’t have to pause to sharpen anything, to recharge my brush, or mix extra colours, there’s only me, the canvas and my pen. The Bic biro is my pen of choice, as it just keeps going, and only gives up after you’ve done about 2 miles worth of drawing. I’ve tried many pens over the years, but Bic biro is the best one I’ve found.
My technique involves using raw linen canvas, lightened with a white oil paint wash, as a surface for my drawing. Once this is dry, I work on it as I would with pencil and paper. The canvas seems to make the pen marks look like pencil, which suits me down to the ground. Once the drawing is done, it’s varnished and then I use white oil paints again, adding light and finalising the composition.