I sometimes think people don't understand when I say that I had to get rid of detail in my paintings so that I could go crazy with colour. In my early years of getting into painting, I was trying to prove that I had 'skills' in my ability to represent something. That went on for quite a while and I did some good paintings that way. But then it got boring. The careful placement of brushstrokes was a very unimaginative exercise; it took a lot of time but it wasn't very difficult. I started to get jealous of my friends who were abstract painters. They could place large areas of innovative colour and shape on their canvases in ways that were exciting. I started to think I would like to do that. I wouldn't let go completely of my wish to connect to the real world; but I began to think I could do it differently. I realized that our eyes and brains can easily put together images from very minimal amounts of information; a few flicks of a brushstroke can create quite a good description of a face, and so on with other things. So I started to get brave. I created simple shapes to represent basic elements in a landscape, a tree for example, or a road beside a field. Then I could really play with colour! I could put a red or a blue or a green anywhere I wanted.