Meet The Family…
Like most Aussie kids, I grew up playing on the beach but it wasn’t until my parents split when I was 10 that Mum moved my younger siblings, sister Sky and brother Forest (Frog) and me down to Margaret River in the beautiful South West corner of Western Australia that I began surfing.
My Mum, at the time, was attracted to the laid back alternative lifestyle that Margaret River had to offer. In the late 80’s it had yet to be tainted by the corporate greed infested wine industry that has engulfed the town today. Back then, it was just about the waves. And, thankfully, our Mum loved the beach. So, most days after school would see us piling into Mum’s old campervan and making a beeline for Redgate beach. Today, the waves and some of the hippies remain albeit on a bubbly wave of sparkling shiraz and land prices better suited to Swan river frontage in Perth. The ‘small town’ feel has gone.
Ive always liked drawing but as I grew through my teens and studied art at school, it became more about homework than a hobby. All I wanted to do was draw and paint seascapes.
It was, and still is, the only thing that truly motivates me.
When I was 15, my Mum passed down to me a stack of my Grandmothers oil paints and brushes. My Grandmother (who passed when I was very young) spent her life as a farmer’s wife in central New Zealand and some of her watercolours of NZ mountains were fantastic. Mum was the one who encouraged me the most (as Mums do). When she lost her battle with cancer aged 54, I spent a lot of hours in the studio as ‘therapy’. My Dad who also liked to dabble with a brush gave me his leftover supplies too. So, armed with a stack of second hand materials I began painting seascapes.
The challenge of capturing the ‘essence’ of the ocean in a medium such as Oil has been a driving force for me through the years. It is a subject that is forever changing, the colours, the movement of the water. I gave up early on trying to perfectly ‘recreate’ ocean scenes. And oil, being so thick, vibrant and slow drying makes the process a sometimes arduous one. So instead, I focused on the abstract ocean. Blocks of colour that jump off the canvas or waves disproportioned. I gather ideas but I never paint from a photo. I enjoy that a piece will develop and morph, or take sudden turns, with each colour and brush stroke. I believe I am suppressing the true nature of the artwork if I try and paint a photo.
Now, with my gorgeous wife Seb and two beautiful children, daughter Oceana (18months) and son, Zephyr (3 months) life has become rather hectic and my studio has been (relocated) banished to the shed! So, expectedly, there are lengthy gaps between the painting and the surfing but the passion remains and when I need to rediscover that ‘motivation’ I know where to find it…