I grew up in a grimy 1950s London. Trolleybuses, dusty scarlet, huge and with lamps of gold, loomed through foggy streets. Red and silver District line trains emerged from soot caked tunnels, raising sparks on the live rail. Beside the stood Thames the towering chimneys of the Fulham gas works and Lots Road power station shoving out grey smoke and white steam. And from Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston rusty, filthy, pre-war locomotives hissed and heaved their way out of town on shining rails.
I loved it all.
When I lived in Durham in the 1970s I travelled as a musician to the dying shipyard lands of Tyneside, Teeside and Wearside, as well as deep into the Durham coalfield. I became fascinated with industrial archaeology, photographing the fast disappearing pithead gears, coke ovens and incline railways of the North East. And, on leaving university, I was fortunate enough to work at Beamish Museum, which was set up to gather the relics of Northumbria’s industrial glory days before they disappeared.
I love the challenge of portraying the energy, the smoke, the classically unlovely lines of industrial landscapes. Some of my favourite subjects have been the wonderful Tees Transporter Bridge and the Redcar steelworks – a painting of which is currently on show at the Mercer Gallery as an exhibit in the Harrogate Open exhibition.
If you would like to learn to paint these amazing subjects I'm teaching a course at Artison in the near future:
Painting Industrial Landscapes
Friday, 23rd November 2012, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
A workshop in water-soluble media which turns away from traditional landscape to look at the wide range of industrial subjects which show a different side of Britain.
To book a place CLICK HERE.
The 2013 Artison programme is now online and includes several courses which I'll be teaching. To have a look CLICK HERE