Selected Paintings & Achievements

(click images to enlarge)

non-portrait heads 2001-2003, including, oil on board / aluminium, each 32cm x 32cm


This series includes the painting (orange piece in centre) with which I won First Prize in The Durham Open Art Exhibition.  The judges commented that this painting was chosen for its boldness, orginality and striking image and that the power of the painting was so strong that if you took everything else off the wall it would carry the room on its own.

first successful portrait commission, Henry & Bea, oil on canvas, 90cm x 60cm, 2010

No Longer Karen Little, oil on aluminium, 123cm x 230cm, 2011


Ambitious large-scale fusion of personal realism and abstraction

Working through many transformations and overcoming many problems, both within the figure and general composition, this really was a challenging painting.  If x-rays were to be taken, I’m sure a very peculiar journey would be revealed.


"No Longer Karen Little" began as an extension of the non-portrait heads I had painted previously in that I wanted to expand that approach into a full figure piece. Looking back at my initial sketchbook notes, I mentioned the idea of really cultivating the space and creating an accuracy of reality whilst enjoying abstract qualities. The fusion of a form of realism and pure abstraction (and the use of emotive-aesthetic colour) definitely emerged as a prominent concern as the painting progressed. I also mentioned the idea of playing around with the body and creating a sense of altered reality and “The moment when subjective reality coincided with the sublime”.


Personal or subjective realism and an interest in the sensation of reality as opposed to a depiction of reality is definitely a significant strand within my work. Other elements were an irrepressible dark sense of humour and a precarious combination of dichotomies: beautiful yet ugly, serene yet disturbing, both harmonious and chaotic.


Dark Heads Series  Vavara, oil on panel, 30cm x 40cm, 2012  &  Untitled, oil on panel 24cm x 30cm, 2012

large portrait commission featuring elaborate / ornate clothing and background elements - Alex, oil on linen, 15ocm x 70cm, 2019 


This is a portrait of Alex at the age of 8.

 

The setting is the living room of the Tudor house (circa 1550), where he lived with his mother at the time.

 

The cabinet with carvings was made by Alex’s great grandfather from reclaimed Tudor floorboards (it is suspected that the seahorse hinges may also have been reclaimed Tudor items).  The floating atomesque toy and the reindeer jumper with ornate fastenings were also requested for inclusion in the painting.  

 

The unusual composition evolved as a result of the inclusion of these elements. This was very carefully planned and required a custom-made linen canvas.

 

Alex’s mother was overjoyed and brought to tears when she first viewed the painting (even before final completion) and since completion has expressed how it perfectly captures his spirit. 

 

No single interpretation of the portrait and its elements is preferred, whether it be the stark white window in balance and tension with the floating model, possibly symbolising materialism versus spirituality or even science creating the means to enact a nuclear holocaust; or the confrontational gaze and pose of the sitter, possibly expressing a quiet rebellion to societal conventions or simply the presence of great ambition, the majority of his life ahead of him.

 

Alex is the grandson of renowned anthropologist Robin Fox.

sustained portrait commission (took more than 800 hours to complete) with complex clothing - Henry & Bea (In Flower), oil on linen, 80cm x 70cm, 2022

painterly & flowing limited palette portrait (took a little over 20 hours to complete) - Nelly in Perylene & Pink, oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, 2022


This was a trial piece with the intent of breaking free from a tight and painstaking form of realism and begin reclaiming what could be called 'the invention of painting', employing a more flowing approach, in which discoveries can be made through experimentation and an enjoyment of oil paint as a magnetic substance in its own right.  The source material for this painting was a photograph taken using a makeshift black sheet and household lighting.  However, this stands as a seed of a forthcoming period of development.

Paintings From The Black Corner

Below is the black corner recently created in the studio as a space in which I can take controlled photographic source material in order to carry out a major period of experimentation and development in my painting.