Returning to art after two decades, I have learned the strength of variety, versatility, and exploration whilst retaining craft: how something is created – its process, its craft – is as vital to the finished piece as its motivation.

Neil drawing in the studio
Drawing in the studio in 2018

Drawing remains my primary focus. Its apparent limitations offer a purity and intimacy that brings artist and viewer closer. Marks are immediate, expressive, and exposed, often permanent, tainted by mood, thought, and environment – or, sometimes, deliberately and precisely not so.

The hinterland between what is a drawing, and what is a painting, directly reflects my fascination with boundaries, edges, and transitional spaces. Whether the spaces themselves or focused on found objects within them, I am particularly drawn to focus on unnoticed, unassuming subjects.

Since 2016 I have increasingly used pastels. Pastels bridge that drawing-painting hinterland perfectly. The process is akin to drawing: immediate, tactile, exposing; the result painterly, reflecting anything from a rough sketch to a finished oil painting.

My abstract paintings are an extension of my drawing, incorporating many of the base techniques of mark-making, form, and tone, but with a more expressive and open focus. Most abstracts are closer to the nature of drawing than many of my dry medium works.

Continuing themes include solitude, isolation, and exclusion, particularly within – or reflecting the escape from – restless, bustling, cacophonous environments: even the most apparently serene, calming environment is, to me, a bombardment of form, tone, and colour noise.

Jasper, disapprovingThe Studio Assistant

Essential to creative production is my dedicated assistant, Jasper. His simple renumeration is a daily beach walk. The benefit of his assistance in the studio, however, remains under assessment.