ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born into a family of artists, I was brought up in rural Somerset, England. Growing up in an atmosphere of creativity, my father sculpting and painting, occasional visits from my cartoonist grandfather HM Bateman, and my elder sister forging her career as a painter, all contributed to my own interest in art. After a spell at Somerset College of Art, I went on to study Fine Art at The Byam Shaw in London during the 80s.
I have always taken every opportunity to travel, preferably well off the tourist trail. Much of my work is influenced by my travels and in 1996 I became a fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and have since exhibited there. I've been particularly drawn to Africa and when travelling, use my artistic skills, such as sketching quick portraits or painting outside, as an opportunity to meet people and to gain a deeper understanding of the places I visit. When I can, my daughters and I spend time with family in Senegal where I often paint and gather ideas for new work. Over the years my stylised African paintings have become commercially very popular and are published worldwide as book/CD covers, calendars, prints and cards.
By contrast, at home in my Somerset studio, working in oil or watercolour, the work I produce is extremely varied. The beautiful local landscapes are a constant source of inspiration and, during the warmer months I'll be found painting in my garden or out in the fields, trying to capture ever changing colour and light. I also paint still life and enjoy juxtaposing unlikely objects to add narrative and a touch of humour to the composition.
Portraiture is of particular interest to me - I paint quickly to capture the essence and likeness of my sitter. I often work to commission but equally enjoy painting friends, family members (particularly my teenage daughters) and self-portraits. I have been lucky enough to paint actress Dawn French and in 2014 para-olympian Ade Adepitan when taking part in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.
When asked, I am happy to give painting demonstrations and talks about my work to schools and Art Societies. I have exhibited nationwide and my work is in collections around the world, but I regularly exhibit locally and hold annual exhibitions in my studio every September.