Keith has been painting for over thirty years, first with watercolours and pastels then later moving on to oils. As a child he was influenced by his father who told him: “Never draw a straight line; always break lines up when you sketch and paint – make your marks interesting”. Advice that the young Keith took to heart and has never forgotten.
Keith always begins a piece with a charcoal sketch onto a pre-coloured cotton canvas, concentrating on balance and composition before he starts to paint. He keeps a very large mirror behind him and glances over his shoulder regularly to check things out from a different angle. His application of paint is very rapid and he uses a palette of only five colours. He says: “It is bold confident brush work that makes things work for me – once I slow down and start picking at the work I know that fundamentally the image is finished and it is at this moment that I start to hear my father in my head shouting “Stop – leave it alone!”.
Many of Keith’s works are inspired by his youngest son, Jack. Being a Father to four boys has given Keith a unique insight into his subject. He loves the fact that children are so natural and instinctive and the way that their behaviour is spontaneous and from the heart. He says: “What better subject to paint than children? They pick up on body language very early and use it well. I try to convey this body language in my work, through simple everyday situations, emphasising the humour or pathos.”
Another important element in Keith’s work is outdoor life. He himself has many happy memories of his own childhood, playing outside, getting grubby and scruffy and loving every minute. His intention is to take the viewer back in time, to what he describes as “a more simple world. A child caught in a moment of thought; in the moment of making the memories that shape us and make us who we are… it is those simple precious things that last just seconds that I try to capture and thereby to hold onto forever.”