Detail of pastel drawing "Denny's Hill, Mendham"
Born in 1945, I attended St Albans Abbey School before studying Fine Art at Chelsea College and then training to teach at Bishop Otter College, Chichester (1964-1967) My own teaching career focussed on teaching Art and Art History in secondary schools in the UK (Bury St Edmunds, Clare, with the ODA abroad in the Cayman Islands, and then in Bath, often combining Art with oversight for Music, Drama and pastoral responsibilities. Between 1977 - 1979 my career changed course working as the Arts Officer in the new Poole Arts Centre, Dorset, now known as 'The Lighthouse', where I ran the galleries and small-scale concert programmes, educational opportunities, dance residencies and liased with all manner of regional cultural organisations. Returning to teaching in Truro and becoming Senior Houemaster, in 1984 I began training for Ordination with the Church of England (deaconed 1986) which has brought me a very interesting ministry, in a wide variety of posts in Parishes across Worcester Diocese and the Church in Wales. The latter included major civic and county responsibilities, with my major church becoming a national Arts Venue, my forging links with Swansea Art School and the new Metropolitan University. During these clerical years not only did my painting and drawing have to became confined to days-off and the holidays, but I became National Chair of the CARM Retreat Movement, working with other Chaplains and Tutors to provide spiritual encouragement and challenges through a range of artistic activities while being away together in a community. Somehow I still managed to regularly exhibit, selling paintings and drawings, while also spearheading physical changes to many churches, working on two Diocesan DAC's, organising Arts Festivals for the local Church and their communiies, with many such events serving as vehicles for healing and the restoration of hope.
WIDER INTERESTS AND RETIREMENT
Being educated as a Chorister meant that Church music has always played an important part in my life and the life of my family. Both sons were also choristers (Truro and Salisbury Cathedrals) and, while I now have lost the voice I once had (!) my wife and I thoroughly enjoy being part of the Friends of Cathedral Music. We live equidistant from Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and can often support fine concerts and find truly inspirational worship in both places.
We are also both keen gardeners. When we open the studio in the summer it inevitably means we also have to manage an Open Garden Weekend. Living on the very edge of our village, with views across ever-changing fields, beside a wonderful woodland, we have become keen bird-watchers. Walking the footpaths and playing our part in the Local History Group is yet another way of ensuring that the countryside and environment gets the attention and care it deserves.
Already full of family connections and memories of various holiday homes etc. retirement in 2010 enabled my wife and I to return to this glorious County. As a fortunate boy my holidays were largely spent at Southwold while earliest experiences of teaching took place in in Bury St Edmunds where my wife and I came to settle after our marraige in 1967. Later on we came back to live in Framlingham (1986-1989) where I served a a Curate and learnt so much of the craft of being a priest. All this means that I am now painting and drawing in the county I have known and loved since boyhood and which has always inspired my work.
Having always written poetry, I often now find myself writing as a parallel exercise: distilling ideas and personal reflection, in which the language of visual theology will hopefully enrich all that I value of the inheritance and distinctive voice of Anglican spirituality. I trust that picture and poem can be used to open the eyes, minds and hearts of others to the energy and purposes of God around us, within us and between us.
I am fortunate in bein g able to continue to assist in churches on Sundays: preaching and presiding at the Eucharist and covering for priests who are unwell or absent. This means quite a lot of my time is still spent reading and writing sermons, requiring my keeping up to date with Church issues, but being thankful I am no longer in fulltime harness ! Whatever time is left, from entertaining and being part of a wide and growing family - we have five grand-daughters - is devoted to establishing a highly detailed and scratch-built model of an imaginary railway. This occupies part of the studio, and although in OO scale, seems to be taking up a huige amount of room ! It is based on an imaginary line known as th Suffolk Coastal and District, inpsired by much of the old Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, with prototype buildings drawn from those lining the River Blyth, while also allowing for the imagination to ask " What if....." and consequently producing something that is not so much a model railway but a highly pictorial 3-D Riverscape.