I was looking at some of my early paintings for cataloging and came across this.Guess what - I don't think it's half bad...ah the vanity of the man I hear you say! But humour me please.
In 1999 I had fallen from a ladder and badly injured both knees. At first I thought my life was over, especially as I had always been such an active person. While passing time between operations my wife encouraged me to have a go at painting - she bought me the basic watercolour kit and set me on my way. Like so many before and since I soon became hooked! Once I got over my initial reluctance to try something new I became engrossed in learning and trying out various watercolour techniques.
John Constable once said that a self taught artist must have had a poor teacher...think about it. But I pored over 'teach yourself' books by the score and at that particular time there were several programmes on the TV - 'Watercolour Challenge', 'A Brush with Ashley (Jackson)' ,'Painting with the Crawshaws' and 'Awash with colour by Dermot Cavanagh' - so I could see practical applications of the materiel I was reading about. Gradually I developed my own way of painting and after a lot more encouragement I decided to try my luck as a 'professional' painter in February 2003. This was my first commission, one of a pair of hotels owned by the same man and I took a long, long time over both of them. Up to then I hadn't done any paintings of buildings so I was pleased how they turned out. The first one was accepted straight away but I remember that this one caused some controversy...the owner couldn't decide whether I had made it a little bit dilapidated rather than the warm, inviting hostelry he was trying to portray!
Looking at this now I have to agree with him, though at the time I was a little bit miffed at the money renegotiation!
Anyway I learned a lot of lessons about commissions that have profited me ever since so it turned out all right in the end.....and I actually like the painting and its rather seedy,rundown appearance!