I grew up in Maidenhead, Berkshire - close to the River Thames and about 25 miles from London - and lived there most of my life. I moved to Reading in 2014. My parents were both keen painters and encouraged my artistic interests, so it was no surprise that art was my favourite subject at school and I wanted to go to art college.
After a foundation course at the old Berkshire College of Art in Maidenhead, I went on to gain a DipAD in Fine Art from the West of England College of Art in Bristol. There followed teacher training in Manchester and three challenging years teaching art in a Lancashire comprehensive school.
A sketching tour of France and Italy in 1974 revived my interest in working out-of-doors in watercolour, and on my return to Britain I began painting architectural subjects at Cliveden and other historic houses.
This blossomed into a full-time painting career and for more than 30 years I worked as a professional watercolourist. Most of my subjects are landscape and river scenes in the Thames Valley, particularly the stretch of the Thames between Henley and Windsor. But the upper reaches of the Thames and the River Kennet have also been happy hunting grounds.
Further afield many months have been spent on Dorset's Jurassic Coast, and there have been fruitful trips to Cumbria and Co. Durham, as well as the Perth, Angus and Kincardine area of Eastern Scotland.
Over the years I have undertaken hundreds of commissions of landscape, buildings, gardens, boats, and even a few cars and animals...but this is one area from which I have now officially retired - so please, dear customers, no more commissions!
I have always preferred to work on the spot as much as possible and enjoyed the challenge of painting directly and spontaneously. Refinements and finishing touches can be added later in the studio, with the aid of photographs if need be.
To keep my hand in during the long winter months, I regularly attended portrait workshops run by Maidenhead Painting Club www.maidenheadpaintingclub.co.uk
. For many years I have also worked with various life drawing groups in Amersham, Henley, Maidenhead, Wokingham and Reading www.risingsun-artscentre.co.uk
. In 2003 I took over as organiser of monthly life drawing sessions in Marlow www.marlowlifedrawing.weebly.com
In these workshop situations I experimented with watercolour, pastel, acrylic, brush and ink, and pastel pencils, before rediscovering the perfect medium - oil paint! Now many of my recent landscapes include figures and exploit the rich colour and luscious handling of oils.
My gallery outlets have mostly been in the Windsor area. Between 1983 and 2005 15 one-man shows were staged at these venues:
- Windsor & Eton Fine Arts (1978-83)
- Compton Gallery, Windsor (1983-89)
- Century Galleries, Henley (1989-90)
- Century Gallery, Datchet (1990-2005)
From 2006-2014 J. Manley's of Eton High St. www.manleygallery.com
handled my views of Windsor and Eton.
In Dorset the Peter Hedley Gallery, Wareham www.artgalleriesdorset.co.uk
stocked my Purbeck coastal scenes from 1987 to 2011.
I regularly exhibit with Maidenhead Painting Club and Art on the Street, Maidenhead and have participated in many other local club, school and fundraising shows see Events