How I work
Gardens have long been represented in both Eastern and Western artistic traditions
as an earthly paradise, offering shelter, safety, fertility, peace, pleasure and a refuge
from life's harsher moments. My paintings follow in this same tradition, presenting
the garden as a theatre for many of life’s events, especially scenes of joy, surprise,
intimacy and communication with nature.
But when I'm painting, I do so, also, with one eye on my favourite European
artists, among them Botticelli, Ravilious, Bonnard and that painter of wonderful
gardens laid out like Persian carpets, Adrian Berg.
I work in a small studio which looks out over our garden.
Nesting sparrows in the birdbox fixed on the outside wall near my window,
sometimes land on my window sill and peer in at me.
I work on one painting at a time, although I may have ideas for the next one, which
I try out on lay-out paper.
But each painting is a self-contained conversation between myself and paper and
And each painting is anchored in the particular season in which I'm working.
When people ask where I get my ideas from, I have several replies.
Sometimes it's a visit to a garden which triggers my work.
Sometimes it's a title which flashes into my mind.
Sometimes it's nothing more than a fleeting image or the trace of an emotional
experience for which the right garden setting then emerges.
But whatever the source, my work will also often reflect my own experience of
working in the gardens of big country houses in Worcestershire and Ireland, my
daily life experienced through the seasons in Herefordshire, and my love of the
history of garden design.