Neil Butterfield

'You can't have art without play.' David Hockney

I have always painted but am now able to give it serious attention, having previously been very full-time, earning a living in education and then publishing at Oxford University Press (wonderful years). I expect my family consider it obsessive and they are most probably right.

Although very obviously figurative, my pictures are really blocks of colour and getting that right is something of an obsession. It's a bit like cooking really - all about balance and knowing when to stop. For Paul Klee, one of my art heroes, it was a visit to Tunisia that did it. 'I have found colour', he said,' it has hold of me'. For me it was India and in particular Rajasthan.

Patterning and composition are a way shaping the world, making sense of it even. That's certainly what I enjoy about the process of painting and what I try to express. It is the idea behind the flat decorative style that I use and it is reflected in the subjects that I choose.

For inspiration, I turn to Matisse, Ben Nicholson, Paul Klee and David Hockney and for encouragement I look at the work of the wonderful and much neglected Albert Herbert.

Recent exhibitions have included a prize-winning entry in the O3 Gallery Artweeks show at the Oxford Castle site, Points of View at West Oxford Arts Gallery, the ART2 exhibition in the Banbury Museum (where I was shortlisted for the exhibition prize) and various Oxford Art Society exhibitions. I have exhibited in the SOTA Gallery in Witney, The Kyffin Gallerty in Woodstock and regularly at the the Burford Art Gallery. Recently I have exhibited with the potter, Andrew Hazelden, and will be doing City Artweeks in 2017 with Alison Morris, Phil Dove and Alec Jones In Wolvercote (20-29 May).

I was for some years Chair of the Turrill Sculpture Garden and am currently a committee member of the Oxford Art Society.

‘It’s not a matter of painting life. It’s a matter of giving life to painting.’(Richard Diebenkorn)