Travelling has always inspired. I’m drawn to warmer climates where palm trees grow, where people live outside even in January, where washing lines are strung from rooftop terraces and across windows and where you can lose yourself in narrow paved and cobbled lanes.
I love the unsung towns and villages away from the brochure land publicity glare, places that welcome and smile without pandering, places that have developed a patina, a glow and a confidence that rubs along with modern life.
Portugal does it for me. The best fish and fruity smooth wines from the Alentejo and the Douro. Little bars where people snack on dressed crab and piles of prawns that price would forbid at home can be had here.
Places that reveal still life potential at every corner, tiny details in pastel peeling layers of weather ravaged homes, glimpses of past lives close up with the here and now.
Wide open spaces with water wading birds pecking at sandbanks and sometimes flying in formation dipping, diving, soaring, squawking.
Places that know how to stand still and revel in it. Places where it is fine to just be and do nothing, places that act like a massage for the soul.
I rarely paint in situ preferring to lap up the sense of place by walking, looking, taking photographs, making speed drawings and absorbing atmosphere.
This makes for better memories and thus better source material as each memory can be represented in essence rather than accuracy.
I find this a freeing mode of expression that compliments my intuitive style of working. It’s all about atmosphere, symbols, colour, letting go of knowing how it will all turn out but having a faith in the mind’s ability to remember.