Ex cafe owner, hitch-hiker, gardener, baby sitter, cook, decorator, tour guide, bike messenger and wanderer. Finally I have found home. It is San Francisco, California. I have spent much of my life in and between Oxford, UK and San Francisco. My studio is presently located in the Mission district in San Francisco.
I attended Bath Academy of Art in the UK in 1986 and graduated with honors in Ceramics and Printmaking. I then started my artistic career as a ceramic artist in Oxford working from a disused water mill. I sold my work from my studio, through shows, and galleries across England.
After 6 years in the ceramic business I packed up shop to travel. Feeling a need to fill the creative void I took up watercolors, pastels and charcoal. Many years later on, arriving in San Francisco I finally took up oil painting.
I am drawn to paint my immediate surroundings, such as the San Francisco streets, and the redwoods and oak trees of California. Traveling through places such as Mexico and Morocco is also a great inspiration. I see my paintings as an extension of historical painting as document. Just as painters have shown us how life was for our ancestors, my paintings show how life is in this century, particularly in this year. Although Bechtle's images were only painted in the '70's, how quickly they become historical document. Because our society moves so quickly, what cars we are driving this year, will quickly become outdated. This classifies my paintings in a particular genre.
On color, compostion and the San Franciscan light:
I started painting in oils as I felt they would give me the greatest color and texture flexibility. I painted my first canvas in 2004 and was immediately taken. Every painting is an experiment or an exploration of the material. The common thread is my color-lust and the desire I have to convey the world as it seems to me: full of awe, wonder and depth beyond our comprehension.”
I would like my paintings to make the viewer feel like they really are looking at part of the city from the street or from the top of a hill. Perhaps they can see they city anew. Or in a forest for example, where they can hear the water dripping or sense that stillness and presence of an ancient tree. Essentially I hope the paintings convey a particular atmosphere through the use of color.