Thank you for visiting to have a look at my information.
My portfolio varies from contemporary, work to prints and pastels to watercolour, and the variety in no small way reflects my background. I trained as an Architect and ran a successful practice (Derek Hicks & Thew) in Liverpool for many years. My art in those days was architectural perspectives and holiday watercolours and sketches.
In 2005 I forsook the world of architecture and undertook a Fine Art degree at John Moores University in Liverpool. I loved every minute of being a mature student, talking and making art all day and was rewarded with a First Class Honours degree.
Following qualification I travelled to Austria for a show of some of my contemporary art and had exhibitions in London, the North-West and a residency in one of Liverpool’s cutting edge gallery/studios.
However as time has progressed I have returned to my core skills of drawing, watercolour and print-work . I converted the garage at home into a studio to create some space to accommodate the mass of work I was accumulating!
I started teaching watercolour painting to adults looking to take up art as a retirement hobby (or refine a latent skill) I no longer run large classes or group classes but still happy to undertake one on one (or two) lessons for those starting out and as a gift or similar. I also take group classes for local societies and art groups and do demonstrations and workshop days for art societies.
2014 I was shortlisted as “Artist of the Year” by the “Artists and Illustrators journal” for my picture “Cobi’s Garden”, and enjoyed the prestige of exhibiting in London’s Mall Galleries. I have also been featured in “Cheshire Life” magazine and appeared as contestant on the B.B.C. programme “Home is Where the Art Is”
I take part in the Wirral Open Studios Tour each Year and regularly exhibit in local galleries, with Local Art Societies and at the Williamson Gallery with Wirral Arts Society and in the Wirral Open Exhibitions. I am also planning to be a visiting tutor for an art holiday company in the Algarve in 2020, so watch this space on that one!
I am a committed “urban sketcher” and never happier and more content than when I am out and about with my sketchbook. I started “Wirral Urban Sketchers ” in June 2016 . The group meets on the last Sunday of each month. No subs, no register just a band of friends meeting up to sketch together and chat about our work. We regularly get over 50 at the meetings and now have 350+ “Friends” for our page on facebook.
I have included a selection of my sketchbook work in the gallery as I think it is there you will see some of my most relaxed and natural work.
My thoughts about the “direction” I should take with my Art fluctuate daily. Of late I have returned to more contemporary work attempting to arrive at an approach to a radical use of watercolour that allows for the beauty of spontaneous and happy accidents that can only be achieved with this medium.
This has led me not forward but backwards, many centuries to 10th century Chinese painting and especially Liang Kai (often called Madman Liang) who I think was light years ahead of the contemporary “isms” of the 19th and 20th centuries with his approach to painting. His objective was to evoke a subject or atmosphere with a minimum use of detail. This required “a profound mastery of painting technique and perfect concentration” but also allowed for the beauty of accidental effects. The more I look into this, the more I want to know…… watch this space!
I am also revisiting all my “Horizon Project” work as I have realised I have amassed quite a body of pictorial work: print, paint and line as well as the collection of quotes, video and associated works. I feel I need to pull it all together for either an exhibition, book or video.
Of all this, one thing I am sure of , is that there is nothing in this world that I would rather be doing and I am so lucky for that reason!
If you are in the area please pop in to see the studio, have a cuppa and enjoy a chat about art the universe and everything 🙂
Education and Qualifications.
B.A. Hons Architecture. Liverpool University 1974.
B.Arch. Hons Architecture. Liverpool University 1978.
B.A. Hons Fine Art. (First Class). Liverpool John Moores University 2009.
Qualified Access consultant 1999 N.R.A.C. (advising on the adaptation of buildings and other issues for people with disabilities)
Background Professional Experience
1974-2006 Architect working in Public and Private Practice
1985 Senior Partner The Derek Hicks & Thew Architectural Practice.
2004 The Derek Hicks and Thew Partnership Ltd merged with Nightingale Associates
2004 Appointed Managing Director of the Liverpool office , an Executive Director of Nightingale Associates, and Group Marketing Director North of England.
April 2006 Left Architectural Practice in order to pursue career as an artist.
October 2006 Having worked for a while as a watercolour artist decided there was potentially far more to the world of art and gained a place as a mature student at John Moores University School of Art Liverpool in order to learn about the practice of contemporary art.
Dissertation topic; The Conservation of Contemporary and Conceptual art.
June 2009 qualified with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art.
Art Exhibitions and Successes
Three’s Company Exhibition May 2004 Dee fine Arts Gallery Wirral
Regional Winner and Finalist in the Lloyds/ T.S.B. National Competition in 2007 exhibition in London. Lloyds T.S.B. purchased work.
