My paintings are about light and the effects of light on objects such as figures, water, landscape; they are about minute colour changes. Composition is important to me and I spend a lot of time getting it right before I start to paint.
I also think we can learn from other painters. I am aware of the lessons learned by other artists with regard to, for instance, composition, the division of the picture and colour theory. One can learn a lot by looking at other people’s work and by studying other artists.
I make sketches with pencil, charcoal or oil.
These sketches, along with photographs, make up a sort of visual diary which I use as reference material for my paintings. My paintings are sometimes finished in one session; other times they take two or even three sessions to finish. Most often, I will finish a painting 75% of the way and then leave it for a few weeks to dry – this gives me time to think about the painting.
When I start a painting, I make a quick charcoal sketch working out the composition that most appeals to me. I mix the main colours on the palette: these can be adjusted as the painting evolves. Once the main colours are mixed and the composition is worked out, I start to paint, quickly at first, then slowing as the painting becomes more resolved. Once I have either finished the painting or reached a point where I can go no further, I leave it for another day. This approach of working out the composition and colours has the advantage of helping me to paint quickly, and then hopefully the work will be fluid, spontaneous and not a bit laboured.
My own ambition as a painter is to get better, to increase my skill to describe my subject better.