I have always had a fascination for horses. Born in 1936 in the, then, country village of Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire, the main industries were granite quarrying, haulage and farming.
In 1939, when tractors were virtually impossible to obtain due to armaments taking precedence in manufacturing industries, farmers were reliant on horses for motive power, and the local quarry company used a large group of shire horses to move the wagon loads of stone. These were large and impressive animals with a wonderful, gentle nature. One of the handlers used to open the field gate, jump on to the back of one and they would trot happily down to the quarry.
When I started in art school, in 1986, I painted all the usual things - landscapes, seascapes and still life, etc. being tutored in all the mediums that give students a wide range of skills.
After leaving art school in 1992, I attended two WEA courses with John Patchett, an English pastellist, who at that time was living in Adelaide, South Australia. I was instantly converted to using pastel as my favoured medium.
Early on in my career, I started painting horses. Taking photos at race tracks, country shows and anywhere else I could find them. My first efforts were a little disappointing but gradually I started to improve. Sketching from pictures in magazines and books, was one way I used to get the anatomy right.
St Patrick's Day Races, Broken Hill
In 1999 I moved to Victor Harbour, in South Australia where Clydesdales were used to pull the trams to Granite Island, over the 150 year old causeway, on the old broad gauge railway tracks, which were originally used by the trains taking cargo to the ships moored at the jetty, so once more horses became a feature of my life.
Carmen the Clydesdale, one of the horses used to pull trams at Victor Harbour