i paint from a studio in a nineteenth century sail loft on topsham quay. boats are outside my door. from late spring to early autumn, they move to and from their moorings on the river exe. as winter approaches my view is filled by the shapes and colours of their hulls as they are lifted out of the water and stored on the quay. when the wind is gusting, the studio fills with the noise of their halyards whistling.
living and painting by the estuary, i try to capture the changing patterns of the boats' movement. i'm often on the road in devon and cornwall in our old vw van. time and again, i am struck how these patterns repeat and re-appear in the harbours of the south west, from dartmouth to salcombe, to newlyn, round to st ives and on to padstow. further afield, i spend a couple of weeks most years in the scilly isles where my work has recently been displayed and sold in a number of galleries on the islands.
i love texture in painting. i use ink and pastels to make a cracked surface over bits of vintage maps, navigation charts and paper that i collect on my travels. texture is also important when it comes to framing my work. typically, i source and use reclaimed painted frames that remind me of the sea-weathered hulls outside.
i've only just come back to painting, since my children have all started school. this is all a work in progress but i've been inspired by the excellent pattern design courses at ramm and the phoenix in exeter. i've also been influenced by 1950's pattern design and the cornish artists of that era, particularly terry frost. this series of paintings feels to me like 'swatches' or sections of a larger pattern of boats. that's why i've used the title "wallpaper boats".