FROM ROUSSEAU’S JUNGLE TO THE RIVIERA DEI FIORI

As I may have previously

mentioned I remember writing down my first story at the age of twelve.The house where we lived then was hung in every room, passageway and staircase with prints of the Masters as well as many famous contemporary Artists.This was thanks to my father who had taken out a subscription that resulted in him being sent by post one print every month over a period of 3 years.The house was large, Tudor in style and belonged to the National Trust.The prints all the same size , as I recall roughly 40×50cm as diverse as Valcriox to Picasso, from Micheal Angelo to Munch, my father, once a marine painter himself opened my eyes to the world of art.

 

A Henri Rousseau Tropical Jungle scene hung at the foot of my bed. Staring into this before lights out and afterwards in the dim shades of the gathering night possibly encouraged my natural leaning towards the exotic.

Unlike Rousseau who famously

never left Paris, English born, although like him self taught, I have spent the larger part of my life in both Asia and the Pacific and I have always painted as well as continuing to write.

 

Some of my paintings I call inspirational portraits. They are not true portraits in the photographic likeness sense of the term but simply inspired by the transmission of sentiment I have seen in my subjects gaze. In the flowers which usually surround them or in my still life flower paintings themselves  I try to capture something of their hallucinogenic beauty, Orchids for example that seem to have an other worldly life, somewhere between plant and mysterious being.

To quote Henri Rousseau whose biography I recently discovered,

 

‘When I go into a glass house and see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me I enter into a dream’

In my case the glass I house I entered was at Kew at the age of four and this, I like to think that I remember, was also at my fathers instigation as well as in his company. Today after so very much time has passed I am still delighted to be surrounded by the strangeness of the plants here on the Riviera dei Fiori in Italy where I for the moment live.

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