Up to this point, my main career has been journalism and, for 27 years, I worked as a news sub-editor on the London Evening Standard.
A large part of my life has been spent in newsrooms; rushing towards deadlines, juggling a number of different decisions, and often making late changes against a background of noise and urgency.
Throughout all this time, I’ve had a second passion: art. Specifically, painting. It has always called to me and made me question my primary choice of career.
When I was younger I settled on a degree that was both art and English because I couldn’t decide at that time between the two fields and I have see-sawed ever since, trying my best to satisfy my interest in each.
Now I feel the balance favouring art and, in truth, maybe it has been that way all along. The centre of this focus is an external room at the bottom of my garden. It has been variously described by my family as a shed or man cave, being constructed from wood and having as it does the essentials for relaxation such as somewhere to sprawl out and listen to music. But I prefer to call it a studio or, grandly, the art house.
The latter invokes a certain cinematic experience. But my art house doesn’t screen movies with subtitles over French dialogue, nor does it feature quirky characters or indie music soundtracks. David Lynch will not be trying to subvert the cosy image of small-town USA, Nicolas Cage won’t express the merits of his snakeskin jacket and Jean-Luc Godard will not jump-edit its contents to free-form jazz. Which in some ways is a shame, because I do like all that stuff. No, this is just the place where I do my art - at the bottom of the garden.
This blog is the story of that art, and any similarity to The Seventh Seal is purely coincidental.