I have no formal training in art, other than through an Art & Craft 'A' Level at school. However, as a teenager I had two main hobbies: art and astronomy. I made a decision at school to attempt to pursue my scientify rather than my artisitic, interests, and so it was after a gap of nearly 25 years when I completed another painting around 2012.
In the intervening 25 years, or so, I gained a BSc (Hons) 1st in Astronomy from University College, London, and then after year out working for Westland Helicopters, a PhD in Astronomy at Cambridge University. It was after two post-doctoral appointments that I decided to leave astronomy and become a computer programmer of bank software. It only took four years (well actually a lot less), to decide that this was not for me! Virtually all my University friends had left the Cambridge area, and so we (as I now had a wife and two children) decided it was time to get back to the West Country and the locale of both our families.
My wife was less disillusioned with her career, and so I pursuaded my wife that after re-locating I would look after the children. That was in late 2004, and so it was still another 8 years, and another child, that I would re-discover my interest in art. After the third child started school I gradually found time to see if I still had an interest and any ability with art.
Intially I was frustrated with the slow drying time of oils and decided to try acrylic paints. As well as drying much faster, I found they could give very flat opaque colour or transparency, depending on dilution and opacity of the pigment in question, paricularly aided by the much more informative labelling (especially from America manufacturers) than was typically, or historically, found on oil paints. I was also impressed with the seemingly larger array of modern colours, and so I begain a series of paints where I was simply investigating some aspect of the characteristics, usually in paintings of my children.
In my first large painting, I utilised the vibrancy of the modern colours in a painting of water reflections in a canal boat roof. This painting was based on a photograph I had taken while on narrow boat holiday with the family around the Warwickshire Ring. I had manipulated the colours on the computer to find an image which interested me and I thought would be an interesting and appropriate subject for the acrylics.
Pleased with that result I then thought to try something more challenging. I decided to try a photograph I had taken of my eldest son playing in a plastic ("Zorb") ball while we were visiting the Badminton Horse trials with friends. I wanted to see how successfully I could reproduce the effect of the water ripples and transparent plastic. Again, I was pleased with the results and was having more success with the techincal aspects of painting than I thought I should afer a fallow period of 25 years.
Having used acrylic marker pens for some of the finer details in the previous paintings, but I had noted that they seemed to give particular opaque and flat blocking of colour. It occurred to me that they might be able to give a similar effect to that produced by Andy Warhol in his silk-screen acrylic paintings (i.e. of Marilyn Monroe). I decided I would try to paint my youngest son holding a Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver (from a photograph I had taken while we were visitng the Dr. Who Exhibition in Cardiff). However, early in the process I became frustrated with the results and instead tried ‘dotting’ with the markers. Gradually I became fascinated by the ability to generate very subtle colour and tonal effects simply through placing dots, that I extended this process to the whole painting.
David was one of the 10 artists in the BBC's "The Big Painting Challenge" on BBC in 2017.