When I started out and was fascinated by Surrealism it was because it was a great tool for expressing what I felt was the ‘magic of life’. Then, with the ‘Orientalist’ paintings it was, to my eyes at least, very much the same thing. No-one disputes the fact that the great, silent, emptiness of the desert is, in itself, truly magical and, as an artist, I felt that I could express the same feeling of awe with the paintings of the desert as I did with the earlier surreal paintings.

The Sky Diary is, yet again, a continuation of the same thing: when I look up at skies I see an expression of the great mysteries of life. There is something - again - quite awe-inspiring about the impossibility of it all: a feeling of timelessness reaching out and extending into eternal space. At the same time, whenever I look up I feel as though I am experiencing something that can only be described as ‘visual poetry’ - in a way this takes us back to Magritte who liked to describe his paintings as ‘visual poems’. Skies inspire me and they help to make me feel connected to these great mysteries.

Also, looking up, I find I have a choice: I can stare unsmilingly and think ‘so what’ or I can gaze and allow myself to smile at the wonder of it all. So, in the paintings it is, again, all about the magic.

I first began work on the Sky Diary on the 11th December 2009. For five months, as an experiment, I painted a small sky each day. I wanted to see where it would lead; whether, for instance, by concentrating on skies each day, I would start to see and appreciate them differently. Altogether I painted 150 small skies, and this led on to an exhibition of some of the work at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath in 2012: the ‘Bath Sky Diary’ Exhibition.

On occasion I have been asked ‘why these three major changes of direction in a career?’  i.e. the ‘Surrealism’ then the ‘Orientalism’ and now the ‘Sky Diary’? However it has never, really, ever been a question of ‘changing directions’. Rather, it has been a quest of trying to follow the right path. It is little more than just trying to be truthful. If there is ever to be any value in art, then it has to be, quite simply, in sticking to the truth.   

One of my early sky studies: Sky of 2nd January 2010