I was born in Harrogate in the 1960's and raised on a small family run farm at Menwith Hill, Nidderdale. This afforded me a freedom and understanding of the countryside, which looking back made me very privileged. My Grandfather was the last farmer in Nidderdale to go mechanised and stop using horsepower. He clung onto the 'old ways' as long as he could. Today we call his way of farming organic.
When I was at junior school at the end of the summer term we used to go on a nature walk by the river Nidd which ran through the village. We used to pick as many wild flowers as we could and once back in the classroom we drew the flowers this is my earliest memory of enjoying art. Once I reached senior school I wasn't very interested in art and up to the age of 20 had no further interest in it at all. What happened when I was 20 to reignite my passion? Nothing too apocalyptic! I went to an art class but I didn't enjoy it and packed it in after 3 lessons but I did learn the rudiments of understanding colour and how to mix and apply oil paint.
I set up a studio in a small caravan on our farm was given an easel by my Father on my 21st birthday and proceeded to paint anything I could, from pictures of wildlife taken from books, to sitting outside painting farm scenes, none of which were very good but I was hooked. I stopped painting when family commitments took over, namely my beautiful children, and we moved to a sheep farm in Walden, Wensleydale.
In 2008 I started painting again and finally decided on which direction to go namely painting the iconic Swaledale sheep. I am inspired by the varied elements of the Swaledale sheep from the geometrical curve and swirl of the horns, to the random depth of the fleece and the defiant twinkle in their eyes.
My inspiration is clearly shared, when I exhibited my work in the Old School House gallery in Muker in 2009 I sold most of my work exhibited in that first year. I have been fortunate to find my work selling consistently since then and is currently on display in galleries around the country. My paintings are also in private collections worldwide including Dubai, the west coast of America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.I was also featured in the September 2012 issue of The Dalesman.
After being made redundant from my civilian post with North Yorkshire Police I decided to make painting my full time profession and spend most of my time up the fells in Swaledale and Wensleydale, taking photos of Swaledale sheep in their natural environment to capture the composition and movement I want for my paintings.
My art is dedicated to my Father who was the epitome of the hardened Dales sheep farmer. I loved him dearly and was always encouraged by him to keep painting until he passed away in 2009 before ever knowing of my success.