“Several shades of grey”, a large (90x 50cm) watercolour is selected for entry to the Sir John Hurt Prize!

This painting is a strong example of my work pushing the boundaries of how watercolour is used. I spent 10 years working with this medium to master its unique qualities, and explore what contribution it could make to abstract composition. I look forward to visiting the exhibition in Holt, Norfolk, on 23 July, when the prizewinner will be announced.

I’m often struck by how little thinking or planning goes into any piece I am working on, whatever the medium.

At this period in my practice, I would have known that the composition was a response to landscape, but my attention then went simply to following whatever impulse arose to create a particular shape in a particular colour. As soon as one such area of translucent wash went down and dried, the rest of the painting became a process of responding to that, and to each subsequent shape and colour, until I was happy with what I was looking at.

I still work like this, a large collage finished in late June being the most recent example.

In this case, I knew from a few sketches I’d made in Southwold Harbour (“Blackshore”), that that place would inform the composition.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Possibly finished….?

The process went through the usual collage making sequence of trial and error, and a fair amount of ‘wallpaper removal’ in-between!

One challenge along the way during the earlier stages, was the ‘floating’ form on the right hand side. Although I quite liked the simplicity of the composition at this stage, it bothered me that this shape felt disconnected. There had actually been an earlier composition featuring a lot of blue sky. I pared that back, not liking how much it ‘spelt out’ what we were looking at. I hope the lower composition has avoided that and leaves enough indeterminate space for the viewer’s imagination to play with?

The question which invites further consideration though, is what is it about that I do not plan, but start with something that feels like opening a door into an unknown room/house/country ………?


Do visit “Events”, and the new “From the Studio” pages for most recent info’ on where to find my work, and what’s happening in the studio – occasional jottings.

You’ll also discover that the Work pages (Oils, Watercolour and Collage) are now updated once a month with my selection of 4 pieces in each medium. These are each clickable to read more about the background on each painting.

Currently (until late July) my work is part of the launch exhibition for a new local gallery. Details can be found on the 2023 page of Events.

I’d be very helpful for any support in letting people know of my work, and the site so that I can grow my mailing list to increase footfall at events.