I was born and raised in Wimbledon, Surrey, so my creative life started at Sutton and Cheam School of Art and Crafts where I studied under George Mackley RE, one of the finest wood engravers of the 20th Century. This lead to my first job in a West End of London advertising studio as a photographic retouching artist and airbrush illustrator. This was long before the days of computers and Photoshop!
It seems improbable that a young man in the West End should end up on the canals but I always had a fascination for water – usually as a child falling into it – my love for the waterways was born during canoeing holidays on the River Wey with the Scouts. This led to hiring ex-working narrowboats and exploring the Midland canal system with a group of young Rover Scouts. At this time British Waterways still operated a considerable number of craft carrying coal, steel, wheat and many other commodities. Other companies included the fleets of Samuel Barlow and Willow Wren. This interest in waterways developed into a passionate love of these crafts and the boatman’s unique way of life. I felt driven to record as much as possible with the medium closest to my heart - brush and paint.
In the 1970s I moved to Staffordshire, living aboard and running a studio on a pair of boats. Later on, I moved to a lock-side cottage near Stratford-upon-Avon.
I've meandered my way through being self-employed, producing pottery, painting and undertaking traditional decoration, such as roses and castles, and signwriting on boats. I found my way back into advertising again but soon returned to being a self-employed artist tackling anything from publicity, book illustration and oil commissions to pub signs and boat painting. Alongside oil paintings and occasional watercolours, my commissions include the illustrations and jacket for the well-known book “Ram’lin Rose” and the covers of M&M Baldwin’s popular“Working Waterways” series.
I'm a member of the Guild of Waterway Artists, an active member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal Society and Chairman of a charity that provides canal holidays for young people, the disabled and underprivileged.
I still exhibit at several of the boat shows held around the Midland system which gives me an excuse to spend time aboard my narrowboat “Foreward”. You’ll find me armed with a camera, adding to an ever-expanding and invaluable reference library, recording the remaining historical buildings, boats and artifacts that are sadly being destroyed or redeveloped. I continue to enjoy time on the canals boating with some not so young Rover Scouts too!