Encouraged by his art teacher Paul always created paintings less conventional than his peers, his early work mostly landscape, atmospheric and painted usually on location gave Paul a great appreciation of nature in all its diversity and moods. It was about this time he came across Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; this was to fire his imagination and inspired him towards the world of fantasy art. But it was to be a long time before he would start his first canvas depicting his interpretation of Tolkien's epic tale.
It was the late 70's that Paul embarked on his journey with Tolkien, his first canvas 10'x 6' titled Ride of the Rohirrim, this was followed by Carahdras, then The Fall of Boromir. After the painting of the Rohirrim, Paul made the acquaintance of Peter Nahum, Peter, who at the time was with Sotherbys, and on seeing Paul's work kindly offered to organise a touring exhibition at Sotherbys throughout Great Britain culminating at the fringe at the Edinburgh Festival. This proved to be very popular and in 1984 as a direct consequence of the Edinburgh Festival, Paul was invited to exhibit his work at the Barbican in London.
Paul's idea to keep the original work together at the time was financially unrealistic and this ended in him selling his work. Peter Nahum and Kate Bush were two of the buyers, Kate Bush later commissioned a larger canvas 'The Source of the Anduin’, this was a brooding landscape with the Iron Hills in the distance, reminiscent of his earlier work. Paul also mentions how grateful he was for the help and support given to him by the Tolkien Society at a very critical juncture in this undertaking, at one stage they even had a meeting at his home.
Tony Curtis (not the actor) was an active member of the Society at the time with his wife Jenny. Tony did the calligrap phy that described the paintings for the Barbican exhibition, and beautiful they were to. Tony also recently designed the lettering for an album Paul did for Uriah Heep called 'Spellbinder', so if you see this Tony, Paul says hi.
Paul has over the past twenty years had a great deal of publicity in relation to his work on Tolkien, indeed even appearing on television several times. On one occasion he was approached by Central Televisions arts programme, who were doing a special about the life and mythology of J R R Tolkien. So although there are a lot of people not aware of Paul's work over the past couple of decades, there are a lot who are. Paul does not consider his interpretation to be the definitive version, but does say it is a serious attempt at an impossible task.
1984 was a productive year for Paul, it was then he was introduced to the world of Heavy Metal, he had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of the Band 'Saxon' and their indomitable singer Biff Byford. He was commissioned to do the artwork for the album and the stage designs, the album was 'Crusader', now a classic in the annals of rock. Paul has painted ten albums to date for the band and has developed a great friendship with Biff and the boys. Paul says, if you have never been to a Saxon gig, make sure you do before you die.
Well not wanting to write his memoirs just yet, more Lord of the Rings, more album art, plus various commissions and we arrive at the present. Peter Nahum, who now owns almost all of Paul's Lord of the Rings' paintings, has been the main stay of his work. Paul says without Peter's patience and support, a forthcoming exhibition would not be taking place.
I hope this brief synopsis has given you an insight into Paul's work, there is a mass of information, but that is for another time.