I love being an artist, I have always loved the idea that I can create something whilst enjoying the process and then someone pays me money and then hangs it on their wall, I still get a buzz from that.
Back in early 2004 I was diagnosed with CLL (chronic lymphatic leukaemia) My consultant advised me that I would be unable to continue as logistics manager for Framptons Ltd. Framptons created the role of special project manager for me, I will always be indebted to them as it helped having something to get out of bed for, I know it helped my longevity.
One of the early projects I was involved in was putting sheep on Cannardís Grave roundabout. The sculptor was Jeff Body, who became a good friend. Jeff knew I painted so suggested we did an exhibition together. We did, it was amazing, it started me painting some of the ideas that floated through my mind.
My health was not so bad, I had chemo every 12 to18 months and I managed to do quite a lot, had a few blips with fairly regular stays in hospital.
Meanwhile Iím painting with a vengeance, I have pieces accepted into the open at the RWA, Victoria gallery, Bath. The Atkinson Gallery at Millfield and Greenham Arts Reading where I won the publics choice. I also exhibited at Landmark art fair in Teddington, Reading Contemporary Art Fair and Windsor Contemporary Art Fair.
I have half a dozen pictures on permanent at the Woolpack in Sutton Veny.
My health took a turn for the worse in 2014, the CLL lowers your immune system so things that we all accept we will get like a cold etc. play havoc with me. As I already have several problems with my chest CLL makes it harder to clear, numerous courses of antibiotics donít work, so even though I have a chest infection there is no option but to start a course of Chemo, the plan is a course once a month for six months, in the end we did five months, it was the most hideous chemo Iíd done, the problems with gall bladder, a hellish month with that, then in October had to have my appendix out, I have about 12 ops to remove growths from my face and hands, about 75% cancerous. I am a fan and a half of the NHS without them I wouldnít be here. I decided with great sadness it was now time to retire from Framptons Ltd.
I did an exhibition in the Royal United Hospital and painted a load of pictures based loosely on my life, I wanted to do something as a tribute to my friends, I struggled initially to come up with something but in the end I came up with hearts.
I am still painting but not as much as now Iím unable to do art fairs it seems pointless painting just to put them in my garage, I do give a few to charities, but thatís about it at the moment.