It was probably around 1991. I’m a 10 year old kid, on another weekend outing to The Lakes with my father. As always we headed to the waters edge in Keswick. I’d feed the ducks while my dad would stand and watch. I’d explore a little, as I often did, taking in my surroundings, the noise of the birds and the children’s fearful screams of being chased by yet another goose after more free food.
This day though was different. I sat a while on the jetty’s edge, watching the rowing boats going out with tourists, and I remember it clearly, amongst the many trips we’d have there. A small A5 sketchbook and set of Derwent Colouring pencils. Sitting alone on the wooden pathway. I couldn’t see anyone who looked like they may own them but I stared at it a while trying to pluck up the courage to look in it. Fearful of being told off by its owner for being nosy, but I waited a while just incase. My curiosity though getting the better of me, probably only five minutes in and I picked it up and browsed the pages filled with gentle studies of water and fells.
I felt this incredible sense of that’s what I want to be. I want to do that. I want to grow up to be the type of person that sits in the lakes and sketches views. I want to be an artist.
I’m thirty years on from that day, but writing about it now, I can still see that inquisitive kid, full of wonder at what could be. I can still feel the emotion behind that moment, although I certainly wasn’t self aware enough to realise it at the time, I am now. I see how everything I’ve been through in my life has brought me to this point, and only just, heading into my fortieth year am I able to sit proudly and say, I did it. I did it in my terms too, in my own way.
As an Artist, I want to create work that speaks to not only me but others too. That is soul led and full of the emotions I feel when out in the fells. Just like that day as a 10 year old browsing another’s work. It gave me my first glimpse of
what could be.
The life long fascination with the way humans are connected to nature. That we are indeed part of this beautiful planet, and feel things on a deeper level than we accept sometimes. My work is an expression of that. It’s inspired by the sense of freedom I get when I’m out on a hike, the stillness of an early morning by the water or the exhilaration of the Cumbrian weather in full force when you reach the summit of a wainwright.
I never tire of driving those same roads. The steep drive up Kirkstone Pass watching the clouds sweep in over red screes or finding you’re the first one to the bay by Ullswater and get to enjoy that view alone, for just a moment before the families appear and the tourists take that space, ready for their time to take a little bit of what the Lake has to offer. Over the years it’s built up a bucket load of inspiration in me, and is forever my go to place to breathe.
I owe my desire to be an artist to that sketchbook on the Jetty. Although I’m pretty sure my instinct to be one was always there, and would still be regardless, yet that pivotal moment back in 1991 I’m grateful for. It’s that one point I go back to often, to remind myself of how art could make someone feel things, to explain emotions that they cant find the words for and evoke a memory of a time well spent, in the mountains & wilds of our beautiful National Park.
Sketchbook on the Jetty.
Feather & Wild