From the age of seven I started winning school holiday art awards, then cameras, books – even a family holiday to Hawaii, culminating with my winning the 1974 Benson and Hedges National Art Award.
I have always loved oil painting, but when I was only 19 my studio apartment was burnt down because of a combination of my oils, solvents, a heater and an attempted murder between two visitors to my studio. The experience dramatically altered my view of painting and I decided to concentrate on quality, not quantity. When non-flammable media were created for oil paints I returned to oils for their flexibility, softness, richnesss and depth.
I have always been a realist/surrealist. My still-life paintings with plant roots showing the passage of time consumed me through the 1970”s and 80’s, and the last paintings in that series were exhibited at London’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2001.
While painting Shifting Sands, a mantelpiece in the sand dunes reminded me of a waka and inspired my first ‘Maori’ painting, About Time, 2006. These and my subsequent Maori paintings have the meditative inner spirit I sought, and are a joy to paint.