Early in my life as an aspiring artist I felt that perhaps my work was not very good and this lack of confidence led me to joining an ‘A’ level art group in Eastleigh in order to learn to paint “properly”.
I struggled at the beginning as I didn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as the tutor. This very quickly changed when the group was assigned a new tutor by the name of John Bowman. What a revelation this turned out to be.
For example, on one occasion homework consisted of watching black and white films with the sound muted so that we could just look at the images. This was powerful stuff.
In the early weeks in class, painting and drawing could only be done in black and white. This included a visit to Ocean Village where we had to look up at the inside of the roof to see all of the exposed pipework feeding services to the shopping area (this was 1989) and do small drawings in pencil.
On returning to class we had to enlarge these drawings and produce them in charcoal. This exercise taught us about the importance of tones in a picture.
Art comes from within
This was the start of a period of great encouragement that gave me the confidence to be free and to understand that art comes from within.
If I painted fingers that looked like sausages, that was okay – I just did my own thing.
Within a few months I had my own solo exhibition at the Tower Arts Centre in Winchester, all thanks to being set free by an understanding fellow artist and tutor.