Fine Art

I often use photographs as a starting point for my paintings. Certainly during the icy alpine winter this makes good sense! It’s simply too cold to stay still outdoors long enough to make detailed drawings. Normally I prefer to take the photos myself, but in this case it was a good friend of mine who [...]

Located at the foot of La Grande Rue, also known as La Grande Gargouille, this rather gorgeous fountain is one of my favourite features of the old town. It is near the entrance to the Bibliothèque Municipale, which is housed in a building dedicated to Aristide Albert. In the summer of 2016 I just happened [...]

This large monochrome drawing was commissioned by the owner/ director of Briançon Cité Vauban Appartements in November 2017. It all started with a cappuccino at the Patisserie Turin… Followed by a photoshoot in bright sunshine… I was immediately fascinated by the steep walls and stairways. And yes, part of the building was indeed cylindrical, hence [...]

The companion painting to Poppies and Dandelions I. A closer view, with more vivid oranges, vermillions and dark green shadows. It was interesting to work on two paintings of the same subject simultaneously. In this watercolour I was trying to show the structure of the petals and how the sunlight made them translucent in places. [...]

I spotted these gorgeous oriental poppies growing wild near my home in Mas de Blais, Briançon. Their petals were a riot of yellow, orange, scarlet and crimson in the bright morning sunlight. The grey stone wall and delicate dandelions provided a good foil to the poppies’ vivacious colouring. I immediately thought of Georgia O’Keefe’s wonderful [...]

On my recent family holiday to St Tropez I became fascinated by the shape of these incredible trees. Fortunately there was a fine specimen just opposite our balcony with a fantastic view of some provencal roofs and La Golfe de Saint-Tropez behind it. After a day or so I noticed how the trunks and branches [...]

In the summer of 2015, the owners of Le Frog, Dee and Xavier Teychene, invited me to exhibit my work at their restaurant. Once the exhibition was installed, I spent many happy hours photographing and sketching on the terrasse. Or profiting from the delightful swimming pool and sampling delicious food from their summer menu! I [...]

A slightly experimental watercolour, where I left parts of the paper untouched. The composition is adapted from a photograph that I took one early autumn afternoon. I am always on the look out for unusual views of familiar places. This landscape of Briançon “old town” with the Fort des Tetes in the middle distance was [...]

This painting was based on a photograph taken on February 3rd 2015. Le Monêtier les Bains is a large village in the Serre Chevalier valley with a number of interesting buildings, notably the parish church pictured here. You can see the larch and pine forests in the distance with the ski runs created for the [...]

I made this drawing from direct observation in Autumn 2015. At this time of year the leaves on our cherry tree change from green to golden orange. In the afternoons the Prorel mountain turns a deep blue as the north facing slope is swathed in shadow, providing a stunning colour contrast. It was a very [...]

‘Sunflower Garden’ is probably one of my most ambitious watercolours to date. It shows the view from the bottom of my garden looking across the allotments belonging to our neighbours. In the background you can just see part of the houses in the Rue des Beignets. Each year we are charmed by the sunflowers that [...]

While I was living in Berkhamsted one of my weekend treats was a stroll along the canal and a visit to either The Boat or Rising Sun pubs (or both). This drawing was based on a photograph I took after the wind and rain had blown numerous leaves on to the towpath. There’s a hint [...]

One of my student paintings, influenced a little by Giorgio de Chirico and Paul Nash. This picture, along with other works by students on my degree course, was donated to the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital in 1986. I also left my appendix there, a rather painful experience. I hope visitors to the hospital enjoyed the [...]

Johan Asherton is a musician and songwriter from Paris, with a really deep bass-baritone voice. We became friends and pen-pals after he admired my book about Kevin Ayers. I’ve photographed Johan and his musician friends a number of times but I always wanted to portray him in a pencil or painted portrait too. Et voila! [...]

