I paint my landscapes in watercolour, charcoal or pastels, whilst sitting outside with my friends,who paint around Walthamstow. I used charcoal to draw a blackthorn hedge that I saw by the River Lea,the week I visited Hockney’s exhibition at the Royal Academy .Arcimboldo's ideas made Walthamstow reservoirs into a swan lady. The geese herons, ducks and moorhens at Hollow Ponds add focus tothe water or the trees in water colour or acrylic . A heron on the Lammas lands,cried out to be represented in pen and ink like the Yunan style I saw in “the brush dances and the ink sings" exhibition.
2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
Two years ago I was one of “the Garden Painters” who exhibited pictures of Vestry House Garden in the passage overlooking it. Last year the same friends and I called ourselves “the forest painters” and exhibited local landscapes at Pictorem.
Choosing which of my pictures to leave out
As a baby, the first painting I recognised was a watercolour by a South Indian artist. At primary school, I loved Arthur Rackham’s trees that were old men and Franz Marc’s red horses. By thirteen, my school's art teacher made me copy middle distances from postcards of Cézanne's French landscapes into my depictions of the Kenya countryside in front of me as the strange disjunction of continents seemed less bad than my own rubbish middlegrounds. I preferred artists like Sam Ntiro, Grace Ibingira or Elimo Njau, which showed the world I lived in.
5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Every year as more people show their work, there is more to inspire new artists to feel bold enough to let other people see their work too
I love the multicultural world of Walthamstow. Most of us are outsiders, so nobody is an outsider . No need to travel from E17. The world comes to us . There are others who grew up in the same country where we did . We have neighbours, friends, food, shops and stalls from every country in the world. We have all sorts of art and inspiration.
At Pictorem gallery, first his father, then Avtar have given me advice, and framed my paintings for 30 years. Thuso, a very local charity gives me a good use for the profits of my paintings to send orphans to school in South Africa ( Thuso garden party is the Sunday after the Art Trail)