I was born in Barnsley in 1962 and am based in the South Pennines. I paint animals and people in pastels, pastel pencil and charcoal on a sanded paper. My aim is for a portrait to look realistic, yet still have that painterly feel to it. I want you to feel the passion in the painting, creating a narrative about all their happy memories, capturing the unique individual characteristics of the subject.
My process starts by building layers up initially with a dark hard pastel, adding details with soft pastels, pastel pencils and charcoal pencils. Aerial perspective plays a big part when creating depth in a portrait – concentrating on the nose, then the eyes and putting less detail as I work back to the ears and the back of the head.
I use a butterfly effect flitting from one place to another, which allows me to concentrate for short periods, comparing and contrasting different tones. Returning to an area can highlight changes that may need to be made.
I greatly admire the work of the NHS in these exceptional times and have produced seven portraits for the ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes initiative’.
My latest project is called ‘Heroes of Shepley’ – painting portraits of people who have kept my village going throughout the pandemic. Each recipient of a free portrait gets to nominate the next hero.