This portrait was based on sketches and photos taken in a cornfield in Suffolk. The early evening light played beautifully across Kevin’s pale Celtic skin and jet black hair…

The view from the house I lived in at the time, situated on the corner of King Street and Henry Street. Tring is a thriving market town set in the green fields of Hertfordshire. Wonderful and challenging perspective in this scene. Plus great patterns on the brick walls and tiled roofs. I worked on this [...]

Hot from my travels in Spain (summer 1985) and all things flamenco I started to make drawings and paintings of fans. One of my fellow painters, Rosalie De Meric, an opera-loving student in her sixties, offered to lend me these beautiful antique fans. I was very grateful to Rosalie for her generosity. With these items [...]

A hot, sunny afternoon in this Andalusian village which has inspired a number of artists, photographers and writers. I didn’t want to disturb these two youngsters as they opened their new game so I used my zoom lens. I like the simplicity of the white building and the range of tones in this timeless scene… [...]

This is a study for the painting of the same name. The antique fans were lent by a fellow student, Rosalie de Meric. I changed the composition quite dramatically for the large canvas. However the study of tones and textures on the dark fan helped a great deal once I was working on the painting. [...]

This is a quick, experimental student painting heavily influenced by my visit to Spain in the summer of 1985. I’ve used the square format that I favoured for the charcoal drawing, Black and White Fans. I was playing with the shapes of various objects on my dressing table and the spaces around them. I used [...]

When one of my A-Level Art students announced she was going to do a project about tattoos I realised that I knew the perfect model for some drawing from observation! Ray was “a friend of a friend”, tall, dark-haired, star sign Sagittarius (naturally) and lead singer of a local rock band in Aylesbury. He was [...]

Mr and Mrs Dhura’s son, Amondeep, commissioned me to make this double portrait as a thank you present for his parents on the occasion of his marriage. I didn’t meet Mr and Mrs Dhura until the wedding day so I worked from a photograph supplied by Amondeep, a Science teacher in a nearby school. I [...]

I saw Marillion in concert a few times during the 1980s; at Hammersmith Odeon, Glastonbury Festival and at St. Andrew’s Hall in Norwich, just around the corner from the Norwich School of Art building. I took my Olympus OM1 SLR camera with me to the gig and took a series of photos from quite close [...]

After spending days and weeks in the Life Room at Norwich School of Art producing “academic” nudes, Stephen and I decided we would prefer to paint some of our friends (with clothes on!). So we took it in turns to pose for each other in the mornings. Stephen was one of the youngest and most [...]

This quick drawing is part of a series of drawings that I did at the Atelier Intercommunal des Beaux Arts in Briançon in November 2015. It was just a few days after the massacre at the Batalan club and the other terrorist atrocities in Paris on Friday 13th November. A number of young women, who [...]

This drawing was made during an evening class at Berkhamsted School, Hertfordshire. I tried to keep this drawing very simple with dramatic shadows. I’m pleased that I didn’t overwork the hair, or the features. This would be the perfect study for a painting or sculpture of a mermaid, a theme which I explored further in [...]

This charcoal drawing was made in the celebrated “Life Room” on the ground floor of Norwich School of Art. The building is situated in George Street, on the banks of the river Wensum. Fanny, the model, kept this demanding pose for hours on end… a true professional. I really enjoyed the tuition I received from [...]

Foundation Art Course, Harrow College of Higher Education 1982-3. Charcoal pencil and chalk on pastel paper. Barry the model was a lorry driver by day, apparently.

La Vieille Ecurie is a charming “Chambre des Hotes”, with a lively bar and restaurant. It is situated in the village of La Vachette in the Vallee de la Claree, near Briancon.  In 2014 the current owners, Katie and Richard Fiander, commissioned me to make a winter watercolour painting of their establishment. “Something similar to [...]

In 2005, Mme Laurent, the owner of Hotel Plein Sud, commissioned me to make a large watercolour painting of the outdoor swimming pool and terrace area. The brief was to include some interesting details in the foreground, such as a table set for lunch, as well as the legendary Piste Luc Alphand in the distance. [...]

A springtime watercolour made from direct observation while standing on my balcony. I tried to keep the painting as spontaneous as possible and only sketched in the simplest of details in pencil. I worked quickly to capture the blossom on the cherry tree before it disappeared.

