Artist Statement

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  Dartmoor Valerian 

I am a Devon based artist, living in the village of Holne on the edge of Dartmoor.  I began painting seriously after a career in biomedical research and am self-taught.  


The Dartmoor landscape is my constant passion.  Being near to this wild and spiritual place gives me endless inspiration and has enabled me to merge my love of art and the natural world.  I am particularly drawn to unusual subjects and to the less visited and wilder areas of the moor, especially to the fleeting mood and light changes that the unpredictable weather brings.  I capture these transient changes on camera whilst walking on the moor and back in the studio I adapt my digital material to create a composition as my reference source and a prelude to painting.  I work at my best when I am in my studio but I like to return to the location regularly to be reunited with the subject.


I am particularly drawn to the ancient sites such as the stone rows and circles that reflect the moor’s history but also to the tumbling rivers, the wooded gorges, the tors, the field patterns and the clipped hedges of the more gentle parts of the landscape.


The beautiful coastline of the South West Peninsula is also an inspiration to me and presents a contrast to the sometimes, starkness of the moor. I also enjoy painting the more intimate aspects of the landscape, namely the seasonal profusion of wild flowers, hedgerows and trees.


Further afield, my travels at home and abroad inspire me to capture my experiences in paint.


The image dictates the medium and I use a variety of materials and styles depending on the nature of the image and the effect I want to create.  Some of my paintings have been developed using acrylic paints with texture paste and found materials such as moorland grasses and sand.  Supplementary oil pastels, pens and pencils are additionally used to achieve the desired effect. Other paintings depend on developing an image by superimposing translucent glazes of oil paint to produce a luminous and semi abstract painting.  Colour is important to me and I enjoy experimenting with new ways of expressing the essence of the landscape in a less conventional palette.


I prefer a ‘hands on’ approach using fingers, rags, sponges, sticks and any implement that achieves the purpose but also use palette knives and occasionally brushes, as appropriate.  The oil paintings generally involve the use of rags and fingers with only a small amount of palette knife or brushwork.


More recently I have painted directly in the landscape using acrylic paint on paper to achieve a more abstracted style of painting.