FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How did you become an aviation artist?
I had no choice really! My father and uncle were both with the RAF during the war, my dad in Egypt and my uncle in the Far East. As a young boy the stories they told were so exciting although they were tempered by the stories my mother told of being a child in Plymouth during the Blitz.
The 1960s saw some of the greatest movies ever made about the war. Spitfires and Messerschmitt leapt from the screen in 'The Battle of Britain' and later from the same cinema we were transported to Pearl Harbor in Tora! Tora! Tora!
Needless to say as a young artist my sketchbooks were filled with drawings inspired by these things and an added bonus was that my father worked in the Royal Naval dockyards where on occasional open days I was able to explore the aircraft carriers.
I always knew I wanted to be a painter but I needed to convince those who wanted me to do something less risky. It is a risky business as I soon found out but like anything if you stick at it, it pays off eventually. I have always felt that I never really have had a proper job. I love painting so much and am never as happy as when I am absorbed in a new project.
Q: What is it about aviation art that inspires you?
Beyond the pleasure of painting the aircraft which have such wonderful aesthetic appeal, I have had the privilege of meeting some of those remarkable people who actually went to war in these machines.
I have realised by talking to them there is an extra dimension in the responsibility I have in portraying their exploits faithfully. A painting allows people to see often for the first time what took place all those years ago in full colour.
What photographs were taken during the war years were almost all monochrome which to a modern world totally immersed in colour imagery can look rather distant. By bringing those scenes to life in vivid colour, aviation art serves a very important role keeping history alive. At its best art and history unite in this medium to produce something far greater than the sum of its parts.
Q: Now you are an independent artist what does this new venture mean to you and your art?
This is such an exciting time for me, I have so many new ideas for aviation art, fulfilling some long held ambitions through a wider range of print sizes, subjects and compositions.
Q: What can your collectors look forward to?
Without giving too much away, I’m aware that there are many aircraft that are rarely if ever portrayed. I am working on some brave new ideas in composition too.
These aren't just my ideas but are also inspired by collectors who tell me what gets them excited. I’m looking forward to continuing a dialogue with collectors and know through past experience what amazing ideas will come forward.
Q: What are some memorable moments from your career to date?
There was the time I was taken up in a B25 and it caught fire! There have been the visits to places like the Mohne Dam, the D Day beaches, The Eagle's Nest and the many old airfields that are scattered throughout the English countryside.
Above all though it has been meeting the veterans which has connected me with the past more vividly than anything and I treasure the time I have spent in their company.
Q: How do you go about undertaking an original oil painting?
The visual ideas are what make a picture attractive and unique but they also have to be historically accurate, telling a truthful story about real events. Marrying the two can be a challenge but is essential and each new painting concept occupies my mind for many hours (sometimes months!). Once the planning and research is done the painting itself is easy going!
Q: Are you available for commissions?
Certainly, and I welcome the opportunity to speak with anyone who would like to own their own canvas – just go to the commissions page to find out more. Some of the paintings undertaken specifically for an individual collector are among the most interesting I get to do and I welcome the challenge of portraying something that means so much to one person.
Q: What is your favourite aircraft?
It's usually the one I am painting when I'm asked that question! I don't wish to sidestep the issue but it's true that I get very attached to whatever I am portraying having spent weeks researching every little detail. There are of course the perennial favourites like P51's and Spitfires that look great from every angle. German aircraft are always exciting to paint with their colourful markings and dynamic shapes.
Q: What are your other interests?
Well I love steam trains. Like old aircraft they are big and noisy and evoke strong feelings of a recent past that is worlds apart from our lives today. Again they make the most wonderful subjects for painting full of character and vigour.