One of the views from the terrasse in my back garden, hence the slightly elevated position. The metal roofs with or without snow-stoppers are characteristic of the Briancon area. This painting was made completely from direct observation in three sessions. It was mid-afternoon towards the end of the summer. No photographs were needed and therefore [...]

This watercolour sketch was influenced by one of Claude Monet’s best loved snow scenes ‘La Pie’ or ‘The Magpie’. My painting was developed from a series of photographs and quick sketches which I made in Le Monetier-les-Bains on February 3rd 2015. I remember the day very well as the conditions were perfect for photography. A [...]

This is my first attempt to capture the ski terrain of Serre Chevalier. For technical reasons (coldness mostly) it’s difficult to work from direct observation outdoors in the winter. So photographs were the reference for this watercolour sketch of my daughter at Serre Ratier. You can see the ski lifts as well as the bars [...]

I started this watercolour in 2010 before the 15th century chapel was restored. I liked the red roses climbing up the trellis, the water trough and carved heads on the window ledge. The Chapelle Saint Jean Baptiste is a very impressive church for a small alpine village. The painting was slightly problematic from the beginning [...]

How lucky was I to find this wonderful house on wash day?! It is situated in the older part of Chantemerle, as you walk from the Eglise Saint Jacques down to the Guisane river. Alpine winters are so sunny that there’s no need for a tumble dryer and people just hang their sheets over the [...]

A real slice of Serre Chevalier history here. The idea came to me in October 2003 when the first snows of winter arrived early, turning the trees into sugar sculptures. A number of local characters found their way into this painting, notably Rick Lomas with skis (!) and also Gary the dog. The blonde lady [...]

As the snow melts on the mountain tops in the springtime the Guisane river swells and thunders through the village of Chantemerle. This painting shows the older part of Chantemerle from the other side of the river ( l’Envers). I really liked the crumbly building perched on the riverside in the foreground. I believe it [...]

There are some very magical places in Serre Chevalier and this is one of them. The Chapelle St Roch was built in 1755 to commemorate victims of the plague.  It is situated in the forest on the north facing side of the valley. There is a path which leads to the chapel from l’Envers du [...]

The Col du Lautaret is a high mountain pass which links the Serre Chevalier valley with the Romanche valley. I have wandered around the Jardin Alpin a number of times with family and friends over the years. Every visit has been delightful and educational. Although it was June when I took the series of photographs [...]

This painting was based on a photo I took very quickly one Sunday morning in springtime. The scene is located near the river Guisane in the older part of Chantemerle. “L’Envers” means “the other side”. The pink building with the trompe-l’oeil decoration is  ‘La maison Milou’ which is divided up into holiday apartments. I can [...]

This painting has a special place in my heart. The paved area is the patio garden of the former Hotel le Yeti, scene of many parties and concerts until it was demolished around 2007. They chopped down the willow trees too. On sunny days there was no better place to gather for a beer and [...]

Having grown up in the mild climate of north London, England, I was fascinated by  the huge mounds of snow that fall and harden during an alpine winter. This pink cottage was just so pretty with its blue woodwork. Some years later I was delighted to meet the new owners of the cottage at the [...]

One morning, on the way to work, I spotted this classic Renault 4 covered in snow which was just starting to melt. The “No Parking” sign on the garage seemed rather ironic. I quickly took some photographs and used them to develop quite a technically challenging watercolour. I really like the contrast of the dark [...]

During the winter season of 2002-2003 I was living in a caravan in my friend’s back garden. A pretty chilly existence in the wintry French Alps. I started to go for walks around the picturesque village of St Chaffrey, mostly to warm myself up! I quickly spotted some very interesting and characterful buildings, such as [...]

I painted this self-portrait for a homework assignment during my A-level Art course at Lowlands Sixth Form College, Harrow. The brief was to use an unusual coloured light source to create an interesting atmosphere. One of the challenges was working in a darkened room, with a fairly dim red light bulb and trying to guess [...]