Living in a small village on the edge of the Cotswold's I am surrounded with some of the best countryside the UK, nigh the world, has to offer. The inspiration for my paintings may come from a walk or simply looking out of my kitchen window!
For example, not far from me is a patch of old deciduous wood. The owners are managing it is a traditional style, coppicing the hazel every few years but mainly leaving it alone. Despite the fact it is private and there is no legal right of away the owners kindly allow the villagers to walk freely in the woods which is carpeted with bluebells every spring.
I like to visit the woods on weekdays which are usually quite and free of dog walkers. On one clear bright morning I was walking along the path completely by myself quietly breathing in the smells of the good earth. I imagined myself totally alone until a fully grown Red Stag, complete with huge antlers stepped out from under the trees a short distance along the path. We were very close to each other and as we both stood perfectly still I knew I was being judged, weighted up by this magnificent creature and found wanting. The moment we looked into each others eyes felt like an eternity. But the stag, like a true King of the Forest dismissed me as being harmless and calmly stepped into the trees on the other side of the path.
I was totally "put in my place" by a creature that allowed me into his woods but disregarded me an outsider in his world.
The momery of this event has stayed with me for many years and the resulting artwork is the stately "Monarch" a half life size pencil drawing of a Red Stag.
This was the first stag I have ever drawn and I am very pleased with it. The original drawing has already found a happy new home in China. A charming couple who barely spoke a word of English bought it from the Minerva Gallery where it was awaiting framing.
Fortunately we were allowed to scan the draewing before shipping it to China and a very special large format limited edition print will be made of it in time to be launched at the CLA Game Fair this August.
Me with the original drawing just before it got shipped to China!