Why I Paint

I paint because I want to create color interpretations of Britain's steam railways that are now only seen in black and white photographs.  I paint to:

  • Capture railway scenes that my grandparents, parents and relatives might have seen.

  • Inject personal touches where appropriate.

  • Feel as though I am actually there, allowing my gaze to look all over my view, noticing details wherever I look.

I paint scenes set primarily in the 1920s and 30's because: 

  • They contain the best of Victorian and Edwardian railway locomotive, rolling stock and architectural designs.

  • I find the new railway designs of the 1920s and 1930s paricularly graceful and appealing.

  • I think the colors of those times were particularly rich in an understated way.

I paint because the work of past and present artists, writers and craftsmen inspires me:

  • Railway artists including: - Victor K. Welch, Jack Hill, Terence Cuneo, George F. Heiron, Don Breckon, Malcolm Root and Philip Hawkins.

  • Railway Photographers including: - Eric Treacy, Gordon Hepburn and Henry Casserley are prominent.

  • Writers, editors, archivists and publishers who use great images in railway books and magazines including: - Ian Allan, Brian Stephenson, Brian Haresnape, David Jenkinson, Siegfried Becket and George Dow.

  • Ready-to-run model railway manufacturers such as Bachmann Branchlines and Hornby.

  • Model railway kit-building specialists, which includes a great friend, John J. Prescott.

I paint to improve my painting method so that each succeeding painting looks even more "right" at every level.

  • I paint back to front, painting the details to place them before I paint the body of my subjects

  • I return to the details to make their size, shapes and colors the way I want them.

  • After the paint has dried, I look at the whole painting to see if I need to return to any area to improve the color balance, sharpen or improve the shape of a particular area or detail.

  • Such an inefficient painting process adds greatly to the texture of my paintings - They look "solid".

I paint because I have research tools available that give me a flavor of what the railways of the 1920s and 1930s really looked like:

  • Other artists' representations of the steam railway age.

  • The best of the few surviving (dufay) color railway photographs taken during the era, published by Atlantic Transport Publications in the book "The Big Four in Color, 1935 - 1950" written by the late, great David Jenkinson.

  • An authoritative presentation of the colors and liveries of the total railway scene of the era published by Ian Allan Ltd in the book "Railway Liveries, 1923 - 1947" written by the late, great Brian Haresnape.

  • The color-rich liveries of locomotive and rolling stock models in my collection.

All of this provides a never-ending source of inspiration for starting a new painting every year.