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 Pie Factory, Studio 3

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.

IMG_2866The Pie Factory Studio

My current creative home is smack in the middle of old town Margate, Kent, one of five independent studios at The Pie Factory. Margate is becoming a centre for creatives outside London, experiencing an exodus of artists who can no longer afford studio space in the city. (Studio visits by appointment only.)

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.