In my teens, I worked in repertory theatre as a student/assistant stage manager, continuing to learn about design and expression. During national service, barrack- room life offered any number of heads for me to portray. I later became a monk within a religious teaching order. Here I was sent to Farnham Art School and later gained a degree at Sussex University. After leaving the order, I fully entered the life of the professional artist in 1976.
Since I had grown up in an urban landscape I remained interested in architecture and history as well as in portraiture. This led to the illustration of various publications for historical associations regarding certain ignored villages and towns. In this way I became artist in residence in Milton Keynes, which led in turn to a close involvement in the Kilvert Gallery of contemporary art, created in Clyro, near Hay-on-Wye, by the artist Elizabeth Organ. As well as being artist in residence at the Kilvert Gallery, a year spent with the Welsh National Opera as their artist in residence was a particularly fruitful time.
What do I seek to do in my work?
Essentially I want to ‘give form’ to the constantly changing shape of the world around me.
The landscape dissolves and renews itself…
Buildings and streets are subject to atmospheres and phases of the time of day…
People are essentially unknown and mysterious…
Until his death in 2018, Eugene undertook portrait commissions from his home in Hay-on-Wye, and ran courses in drawing and painting, sometimes holding these in Venice and other locations.
Recent exhibitions included Hay Heads: Paintings of the People of Hay - an ongoing interest and project.
Portraiture was perhaps Eugene's first love but his enthusiasm for the history, architecture and characters of a place was also a lifelong passion. Wherever he went he recorded his experience of the personality of his surroundings in words, paintings and in the very individual line drawing with which he also illustrated a number of books, including Kilvert's Clyro Now and Azincourt.
Eugene has exhibited paintings of the Marches, Eastnor, Venice and many other locations, landscapes and gardens.
Work in progress at the time of Eugene's death included a book about the historic sites visited by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales), a series of paintings from his travels in Italy, and a new illustrated book distilled from his own experiences of the creative life.
Eugene's last book, Oh Happy Hay!, was published in August 2015.