It wasn’t until 2006 I felt the desire to paint… but what, I puzzled!
Today living in Malvern Worcestershire the Hills here seemed the ideal subject matter, but that all important inner fire just wasn’t there as scenic as it is. Then on a visit to Liverpool.. European City of Culture 2008 suddenly that inner fire was ignited… It was everything my wonderful hometown had to offer…. All those early impressionable years, the people, its history and places with its vibrancy and creativity all with such strong emotion combined with great nostalgic happiness just reinforced my wonderful journey to translate into painting and writing.
From age 3 as an only child I always had a pencil in my hand drawing anything which caught my attention… people, cars, buildings, animals. It was a time when Liverpool was recovering from a terrible war with most civic buildings covered in a black grime, where droves of dockers travelled to work on the Overhead Railway from Dingle to Seaforth. A city where over 700 trams trundled along the wide dual carriage ways and a time when very few people had cars. Living in Council property and no car, travelling on buses and trams, much time was spent staring out of the windows to cement lasting sights and impressions in my mind and not forgetting the Mersey Ferries to Woodside, Seacombe and the special treat to New Brighton or the electric train trip to Southport or picnicking in the sand dunes at Ainsdale.
It was also a time when the Scouts, Girl Guides and Boys Brigades were abound. I was in the CLB, the Church Lads Brigade at St Annes Aigburth where once a month we would march around the local streets of Aigburth in a band comprising just bugles and drums playing ‘When the Saints go marching in’… The highlight of the year was the annual summer camp at Prestatyn, run on military lines and sleeping in bell tents where apart from sports day, kit inspections, meals in the the mess tent with a bugle announcement and marching on the beach, the evenings were spent at the seaside amusement arcades to the sound of American pop music hits.. Such memorable moments.
As a pupil at Toxteth Technical High School late 50's some of my friends lived locally in century old streets of terrace houses with nearby areas still bearing the scars of WW2 'Blitz'.
The close knit community area around the Anglican Cathedral in particular always holds a fascination for me with its terraced homes, small factories and businesses, pubs and corner shops, all sadly demolished by the mid 70’s as part of the Corporation’s regeneration programme..
Many of our play areas then were disappearing too. Catching sticklebacks and newts from the large pond near the Cast Iron Shore or ‘Cassie’ with its rather tarry beach all went to make way for the new Otterspool Promenade extension from Jerrico Lane in Aigburth to Dingle oil Jetty. This became our new play area watching its construction, where for many years it became the City tip with a secondary tip for old cars. We also would ride out on our bicycles to watch the progress of the new Widnes to Runcorn bridge or gather together with 100’s of others at the Pier Head ferry terminal to cycle onto the Wirral or further to N.Wales...
They were such exciting times as with other emerging artistic and musical pursuits….. There were the Liverpool poets with Roger McGough, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and more… But it was the phenomenal rise of Merseybeat, the music genre which launched the Beatles to international fame and with it a celebrated interest with Liverpool of today.. Evolving from the many Church Halls and clubs which formed as venues for 100’s of Merseyside groups to play. St Barnabus Church Hall or ‘Barneys’ on Penny Lane was my local Saturday night venue wearing me best Itie suit and ‘taken in’ kecks and prized winklepickers to twist and jive to the sound of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Rory Storm, Earl Preston, The Big Three or the Searchers and where the Quarrymen played a few years earlier. ..
I feel privileged to have lived in that period and especially living in the same area as John Lennon and Paul McCartney, where we used to hang out in many of the same places. With a number of my paintings Ive tried to interpret perhaps the thoughts of a young John Lennon living and playing with his friends which were so very similar to my own.
An apprentice from age 16 at English Electric Liverpool as a toolmaker in a toolroom of 100 men some of which were fanatical Everton and Liverpool supporters to Free Masons and Orange Lodge marchers to the more normal was a wonderful education to be working with such a range of characters. As with a spell in the Merchant Navy as an Engineer Officer on a 9000 ton freighter with an all Liverpool crew. Later I persued an engineering career in automotive Research and Development in project management working with engineers amoungst many scientists and academics.
For 17 years until 2017 I ran a B&B with Self catering where such a variety of people from all over the world stayed, with many actors performing at our famous Malvern Theatres proved an added education.
It is that whole mix of people and characters throughout my life of every nationality and colour I've mixed with, which helped to re-inforce my artwork and writing interests.
Such is the passion I put into my works I would like to think one day my artworks will be appreciated as my contribution to the wonderful heritage of Liverpool.