AFTER A CHILDHOOD of fairly constant drawing and intermittent painting, some form of art education was inevitable. I hadn’t taken Art ‘A’ level at school and this was reflected in a rather slim portfolio, and rather than offering me the Art Foundation Course, Barnet College enrolled me into the BTEC Design course. This was slanted towards the Graphic Design industry and contained only a very little fine art training. I only stayed for a term, although my memories of that time suggest I was there for much longer. I took my ‘A’ level in Art as an extra course in the evenings and attended extra life drawing classes. All this activity served to bolster the portfolio and by the end of the year I had decided to apply for a Foundation course at Harrow School of Art.
That year in Harrow worked wonders for sparking my interest in and improving whatever talents I had for painting. Under the stern guidance of Sandy Sykes, Roy Rodgers (!) and others, I was urged to ‘forget about the cartooning’ and concentrate on my painting. Of course, I’m sure they said that sort of thing to everybody, but I decided to be flattered at the time by assuming that they thought I had talent. At least it was a spur. However, I never gave up cartoons and caricatures and they, along with graphic design, became my income lifeblood as soon as I left college. Painting swiftly became a distant memory.
My recent return to the artform, inspired both by visiting exhibitions of contemporary artists and by joining the Barnet Guild of Artists, is both refreshing and challenging as I feel that I am going through the motions of art school once again – exploring and experimenting in the hope of finding my ‘style’. The picture is a charcoal drawing of a fellow student from Harrow School of Art