I have lived in Bath for the last 40 years and the buildings there have been a constant inspiration, not so much the formal crescents but the disorganised, hotchpotch of buildings clustered together on the hillsides. I enjoy painting architectural elevations of the back of Georgian buildings, and streets of artisan shops, which I find more interesting subjects than the facades of Georgian set pieces. Bath is surrounded by hills giving views of an urban landscape full of complexity and intriguing rhythms, with its jumble of roofs and chimneys and this has become another favourite subject for my paintings.
Strong light and shade can emphasize the contrast between warm and cool colours such as slate or terracotta roofs and Bath stone, and subtle changes to these colours helps to create the perception of three dimensional space within the flat surface of a painting.
Some complex groups of buildings can only be seen with a telephoto lens from the surrounding hill sides, which may be up to a mile away. The resulting foreshortening creates a theatrical impression, particularly if the final image is composed of several separate photographs merged together. Each exposure may have a slightly different vanishing point for the same building, adding to the unreal effect by causing the buildings to appear more two dimensional but exaggerating the spaces between one surface and the next. The process of selecting interesting images, modifying them and transferring them to the canvas or paper is therefore an important part of the creative process where composition, forms and colours can be manipulated. In this way modern technology and techniques can be employed to represent subjects in ways which have not before been possible. In a sense it is the contemporary equivalent of the camera-obscura used by artists in the fifteenth century, which later developed into the use of mirrors and lenses, as disclosed by David Hockney in his book ‘Secret Knowledge, Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters'.
Although I have been painting in Bath for over 25 years I did not exhibit any of my work until 2009 when I received the watercolour prize at the Bath Society of Artist Exhibition and my painting of Hedgemead Park Bath was awarded first prize at the first Bath Prize Exhibition. I have since regularly exhibited paintings at the Bath Society of Artists Exhibitions, The Bath Prize and the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Having been encouraged by the interest shown in my work I have recently had paintings accepted at the Royal Society of British Artists Exhibition and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.
I have been running my own architectural consultancy in Bath for about 30 years so I know the buildings quite well. I don't think I will ever tire of painting this distinctive urban landscape and I look forward to being able to spend more time painting, not just the buildings but also the surrounding countryside.