A Brief Biography (and a Word about Art)

I was born in the early forties in Lancashire, England, growing up in the north of the county before settling in Darwen and am entirely 'self-taught' as a painter. Clearly, at this stage, that amounts to much of a lifetime spent learning, but truth-told, my basic techniques and preferred media (oils/acrylics) have changed little in the intervening years, although the scope of subjects undertaken has broadened.

Whatever the subject, I'm an artist who prefers the old ways; old styles requiring skill (as much as one can muster), technique, effort, time and perseverance. Hence my own preference for the work of the great old masters and the consummate expertise they applied to their work, rather than their modern counterparts. While I tend to look for these qualities in the work of other artists, I can't claim that every painting I've undertaken has all these in the proportions necessary for complete mastery of the subject painted, as I am rarely, if ever, satisfied with what I do. I can, however, vouch that I've given some of each of these attributes to every painting I've completed. In other words, each work takes no small amount of time, involving considerable hard work.

... Art always has to involve the fundamental of craft; if mine did not, I should feel like I have defrauded the viewing public ...

Anthony Robshaw

My Gallery

I never have, nor ever would do "art" purely for the "idea" even if the idea could be commercially exploited. I purposely don't aim to shock or sensationalise. While this is the aim of some artists, including many highly successful ones, I tend to seek the opposite in the viewer: reassurance rather than disturbance; gentle evocation of memories, often linking to our past. Further, "art" always has to involve the fundamental of craft; if mine did not, I should feel like I have defrauded the viewing (and buying) public. That is my personal definition of art, as something founded primarily upon the principles of craft and technique rather than pure imagination, although the best or most interesting art will often be a blend of all three.

I am, of course, prepared to acknowledge that a definition involving such "traditional values" and emphasis on the "craft" rather than the "idea" runs counter to much current thinking and has tended to become marginalised and disregarded, even ridiculed in modern times, not only in art, where in many circles it's regarded as axiomatic that "everything is art" (including, for instance, "unmade beds" and "piles of bricks") but even more sadly, in life itself. Well, I make no apologies for being unashamedly traditional, both in outlook and artwork execution. I can and do appreciate qualities of high imagination displayed in art, but it's my belief that always, it has to be allied with craft and technique to be truly worthy of admiration; and I do not accept that something is automatically good simply because no-one has thought of it before.

Clearly, whatever art one produces, the ultimate aim of producing it has to be to strike a chord within the viewer. When I paint, I like that chord, if it can be brought about, to be a pleasant one, but it can also be multi-faceted. It is good to make the viewer think about the work, but there are alternative ways in which this can be achieved e.g. by creating or deepening an air of mystery around a subject; revealing the unknown, inner side of things; showing hidden intentions; making thoughts real; creating a sense of presence, time and character. If any of these can be achieved within a painting, that would be a worthy target for which to aim. Ultimately though, the only question worth asking is: does the viewer like what he/she sees? If the answer is yes, I need not ask anything more.


Some of my current work can be seen on display (and bought) locally in Darwen, Lancashire from my good friends at Deli Carlo and the Sweet Vintage Tea Room, both conveniently situated by the market hall front entrance in Darwen town centre.