I was born and grew up in London. During the 1950’s I spent a lot of time listening to stories my mother told me about her World War 2 economic struggles. In later years these stories gave me inspiration to paint what I imagined was the working class experience during the 1940’sand also my own childhood memories from he 1950’s.
In thinking how to convey these struggles and social conditions, I searched old family and other archival photos, looking mostly for a sense of community amongst the subjects. I also wanted my paintings to have a vagueness about them, so that besides having a memory-like quality, I might invite the viewer to insert his or her own family memory into the portrait.
I sometimes fused two and three old photo images to form a completely different narrative. As I paint, sometimes other personal psychological meanings come to mind. For example, in ‘Keep Left’, with the women in the foreground and men in the background, I celebrate feminine unity and their mutual protection.In my newer work, it is not so much a matter of a certain time period or class structure. I’m more interested in trying to convey the close bonds of friends and families in their everyday lives, still leaving the image open to the viewer’s own memory or interpretation.
I have always been attracted to monochromatic and muted color schemes and use these to build up the image with several washes, erasing and adding many times, blurring or fading those washes that become the least important or sometimes even the most important part of the final painting.