I dedicate these pages to the memory of Trevor Hoskins. For to encourage me only with his kind words Trevor did help Me.
THE FIRST TEN YEARS AND ON TO TWENTY FIVE ….1986 MAY EXHIBITION LLANTARNAM GRANGE ARTS CENTRE WITH SUPPORT OF WELSH ARTS COUNCIL.
My Thoughts of the years now in the distant past when for the first time I took up brushes and paint. With a friend Mike Novell. Mike also worked with me as my craftsman mate. We were at the Royal Albert in town, taking the waters of a few pints of bass. We had finished our early six am till two PM work shift in giant Steel Works of LLanwern. Hot Mill Department. An hour or two later we were standing outside the Royal Albert after being refreshed and much the worse from after effects of the potent bass. My thoughts were drifting and I Wondered what I could do with the rest of my life. I was forty nine years old and getting a bit old for the active hobby of sub aqua diving. My thoughts were about of always having that desire to paint. I possessed a few tubes of paint. Which had been purchased by my brother Ken. I was clearing up after My Father had passed away, on Sunday 23 November 1973. They had been discarded by my brother Ken at my fathers house at Maesglas Avenue. My brother Ken. Although not a painter. Had attempted to paint. Ken years later suffered a stroke and was a patient at The Cheshire home at Caerleon. When at the Cheshire home he once again started to paint a little, and was successful at winning an award for his painting. Lady Wilson presented him with the award for disabled people at the Westminster Abbey. Surely there lay some lurking hidden talent that if it could have been encouraged to flourish and bloom earlier. May be we would have seen some expression of real value for posterity.
I myself decided to make use of the tubes of paint. But never the less my inspiration to try my hand at the art of painting. I painted a few abortions at the first attempts and went on to improve with time. I had earlier when in service with the British Army. Painted the signs on the vehicles and when working in the Garrison Theatre Painted murals on the walls. On leaving the Army in 1949 by discharge by purchase for sixty pounds. Worked rough painting of Railway bridges and Railway stations. Perhaps after seeing my work you may think it a pity I did not stay rough Painting. Anyway to supplement those paint items. Aided With the Dutch courage of the Bass in my mind. I went into an art shop and bought a few brushes and some more tubes of paint. Knowing nothing about art or colour. And not having a very good education to aid myself. My Circumstance being on my own head I was eager to start work. I retired from school at the age of Thirteen. And my conventional year out I spent Working on a farm on Tredegar estate of the then Lord of Tredegar. And so later on in life with no formal art training. I had no other choice but try to teach myself to paint. And decided to copy twenty or so great paintings.
On writing to the keeper of art at Newport Museum and art Gallery. Rodger Cuksey,on his advice. I joined the Newport Art Society. Attending one evening session of criticism of members work. The Critic was the late Trevor Hoskins. Artist and scene painter at the Dolman Theatre Newport – I had taken along the two of my pastiches. One was the Haywain by John Constable and the Capture of Portobello by G. Chambers. Large paintings on canvas. Trevor admired the work. In kind nice way told me if I could attempt to paint work like this to do my own work. And not copy others work. Pondering and learning from his advice. I struggled with problems. Read many books on the History of art. By Gombritch and Art and Illusion. Art School by Colin Saxton. Art school training methods. Also on colour by the painter and teacher Paul Klee. I taught myself the rudiments of perspective. It was much harder on My own to learn and the learning process is much slower, if not mind boggling. I tried not to be influenced by the aesthetic and chocolate box or selling drive of some artists. Neither did I want my quest for primitive style of my own to be lost by the learning process. I was always battling in mind against the way to paint.
The styles of the old masters the detail and blending Glazes and brushed out work, or modern painting. I decided it would be from the mind not the end of the brush.
Taken from a chance remark the late Trevor Hoskins once made: I believe, man is like a pebble in a mountain stream,
We brush against each other on our journey to the sea, and we round of each others corners and mould just you and me–learning all the time.— In not concerning too much about my technique
I know these paintings good or bad would not have been achieved had I not been concerned, and also heeded those who tried to help me. I am indebted to the very very Rev Alan Jenkins who gave me the first opportunity to exhibit my work.
And also the one obese lady. That was serving tea from that memorable first one artist exhibition at the Flower festival at the Vicarage LLanarth. And whose remarks about her husband whom were a builder, and he would not lay bricks like those in one of paintings,and she did not like any of Um! And to crown it all a cat done its business on the only one I did later sell. The light was not very good in the room for painting display. Also those who wished to view the paintings could not get near for tables and tea drinkers. And I found that I did not like any of them either. And after sneaking them out and in the process of packing them away after the exhibition. When another of the lady Church helpers remarked. Oh! they don’t look so bad in the light.But alas it was only a back drop for a charitable occasion. Determined to paint and express all the ideas and feelings to paint what I want. I try to depict working people and not the drossed up images of life. It is for you to give the finale verdict and enjoyment if any from my work. I have tried my best I cannot do any more than that.