There are several threads to my working practice, which interweave, overlap and cross reference, providing a foundation for oil and mixed media paintings. Contrasts of stillness and movement, of scale, colour and texture are elements that I look for in the visual imagery that informs my ideas.
Drawing, in a broad sense, underpins everything I do. It seems to be the most immediate and direct connection with all things visual. I find it a way of taking in and storing a response to a passing image, detail, composition or idea, and so I always have a sketchbook or two with me. Some are small, filled with pen and ink fragments, notes and colours. Others are pre-altered, treating pages with gesso, tissue, wax etc., ready to connect with on-the-spot drawings done in pencil, charcoal, oil pastel or inks. Sometimes I use elements from my immediate surroundings to stain the paper. I have dozens of sketch books that influence my work. Altering a surface before proceeding is a common practice; one that I apply to Life Drawing, a discipline that I also follow regularly. Frequently, I start work in the landscape, and pursue it in the studio.
Also In the studio, memory, images and materials combine to explore ideas generated. I tend to move freely from large to small pieces, and from still life to landscape, to figure studies. Some are more abstract than others. I enjoy creating dense, complex surfaces, and often rework pieces for that purpose. For these ‘experiments’, I tear, scratch, use wax, inks, layer watercolours and acrylics…anything that will disturb the surface and create a complex density, resonant of the land, sea or sky. I like to use raw pigment embedded in the surface.
I love oil paint, and am always trying to use it in different ways…thin, thick, with collage or with sand and raw pigment. Paintings are typically on Canvas, but some are on paper and therefore under glass. Colour is enormousely important, and I hope all my pieces resonate in some colourful way. With this approach, I always have several pieces on the go at any one time. Paintings are finished when they say something beyond the obvious.
Having painted and drawn for most of my life, I have followed and been influenced by countless artists. Contemporary artists of note are Barbara Rae, Gerhard Richter, Antoni Tàpies and Jennifer Durrant, also Andrew Hardwick and Sax Impey I am hugely impressed by the paintings of Patrick Heron, and of Joan Eardley and Christopher Wood, and Peter Doig. Picasso, Turner, Hockney, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Uglow, Diebenkorn and Twombly and the extraordinary surfaces of Anselm Kiefer are everlastingly inspirational.
I’d like to paint like a bird sings!