I continued to paint when and where ever I could, sheds, spare rooms, a van, a summer in a caravan, cold outbuildings, but mainly just out in the fields.
Life took me to Dorset and Devon and here I really started to connect with the landscape.
Fourth influence has to be Dorset and Devon, just by the border of the counties is a truly sweet spot. I spent so many hours with my first Staffie "Travis" exploring the woodland, forests, the coastline, rivers and Combes. Without doubt some of the happiest times of my life.
I decided to start investigating local classes and galleries to see if I could soak up some of their knowledge and influences. Well, what can I say, it seems being self taught artist has the same label as being Dyslexic.
Back to the beginning again, all the old bad feelings and negative thoughts, it was like being back at school again, with all the usual suspects.
How crazy that as an adult I had once entered the world of the well educated bullies, this reminded me of the bad old days so I ran for the hills, quite literally.
This when a Mr Alvin Crawshaw came into my life, my fifth influence and quite a major one.
Mr Crawshaw was an amazingly talented , traditional impressionistic water colourist. I hope I got that right, well whatever the label his painting to me at the time was quietly saying what I wanted to say.
I must mention for those old and unfortunate enough to know Mr Crawshaw that I did not meet him.
He was a how to master on video. I use to get the videos from the local library and I and Mr Crawshaw spent a rather intense year together.
I need to say at this point that I didn't have the luxury of learning about the great masters of art or the thought process and history of art, so it was all quite new to me.
Thank goodness I had an inherent understanding of perspective, form, values and colour.