Why did I start painting.


I have been asked a number of times why I started painting. The truth is that I’m not sure what came first, the chicken or the egg.  I am not a patient person, and not very artistic, or had any practice or tuition and certainly never had the inclination in my early career to retire and sit for hours painting,

Whilst I have always enjoyed drawing as a child, there was never any period of my life that would have been a precursor to any painting talent or any dormant desire to discover a hidden talent.

Since I was six however,I have longed to go to sea, living by the coast ,I have always felt a draw to it, to the smell, the sounds and it’s unforgiving and powerful nature.  From the age of 12 I would escape the world ashore to go sailing, messing around on boats at every opportunity I could.

At 16 I left school to make a career at sea, the best decision I ever made and for thirty years was fairly successful, remaining at sea, until I was medically discharged when past horror experiences, finally caught up with me.

Following  my early retirement I went to live in a village in the middle of England. It was therefore, not the desire to paint pretty pictures that got me painting, but I believe it was the call of the sea, that I missed, being part again of those sounds of the waves and the smell of sea air, that made me want to develop them into a picture for myself.  Every picture, whether it’s made from a photograph or by visiting the beautiful locations, briought me back, to the sensations I associated with the sea. That really is the joy of painting, whether it’s from a photograph you may have taken or from a sketch you may have made, the experience and sensations associated with the occasion are totally relived every brush stroke as you paint the picture. That feeling of being part of the painting, part of the surroundings, is there every time I paint, and it makes each painting a part of me. 

It was therefore this feeling of being drawn back to the sea, that I believe got me to painting. A desire to “produce a comfort blanket” to be again part of the sea. The retirement dream of an English village did not work out and due to various reasons I became very ill. A total change of lifestyle then followed and painting became a way of helping me get better. However, life on a narrowboat is short of space, and my painting never really progressed. I started with watercolour, but I never felt that I could express myself. The painting experience was I felt, “too tranquil,” not rugged or rough enough to cover my unorthodox painting style. It was not until I was introduced to acrylic, that found I could express myself and produce what I was trying to paint. After some frustrating years of practice developing styles and then redeveloping other methods I finally began producing pictures, that were beginning to resemble the experience I was attempting to reproduce.

I am still learning and developing and I am far from what I still strive to produce. However  I find the experience relaxing and enjoyable and something I look forward to doing. This for me is therefore the goal achieved. If however, I can allow others to enjoy the painting too, and get even a whiff of that sea experience and enjoyment I had from doing the painting, It really is a dream come true.

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