I paint evocative abstract landscapes that respond to the environment by exploring dynamic colours and experimental mark making.
My paintings are concerned with the way the past intrudes upon the present and vice versa. Symbols, signs, animal tracks, and claw marks mix with telegraph poles, gates, and fenceposts as we search for ways to remember who we once were by seeking out the wild face of our surroundings.
I keep sketchbooks that serve as phrasebooks and personal dictionaries; marks and colours that resonate help to develop a personal dialect in paint. I record my surroundings, including field lines, hedgerows, and patterns of perspective. I begin with one these sketches in mind, along with a primed wooden panel and some charcoal. I use intuitive marks to focus more on the sense of a place rather than the reality, which is often very muddy!
I am a seeker of quiet liminal spaces, the kind that feel awash with the unseen energies of the past. 2020 has turned out to be a year where many of us have felt called towards the outdoors and its seeming neutrality in the face of global catastrophe. The wildflowers still bloomed, the trees still greened and shed their leaves and the rain and sun still showered and shone. Though we may not be permanent, either individually or collectively, there is solace to be found in the reliable cycles of the natural world and perhaps one of the legacies of this year will be a move towards a more natural and sustainable way of life, not just in the environmental sense but also by abandoning the cycle of busyness and burn out that keeps us estranged from the feel of the earth beneath our feet. These paintings have emerged from this brutal year not just as a reflection of the amount of time I spent outside just noticing things, but as a testament to the way I want to live in the future. Slower, lighter, and more useful. Not as a consumer but as a maker of things; objects and paintings that recall the rituals and rhythms of a time before smart phones and the 24-hour news cycle.
I graduated in 2001 from Hull school of Art and Design with a degree in Fine Art and have been working in a variety of media for nearly twenty years. My work takes in impressions and memories as much as it does sketches and scribbled records. Contrasts of texture, tone, shape, and line interrupt the conversation between mark making and white space. There is a dance between application and reduction until a destination is arrived at, allowing historical layers of paint to peak out from beneath the surface. I am always trying to return to places from my memory and the feelings that I associate with them. My paintings are a homecoming, and an act of remembrance as I try to find my way back to these landscapes.
Elemental forces, long ago voices echoing from a tangle of weeds, the drift of early morning fog and the harsh screech of a bird of prey rising on the thermal. These things becoming scratched in paint, a scribbled in pastel or swirled in misty grey layers of acrylic. I love to stretch the limits of paint and see just what it can actually do. With this in mind, I often use mixed media techniques to achieve certain marks and gestures. Paintings are often reworked over and over until a desired effect is achieved. This means that glimpses of previous ideas, forms and scribbles are often visible as the texture builds up on the surface. In 2019 I was the recipient of the JSFineArt award for 2D media at the annual open exhibition at the Heseltine Gallery in Middleton Cheney. I have also exhibited widely in Banbury, Oxford and throughout the Cotswolds. Alongside this I am a workshop facilitator, creative enabler and confidence builder who loves to help others find their creative path in life. I run classes and workshops throughout Oxfordshire.