Living and working in the beautiful Peak District, I have built up a collection of illustrations and prints of iconic buildings and landmarks over the past few years. Each one is steeped in history and each one has a story to tell. I have a genuine interest in our heritage and an incessant need to understand (completely) my subject-matter. Consequently, through my research and collection of visual historical references, I have created the ‘Hidden Histories’ concept. Faced with the challenge of not only producing an accurate artwork of each building, I set myself the task of ‘building in’ the story of its history too. From list-making, researching and sourcing visual references, eventually I reach a ‘bar’ and the illustrating and layering begins. Gradually I start to construct the pastel drawing over black and white imagery to create the finished illustration.
As I apply the layers of pastel and pencil crayon, the Hidden Histories become concealed. In this way, I encourage the viewer to look deeper into the picture and cross-reference their own findings. This unique quality adds a new depth to the illustration and has proved popular with my customers and followers. By documenting and writing up the Hidden Histories, customers can take away the story as an added feature packaged with the illustration.
Having built up a collection of Derbyshire illustrations, my fascination with historical stories have taken me further afield. On one such occasion, to The Royal Albert Hall, London. This finished piece and the story behind its creation have been received with enthusiasm and, together with work in progress images, been published by The Royal Albert Hall on their website. Having recently met the retail manager there, I am now looking forward to seeing my prints and cards in their shop.
Personal commissions have also permitted me a privileged insight into the stories behind other less public places. I have drawn family homes, landscapes, holiday homes, wedding and special occasion venues and even student homes. Entry into the prestigious Buxton Spa Prize Open Competition over four consecutive years has seen my work awarded three times. The involvement with this competition has been inspiring, with diverse collections of work by artists from all over the country, and all illustrating the beauty of our Spa Town of Buxton, itself so rich in history.
With every building I enter a potential Hidden Histories artwork, the potential for expanding my business is on-going.