Richard Hooke graduated from painting posters and children’s greeting
cards when he joined the Watercolour Workshop in Richmond upon Thames
in the 1980s.
Led by Sunday Times/Singer & Friedlander award winner Antonia Black, the school’s focus was on speed and light. Working in Antonia’s studio and outside when the weather permitted, the River Thames and Richmond Park provided much of the subject matter and inspiration.
They held a number of exhibitions and he sold his first paintings. Richard hascontinued to paint over the years, mainly watercolours for family and friends.
In recent years, the Isle of Purbeck has inspired him to increase his output and he's turned to oils to capture some of the beauty of this part of the world. The sea and the livestock here provide the impetus for all his paintings. Both shape this environment – the light, the coastline, the countryside and much of the architecture. Thanks to the local community and the National Trust, the livestock here works in harmony with nature and he tries to capture a sense of what this means.
He's been a regular visitor to Purbeck over the years and proposed to his wife, Sue, on Swanage seafront! They've been married now for over thirty years, and have returned regularly with their three children, camping in Tom’s Field or near Knitson Farm and staying at Seaview Cottage in Studland. They now have a home in Ulwell and, whilst it seems like a dream come true, it also feels their spiritual home. Their children feel it too. If you talk to local people, you’ll find that their experience isn’t unusual. They start off as visitors and fall under Purbeck’s enduring spell.