ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born into a family of artists, I was brought up in rural Somerset, SW England. Growing up in a creative household; 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 Foundation Course 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 I've been particularly drawn to Africa. When travelling I use my artistic skills, such as sketching quick portraits and painting outside, as an opportunity to meet people and to gain a deeper understanding of the places I visit.
My fascination with Africa was born in my twenties on a visit to Kenya. I was bowled over by the magnificent, vast landscapes and way of life of the people, so different from my own. Completely hooked, I then went on to explore other countries and cultures, including Madagascar and West Africa, keeping diaries, sketching and painting as I went.
These days, I regularly spend time in Senegal with family in a coastal fishing village, where I paint, gather ideas for new work and immerse myself in African village life.
Over the years my stylised African paintings have become commercially very popular and are published worldwide in books and as calendars, prints, charity and greeting cards and numerous educational publications. In 1996, I became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society where I have since exhibited my African work.
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 has always been of great interest to me. I often work to commission but equally enjoy painting friends, family members (particularly my teenage daughters) and self-portraits. I paint quickly to capture the essence and likeness of my sitter. I have exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and in 2014 I took part in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. I also accept commissions to paint a favourite garden, landscape or building.
When asked, I am happy to run art workshops, give painting demonstrations and talks about my work to schools and art groups. I have exhibited nationwide and my work is scattered around the world, but I regularly exhibit locally and hold an exhibition in my studio every September.
See an example of one of my portrait painting demonstrations.