Though I loved art at school it was a traditional academic institution and at 15 I had to choose between arts and sciences. I chose the science path and did do well at it but the creative streak was obviously there as I almost studied architecture at university until a work experience week convinced me it was not a viable career path in rural Kent so I became an engineer for 32 mostly enjoyable years.
As soon as I finished university and got a job I did start art evening classes and I have never stopped since then. Juggling a busy work and family life until 2018 I spent my limited creative time painting in watercolours (mostly landscapes and portraits), acrylics (collage and portraits), life study (charcoal and graphite) and, latterly, wood block engraving / printing.
Given the opportunity to leave work with voluntary redundancy I have taken the plunge to be an artist and increase my creative output.
The clean lines and simplified compositions of wood engravings resonate with me greatly- you are forced to summarise and suggest shapes and textures and there is an excitement knowing one slipped tool or hasty stroke can destroy the work completely.
My watercolours and portraits are my guilty pleasures- one-off flights of colourful fancy that eat up the time and let me zone out. I limit myself to special subjects, meaningful to me, stretching my technique or composing hedonistically gorgeous textures and colours.
Coming to work as an artist later in my life has allowed me to be indulgent and work only on subjects that interest me, preferring humour over pathos. If I had to pick a single word to summarise my artistic ambitions it would be ‘quirky’.
This is my mid-life crisis.