My connection with Bute began in 1975 with a casual weekend stay. My impression of the island was such that it started to change my outlook on life. Over the following years my wife and I returned to Bute more and more, and eventually we bought a wee holiday cottage.
I was born in Rochdale, Lancashire in 1944 and have always been very interested in art. At school I somehow always managed to come top of the art class lessons. I left school at 15 and my ambition was to become a sign writer. However circumstances meant this was not to be, and I became an apprentice Spring Maker. At 21 a fellow apprentice and I decided to leave the company and set up our own spring manufacturing facility. My time was totally directed to that business, but I always imagined some day I would make time available for my artistic 'bent'. After many struggles and a lot of hard work, we built a company of 150 employees and served a global market with high quality, precision springs.
When I was 52 I was able to sell my share of the company and take early retirement. It was an easy decision to move to 'paradise' full time. We now reside at Battery Place and the large spring featured on our front doorstep is in memory of what helped to make it all possible. This property comes with an old Coach House at the rear, and my good friend, Tony Kane, and I have converted part of it into a working space for our creative aspirations and we've called it "Springtide Private Studio".
About 14 years ago, along with an old friend I met on the first day I stepped foot on the island, I started taking aerial photographs. We did this by way of a 'kite' and a radio-controlled camera. After a few years I turned my attention to panoramic landscape photographs and produced a wide range of island scenes. I was able to produce framed pictures in various sizes in my studio at our previous residence 'Woodlands' on Canada Hill. Many of these can be seen at various hostelries around Bute.
Our new residence and an adjusted lifestyle has enabled me to return to my 'second teenhood' and my love of oil painting. Coupled with my passion for Bute and my extensive collection of photographs I am now producing an ongoing series of canvas Giclee prints taken from my original oils in 3 sizes.
All the aforementioned pictures can be viewed and are available at Springtide Private Studio (tel: 505410), and a selection at the Castle Gallery and at Picture Bute.
My motivation and reward for my time spent is to give pleasure to the beholder of the picture and, of course, to promote "Beautiful Bute".