I am constantly surrounded by potential ideas and inspirations for the next coming painting. I now live and work in the village of Burscough Bridge in West Lancashire which is surrounded by endless fields of cows, sheep and horses. We always head for the coast or the hills whenever we holiday or take days out. A great source of inspiration comes from the nearby Lake District where I see the warmth and humour of the North - a spectacular mountain view can be softened by a washing line of the week's underpants and bras! The Lake District in particular is a rich hunting ground for my ideas - bleak and barren landscapes broken by trees, gnarled and twisted by the wind.
Scotland, Ireland's west coast, and Cornwall have also influenced me over the years. A particular favourite area of mine is the Tweed valley in Southern Scotland, it is as beautiful, unspoilt and dramatic as the Lake District, but without the visitor and un-commercialised too. The solitude and raw beauty here is most apparent at dawn and when dusk is approaching - when the wind whispers and birds call to signal the start and end of the day.
I love the humour of birds congregating in huge numbers - sometimes on a telegraph wire or a tree - and yet go unnoticed by most people passing by. I imagine that they must really like each other to hang around together so much. I think the humour of my childhood comics is sometimes evident. I don't want my paintings to be too serious and would even like to make the viewer smile a little bit. A completed work will often give me a feeling of deja-vu. It's as if I've visited the view before, perhaps I have and it has simply faded from my memory.
My work has been likened to the American artist Eyvind Earle - like him, I am fascinated by the shapes of shadows, particularly in the twilight of the day when they become elongated and stretch the view into the distance. This is why the cropping of my finished painting is important to me too. If I can somehow draw the viewer in, it will leave them wondering what lies just outside the view of the painting.