Every time I create something, whether an idea or a work of art, initially, its supposed completion seems absolutely perfect to me. However the more I think about it, stare it down, the more it marinates in my soul over the hours, days, and weeks, the more flaws I start to find in it; and finally, the more I'm pressed to continue enhancing it. It essentially turns out that whatever thing a flawed and imperfect, human eye once thought was amazing begins to appear quite wretched. This is why, eternally, God cannot be impressed by mere talents or by mortal achievements. To perfect eyes, I imagine that great is not really that great; rather, humility is ultimately a human being's true greatness.
There are enough ideas, images, symbols, and experiences in your head already to work with for a lifetime. It's a little like having a car with an unpredictable battery, though. Sometimes you get in and it starts right up. Other times, especially if it has been sitting idle for awhile, you turn the key and nothing happens.
When you draw, you copy the world don't you? You remake it on paper, but it isn't the same. It's yours. No one else could have created it just like that. When I make poems, I use the words we all use, but the order and the sound create a new power. This wood is someone's creation. We stumble through it's tendrils, as if we're crawling through the synapses of his mind.
When I started to draw, most of my influences were from other painters and illustrators, so I was drawing landscape at second hand, really. The trees were Rackham trees, or trees that I had seen in paintings rather than from my own observation...and I started to feel this was a real lack in my work. Everything was too generalised, and not based on real experience. Then in 1975, after having worked for some years in London as a book cover illustrator mainly, I came down to Devon and stayed with some friends up on the moor. In the course of this one weekend, wandering around the moor, finding rivers and ancient woods, I realised that everything that I would ever want to draw was actually here. There was so much richness in the texture and forms of these fantastic trees...and I decided in the course of that weekend to come and live here. I looked at a couple of houses, found one, and made an offer on it, all in that one weekend!