As a student attending Central Saint Martins College of Art (then Saint Martins School of Art) in London during his junior year in the early 1970s he traveled to Scotland every chance he could. Witnessing that northern landscape was a powerful, formative experience that has continued to inform his work and his aesthetic. "The critical issue isn’t simply what that mysterious environment looked like - the ever-changing skies, the mercurial weather, the sudden shifts of sun and shadow. It was the character and spirit of places of this sort.” The list of these places has come to include the southwest of England, Downeast Maine, the Tarn region of France, and western Pennsylvania." In the act of painting his focus is on what these places do, what they mean, rather than simply depicting what they look like.