Artist in residence 2007 Met Quarter (shopping mall) Liverpool
Work selected for the Eye Fund Art exhibition Birkenhead 2009
“Triple Echo” 2009 work selected for a travelling exhibition of printworks shown at venues including; University of Central Lancs’, J.M.U.Liverpool, Wirral Metropolitan College.
Upton Hall School, Wirral. July 2009. Installation work selected for exhibition at art festival in addition to mentoring sixth form students
International Exhibition at Palais T&T, Thun Bregenz Austria
October 3 –November 8 2009. 3 person show entitled
“The significance of the previous group should be considered in the negative” Invited as part of Bregenz’ “Zur Zeit” the best of work from European Cities
Oct. 2009 Residency at “Unit 4” Art & Architecture Studio. An experimental Studio at “Static Gallery”. A collaboration between Architecture & Fine Art students & practitioners and International Artists leading up to the 2010 Biennial funded by J.M.U. and the R.I.B.A.
Oct. 2009 Appointed as a Creative Practitioner by “Curious Minds” (part of the Creative Partnerships Programme). A practitioner works in partnership with schools to produce creative learning projects in association with Teachers
Nov. 2009 Appointed as a Board member of the “Independents” Biennial Liverpool
March. 2010 “Triple Vision” Exhibition (with 2 others) Artists Club Liverpool.
Oct. 2010 Wirral Open Williamson Art Gallery
Nov. 2010 Exhibition at Seagrass studios Hoylake
2011 work in exhibitions at Williamson art gallery, Wirral society of Arts and Wirral council exhibitions
2012-15 Exhibiting with: Local Art Exhibitions, Heswall Arts festival, Festival of Firsts Wirral. Wirral open studios Tour. Independants Biennial, Liverpool. Acorn Gallery.
2014 Shortlisted in the “Artist of the Year” competition organised by the “Artists and Illustrators” magazine (from over 3000 entrants)
Nov. 2014 Elected as Chairperson Wirral Society of Arts
2015 Exhibited, Mall Galleries London.
March 2015/16/17. Wirral Open Williamson Art Gallery.
September 2014/15/16/17/18. “Open” and “Closed” exhibitions with Wirral Society of Arts
June 2013/14/15/16/18Wirral Open Studios Tour.
2011-present teaching and tutoring Watercolour Painting
From studio in Meols. Single class of six at first – however through word of mouth and recommendation, began extra sessions building up to current (Feb. 2015) number of five classes a week, four in studio (up to 6 people) and one at the local community centre (up to 12 people). Teaching all watercolour skills to beginners, those seeking to refine existing skills, and people choosing art as a retirement hobby. Now over thirty people a week. In addition to taking groups of people out over the summer on sketching and painting days.
2013 -present Demonstrations , workshops and classes for art societies including Heswall. Neston, Irby and Churchtown groups, and various other art societies
2015 joined Liverpool Urban sketchers/ Wirral Open Studios Tour participant/ accepted submissions for Wirral Open and the W.S.A. exhibitions/ commissioned work views of Wallasey Golf Club
2015 Teaching on the Cruise ship “Celebrity Reflection” transatlantic crossing 18 day trip classes of over 60!
July 2016 Founded Wirral Urban Sketchers. free to join collective of artists both professional and amateur who meet regularly on the last Sunday of every month to sketch and draw.
2017, Exhibited Wirral Open, (Williamson Art Gallery), / Deeside Arts Group Exhibition, /Seagrass Studios Open Art Competition, /Wirral Society of Arts Open exhibition. /Wallasey Golf club commission to paint views of Course.
2018, Exhibited: Wirral Open. /Wirral Society of Arts exhibition. /Participated Wirral Open Studios Tour./ Featured artist “Once upon a Tide” Gallery, New Brighton.
Continuing with demonstrations for art groups, /Heswall, / Neston, /Hoylake, / W.I. Heswall.
“One on one” art classes, and commissions
2018 Wirral Urban Sketching group now plus 250 on Facebook regularly attracting over 40 participants to get-togethers.
2019 Contestant on B.B.C. programme “Home is where the Art is”, Featured in “Cheshire Life” magazine May edition. Pictures in “Williamson Open Exhibition” run by Wirral B.C.
Member of the following Societies and Clubs
Founding member, Wirral Urban Sketchers
Liverpool Urban Sketchers
Wirral Society of Arts (past Chairman and committee member.)
Deeside Arts Group
Riverside Players Amateur Dramatic Society
Hillbark Players Amateur Dramatic Shakespeare Players