Throughout his working life, his sketchbooks were the starting point. He would always begin with acute observation of what he saw around him: landscapes; the intricate details of flora and fauna; and people. Then he would put numbers on the drawings and footnotes describing colour or texture. At the same time his wife Denise would photograph wide views of the landscapes and close details of stones and flowers.

Back in his studio, he would start to paint, with the sketches and the projected slides as reference. If he could, he would also have brought back rocks, seaweed, lichen, thistles – whatever he could carry. These would remind him of the feel and texture of a place.  While he was working, Denise would be painting the frames, in complementary colours.

He gave up painting outside with an easel very early on, because he was interested to take his work beyond what a place simply looked like. In the studio, often with music playing, he created imaginative and abstract space in the paintings that would allow the viewer to look deeper into the nature of life itself.

Oliver and Denise would go on working trips to gather materials for paintings.









While Oliver sketched, Denise would take hundreds of slides, labelling and cataloguing them into boxes on her return home.  




In April and May 1984 they were in the Greek Islands. At Kalafartes on the island of Mykonos they sketched and photographed.

Back in the studio this painting was the result.