Where it all began
My bond with portraiture and music began as a child.
My dad studied watercolour portraiture for personal growth. He painted me and kept his other portraits in the under-stairs cupboard, which gave them viewing them an illicit frisson. My sister andI would look them out, uncovering famous stars like Myrna Loy with her impossibly arched eyebrows and works with enigmatic titles like, "The girl with the mackerel shawl".
My brother-in-law, an art student who plays mean blues guitar, entered our lives in the '60s. He inspired my future career as an artist. When I was eight, he asked who my favourite Beatle was. I said John Lennon. He painted Lennon, in pop art-style with black hair, blue and orange skin, Sargent Pepper's costume, moustache and his trademark glasses. I was entranced.
With my parents I made frequent visits to my sister and John's place off the Kings Road in its '60s heyday. Music-wise it was an exciting place to be: you rubbed shoulders with Long John Baldry and Elton John and, soon, each visit was punctuated with a gig. Art and music intertwined in album covers I saw designed by my sister's best friend like the one that celebrated Led Zeppelin's train tour.
So when I left home, London drew me to it but as a journalist. On my mum's advice, I then kept art as a hobby. Life drawing, museums, gigs filled my leisure time. Then I pursued a career in broadcast news pr. Twenty years passed before I traded my blackberry for a paintbrush, retraining as a portraitist.
A friend introducing me to evening portraiture classes at Heatherleys prompted the career shift. I realised art isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life. By studying portraiture, I found a new, visually-driven approach to seeing people and nature, considering detail, character, rhythm, and colour.
A few years later I united in my art my journalistic love of visual reportage by choosing buskers as my subject matter and I did so my blending fine art with a more colourful, graphic style. Now, as resident artist of the Half Moon Putney, my artworks underline the power of both art and performance to connect us.