WHAT I DO
Welcome to my website. As these pages hope to show, my art explores my reactions to the diversity of the external world. Originally trained as an architect, I find much inspiration in the world’s buildings, particularly those that carry the patina of age — hence my love of history. I am also drawn to Nature where I find a similar process of flux – erosion, decay and regeneration.
For many years my paintings were highly realist, involving intense observation of the physical presence of the subject. Now, late in my career, I follow a more personal need, often turning to the spontaneity of working in pastels, as I seek to evoke rather than depict, and to conjure a metaphysical ‘otherness’ less clearly seen than that which is merely external. In both modes of work the effects of light are of paramount importance to my way of seeing.
As someone with a great respect for things handmade, in addition to the tactility of producing paintings I also greatly enjoy doing all my own framing. I use archival materials such as museum-grade mount board, both to draw on and as mat board.
The artworks are mounted fully reversible and can be removed without harm as the framing does not permanently alter the work. I rout my own simple museum-profile mouldings, in two sizes, using New Guinea rosewood, a renewable plantation timber. The frames are sanded, stained and beeswax finished by hand.
I am a visual artist who was born in Bathurst, New South Wales. In 1969 I graduated in architecture, with Hons 1, from the University of NSW in Sydney. From 1972 to 1977 I lived in London, completing a degree in fine art, Hons 1, at Hornsey College of Art and post graduate studies, MA, at Chelsea School of Art. In April 2020 I received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication from Charles Sturt University for my book, Building Bathurst, published in 2018.
After five years of lecturing in the arts at what is now Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, in 1984 I decided to go painting full-time. In the course of my career dating from 1975, I have had 50 solo exhibitions and has been included in nearly 30 group shows.
Although my art reflects an interest in a wide range of subjects, my early training in architecture is a pervading influence – not only in the portrayal of buildings, but in the carefully structured compositions that typify my work.
I delight working in most media, moving freely between oils, acrylics, gouache, watercolours and pastels. When drawing I prefer compressed charcoal or coloured pencils. When travelling I use pen and ink and watercolour. With whatever medium I use, the variation in tactile surface finish is something I consciously pursue and greatly enjoy. Because of my diverse interests, my work falls into distinct themes which I revisit as my inclinations dictate. See PORTFOLIO
I gave up my artwork between 2012 and 2018 because I was fully engaged writing a two-volume history of architecture book, ‘Building Bathurst’, which I completed in October 2017. Over 844 pages, the two full-colour highly illustrated volumes took five years to write and, as something I always wanted to attempt, it reflects my lifelong love of history. The book pays homage to the numerous nineteenth-century architects and builders who built my historic hometown of Bathurst, NSW — the oldest inland settlement in Australia. See WRITING
AWARDS and COMMISSIONS
1980 Painting for Parliament House, Sydney
1987 Painting for the NSW Corporate Affairs Commission
1988 Five paintings, The James Hardy Suite, Bicentenary Project, Bathurst
1990 Painting for Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Canberra
2009 Winner, $35,000 Country Energy Art Prize. Finalist 2007, 2008, 2010
2015, 2018 One of four nationwide finalists for the Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal
2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to community history in Bathurst
National Gallery of Victoria, Felton Bequest
Parliament House Collection, Canberra, ACT
NSW Parliament House Collection, Sydney
Regional Art Galleries, Bathurst and Dubbo
Newcastle Conservatorium of Music
Charles Sturt University Collection
Katoomba Court House Collection
Hilton Hotel Collection, Cairns
Housing Industry Association Collection, Sydney
Chinese Embassy, Canberra, ACT
Private collections in UK, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
1976 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK. British Realists
1977 Stowell’s Trophy Exhibition, The Diploma Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, London
1981 National Gallery of Victoria. Aspects of New Realism, 12 NSW Young Contemporaries
1987 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, The New Romantics
1989 9×5 Centenary Exhibitions, Sydney & Melbourne
1990 John Olsen Drawing Prize Exhibition, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
2002, 2005, 2018 Invited, Kedumba Drawing Award Exhibition.
Over fifty solo exhibitions since 1975.