In 1987, after my divorce I knew that seven years hence I would move back to the UK/Europe. Christie would have entered university and Jarrod would be 28. As it transpired, Christie spent her third year studying in Paris.
Those seven years were extremely full. Along with getting water and heat into the studio I completed two series of large paintings, and several corporate murals. I also continued to give workshops.
Initially I was planning on returning to Cornwall, a place where I spent time as a child, or France, a country I have always loved, but then my cousin, Lyn came to visit and suggested that I look at Crickhowell, Wales where she her family had recently moved.
When I visited Crickhowell – I fell in love with the place.
In the spring of 1993, aged 47, I sold or gave away all my belongings….and moved to Crickhowell, which was to become The Magical Town of Crickadoon. I remember arriving with two suit cases and several large oil paintings rolled into a huge tube.
For the first six months, until I managed to get a place of my own, my cousin and her family and aunt and uncle, who had retired to the area, took me under their wing – something I will always be grateful for.
My day 5 photograph show me with my cousins Lyn and Michael. It is taken on what is called The Heads of the Valley, a place that overlooks the beautiful Usk Valley where Crickhowell sits. A very happy moment.
Another choice at that time was to stop driving. In the States I sometimes felt as if I had a car attached to my body. Anyone who has driven with me will know that I am not the most confident of drivers:) It was another life changing decision. To this day, 22 years on, I have not been behind the wheel of a car….
Every day I walked with my cousin’s dog Bumble, a beautiful golden labrador. It was through her that I met the people of Crickhowell.
When I was commissioned to paint two large panels for the ancient church of St. Edmund’s, Bumble was added. As is the case with much of my work, the panels are full of symbolic meaning.
This rather grainy photograph, shows me and my friend Cyma Horowitz, who was visiting from New York, with the panels.
Cyma and other friends from the States visited me on many occasions –
Through my cousin, who is a superb interior designer, I received commissions for corporate murals in Wales and other parts of the UK. I also exhibited in the UK and France along with giving workshops.
After the first two years, I began to commute two or three times a year to the States where I gave workshops, painted water-colour portraits and kept close ties with family and friends.
On Christmas Eve, 1996, during a huge storm, a little cat came to me….I named her Christeve. Far too long a story to write here, but Christeve the Cat became my muse, and before I left The Magical Town of Crickadoon, I included her into both church panels.
The actual cottage where Christeve the Cat came to me.
Christeve the Cat after she took possession of the cottage and me…….
October 2005, I moved to London, where i have been based for the past ten years. I don’t try to predict the future, rather live each day as it comes…..I do know that none of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out.
For me it’s all about trusting in the unseen, the intangible and trying to make the most of every fleeting moment.
I leave you with the 16th century bridge which crosses the River Usk – at the Magical Town of Crickadoon. The Church spire in the photograph is where the two panels can be found.