I immersed myself as much as I could on the Island and painted where I could, with the help of Juan.
Juan was a local who also had a love for "his Lanzarote," we set up tours together and whilst the guests visited he took me to vantage points so I could paint. I cannot describe how my art changed, at the time it was just a natural process and I realised I was abstracting my own work, changing the perspective. It became more of how it made me feel; more of what I could actually see, rather than what I thought I could see.
This came as a shock to be honest and I doubted it at first but Juan and many of the locals loved what I was doing and this encouraged me to continue. "Manrique and the Island" are speaking to you Juan would insist.
I returned to the UK as eventually the call of Dorset was there once more. I moved to Portesham on the West Dorset coast and that is where Mr John Meaker entered my art, a big influence.
He inspired me to believe.
He ran life and still life classes at the studio in the picturesque village of Abbotsbury. I spent my best time there learning all about art and the masters. I was surrounded by books and like minded people and John was an incredibly generous man with his knowledge. He used it as a tool to help me and not a tool to hurt me.
We started with cubism, realism impressionism, but most it was abstraction that really cleared my mind.
This is the moment that it all starting making sense and was the beginning of a strong desire to learn more, soak up the knowledge. When I saw pictures of Picasso's work, I could see how Cesar Manrique had been influenced by him and the artists that he hung around with. Then I saw Van Gogh. I was just stunned by his use of colour and brush strokes.
I used to argue that abstract art was pointless and that a painting must look like the subject, how wrong was I. After all if you paint the same tree every day and do not start to abstract it, then surely your are not painting but merely copying. One thing I have learnt is art is all about learning, if you are not open then your are not allowing your art to grow. All art is great, it is an extension of us and to me this is the only thing that really makes sense. If you cannot see the beauty in Cezanne then you will no doubt see the beauty in Constable and if not Constable then Turner.
I hope that people see beauty in my work , not every artist can break the mould, but hopefully I can at least make people see that nature is what we all need to heal the everyday of our lives.