Landscapes of Labour
Before I lost my heart to art I was going to be an engineer like my father. My Dad made electricity. He ran a power station which supplied the juice for the London Underground. Occasionally, usually on a Sunday, he would take me to work with him. This was a big thrill. We would get off the train at Wembley Park, go down the slope at the end of the platform and then walk beside the tracks to Neasden power station.
I found it all fascinating, from the rotating drum which emptied the coal from the railway trucks to the shiny dials of the control room, from the chemical lab where incoming coal was analysed to the huge green Parson's steam turbines which made the electricity.
It was a hard decision but, having got the necessary O levels in physics, chemistry and maths, I changed horses and saddled up for a life in the arts.
Something however stayed with me - a love of the grimy world of industry. On leaving Durham University I was lucky enough to get a year's placement at Beamish museum where I really got a chance to understand industrial archeology. Beamish introduced me to coal mining and gave me the opportunity to travel around the North East just as the pits, the coking plants and the rail yards were disappearing.
And now, every so often, I spend a few days working on industrial subjects. To me they are as beautiful and dramatic as any natural landscape. They come wreathed in smoke, or as ruins as eloquent as any Yorkshire abbey.
Among my favourite subjects are the steel works at Redcar, the bridges over the Tees and Tyne and (a nod to my London roots) the huge brick edifice of Battersea power station.
The three paintings here are, from top to bottom, Battersea, Redcar and the pylons of the National Grid.
If you would like to see some more I've put up a page of my industrial pictures on my website. CLICK HERE for a visit.
There are also usually a few available at The Masham Gallery. CLICK HERE to visit their site.
I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed making them.
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