There’s a particular moment of excitement, and sometimes trepidation, as I stand in front of my canvas, brush loaded and poised for that first mark. It might be in my studio, on a beach or up in the hills, that frisson is always there and manifests itself in the hover – the hanging over the canvas, bobbing the brush tip up and down like a snooker player lining up a shot – then the dart and sweep of the first marks.
I rarely start a painting with slow, measured marks, painstakingly plotting every line. I like to dive in, start big with the key lines and shapes, and get moving paint around as quickly as possible. Themes mostly relate to a sense of place; physically, in respect of landscape derived work; and in a more philosophical or spiritual sense in the way people and society interact with each other and the place.
One thing remains consistent. Authenticity. It has to be about a place that means something to me. Much of my work is about the Lancashire landscape. I lived for ten years on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Barrowford, which was a rich source of inspiration. I am often drawn to Pendle and the Bowland Fells, the subject of numerous paintings in recent years. Most recently, because of my circumstances caring for parents, ambitious painting projects have been difficult, so I have tended to do a lot of drawing. I sketch everywhere I go but now do more at home in my studio. I have made a range of ink drawings of birds on local maps which still adhere to the principles I’ve described.
I have been involved in using art as a tool for youth engagement, mental health support and tackling isolation, much of this has been with the Bowland Forest AONB. As a former Primary Headteacher I have a range of skills beyond the art which have helped me deliver successful school projects across the North of England.
Visit Keith’s page for contact details and links.