What you see in this gallery is the fruit of a seed that was planted more than a quarter of a century ago - a seed that continues to grow. These surroundings represent the latest step along the way of a journey that began during my schooldays in Yorkshire, when I first had the dream of becoming a full-time artist.
That dream is fulfilled now - and it might have come true a bit sooner but for some good old northcountry thrift! My teacher was keen for me to go to art school, but my father - with my own best interests at heart - declared : "Theres no money in it." His argument prevailed, so it was off to catering college for me - with the eventual bonus of a job in Newquay and a chance to live in a part of the country I love.
Then it was seven years in the Navy as a chef, and an even longer stint on the oil rigs. But my interest in art never waned, and sketching and painting took up most of my spare time. My work was being well received at craft markets and gallerys, and it seemed the time might be right to revive that schooldays ambition.
As so often in these life stories, it was time for fate to take a hand. In 2002, on the same day that I was made redundant, I learned that a gallery not far from here - in The House That Jack Built - had become available. And so, on October 1, 2002 we opened the doors of Cottage Crafts - a name that was later changed to BLUE PEACE to reflect the interest that my wife Di and I share in the environment. The next step of the journey was taken in March 2005 when we made the short move to this present location; a shift that was prompted by the need for a more prominent position to cater for growing public interest.
The scene may have changed, but the sources of my inspiration remain the same. Look around and you will see that they are many - from stormy, wind lashed seas to tranquil, sun-bleached sands; from bleak, frost-carpeted moors to golden summer fields. Whether it's bold, bright colours, simple pencil sketches or more recent excursions into mixed media works - I enjoy doing them all. And my task is made all the easier by living in the South West, where everything is a joy to sketch and paint. I hope you will all share the joy - and the continuing dream.
- Greg Millwood