When not painting in his studio, perched on the wild north coast overlooking St. Ives Bay, Neil is out walking the ever-changing terrain of West Penwith. Swept by light and storms, it is a landscape of edges, ancient lines and granite, the bare bones of the earth, a place of stark beauty and primordial wildness.
Neil has an ongoing relationship with this part of Cornwall, witnessing and recording as the seasons come and go, and tempering his observations with his own emotional response to them. In Winter, the sky, sea and land seem to merge. Lashing rain and wind, gale-force storms, and on rare occasions, snow, sweep across the land. Waves crash along the shoreline and against the cliffs, and seaspray drenches anything in its path. Spring emerges, and the moors and hills take on a patchwork of colour - yellow gorse, blankets of bluebells, hedgerows dripping with wild flowers. Gradually, with the advance of summer, the greening takes over, the ferns gaining a temporary stranglehold over the moorland. Gorse buds pop in the heat, orange montbretia lines the lanes and banks, whilst overhead the buzzards float on the air currents. Autumn returns: late sun brightens the emerging rusts and ochres which now dominate the landscape, and pink and purple heathers erupt through the bracken.
Then there are those days in Penwith where all the seasons seem to come at once. Neil is intuitively drawn to the more remote areas of the countryside, where human presence is very little in evidence, and elemental forces shape the landscape. His starting points are trent - a flash of recognition of the purple haze of bluebells, the first flush of yellow on the twisted gorse, or light cutting through a storm. In his work, Neil tries to capture the colossal energy and indifference of natural forces. The joy he feels when working with paint, his passion in its manipulation - taking risks so that sometimes even the survival of a painting is threatened - is reflected in the tangible vitality of every painting.
1987-84 West Surrey College of Art and Design, BA (Hons) Degree Fine Art
1968-65 Farnham School of Art, Surrey Diploma of Fine Art (Painting)
LECTURING 1996-91 Painting and drawing tutor, City of Bath College
1991-89 Painting and drawing tutor, Frome Community College
1984-72 Painting and drawing tutor, West Surrey College of Art and Design
1984-72 Printmaking technician, West Surrey College of Art and Design
1972-68 Painting and drawing tutor, Guildford School of Art