You’ll likely find me in the open air – whatever the weather – where sounds, smells and the elements sharpen what the eye sees. My work springs from nature and especially the changing light and moods of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s the essence of things which is my quest…the ‘treeness’ of a tree as Paul Cezanne used to say. I work with acrylics, watercolour, collage and photography – often mixing the media. The English nature painters are my inspiration – Hitchens, Hodgkins, Rae, Frost and Heron, as well as the masters of the Mediterranean – Matisse, Cezanne, Miro, Klee and Picasso.
Recent work includes plant studies and mixed media pieces expressing the anthropomorphic qualities of ivy, trees and rock. I enjoy playing with the juxtaposition of images which seem to have no apparent relation, but to me, are joined at the hip – a bit like the Surrealists – Magritte, Dali and co. Sometimes I tackle socio-political themes, as I believe the arts often have a more effective influence in society than rhetoric or campaigning.
In 2021 I was invited to take up an interactive residency with Craven Arts www.cravenarts.co.uk; with the title Craven Climate Action. This culminated in an exhibition of fifty or so local images illustrating the themes of COP26. Much of the content of the show can be seen in the Climate Emergency gallery on this site.
‘O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.’
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Where it all began
I’ve painted for as long as I could hold a brush, and I remember scorning a kindly meant gift of a set of Painting by Numbers. I relished painting over the lines and in colours of my own choice. By twenty-four I’d turned my collar round and have enjoyed Anglican ministry in Merseyside, Kenya, Nigeria, Oxford, Leeds and London, ending up as the Bishop of Barking with responsibility for five East London boroughs and West Essex. However, like Van Gogh, I’ve always felt my calling to be an artist first and priest second. Of course, way back in time, the two callings were one.
Commission4Mission is a network I founded, with the aim of supporting artists and enabling churches to commission art at affordable prices. We also held exhibitions and events which celebrated the long relationship between the arts and the Church. The network has now dispersed into other artist organisations having fulfilled its original purpose.
Currently, I’m collaborating with Leeds artist, Pippa Hale www.pippahale.com; on a co-creation, public art project with rough sleepers in Leeds city centre.
‘Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.’
Now I’ve retired there’s more time to paint and I’m enjoying the novelty of being able to create any day of the week, in or out of my studio in Skipton. In the Church of England, retirement doesn’t mean we stop ministry, only that we are no longer paid for it! I help out at my local church and as an honorary, assistant bishop in the Diocese of Leeds www.leeds.anglican.org
As a keen ‘birder’ I visit Bardsey Island each year, where I am the President of the Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory, and where this gem of an island becomes a fertile ‘plein air’ studio, as well as a place to bird watch and pray. www.bbfo.org.uk
Discover more about my artistic career by clicking here.
Photo Credit : Kevin McDonagh
‘There’s no retirement for the artist, it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it.’
If you wish to contact me regarding sales, commissions, a project or to discuss topics arising from my work, please contact me via email.