This year I had planned to open my studio for Oxfordshire Artweeks in May and Swindon Open Studios in October. Obviously Artweeks is now a virtual exhibition but I am hoping to postpone my Artweeks open studio until the beginning of September. I hope to open in October for SOS and again in December for Oxfordshire Artweeks Christmas open studios.
I also had solo exhibitions in the planning at The Jam Factory in Oxford, The Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage and The Core in Swindon..... I'm sure they will still happen... although at present who knows when??!
I am constantly excited to see the colours and shapes that occur naturally in landscape and the environment which I recreate in my work.
Recently, since the world has taken a turn for the strange, I have started making ephemeral dream like abstract paintings - at 1 x 1.5 m they are the biggest I have ever created. The shapes and colours are reminiscent of flowers, views, hidden spaces, forgotten vistas and i have to remind myself sometimes that no-one else has ever seen them. I feel like i have lived with them for years...... Artweeks 2020 is the first time they are being seen by anyone apart from myself...
Until now my preferred medium has been chalk pastel. I love the soft velvet-like creamy quality that chalk pastel creates. I have recently created a studio from an old outbuilding on my property and while the roof was being replaced, I noticed a beauty in the old roof tiles. Where the slate tiles have overlapped over time a ‘horizon line’ has been left and the weather has caused a beautiful patina on the surface of the tiles. I currently have a series of 30 slate paintings made with the tiles from my studio roof. The landscapes are all inspired by the ancient Oxfordshire Ridgeway which I am lucky enough to see from my studio. The Ridgeway is a route used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers the 87-mile-long path passes through ancient landscapes, down land, secluded valleys and woodlands. I think that these qualities can be found in my slate paintings, they are landscapes of the imagination that draw you in and are familiar in a comforting way.
As the surface of the tile is slate, the chalk pastel cannot be fixed to the tile. I have tried fixing before and after applying the chalk but neither will work to permanently fix the marks, so each piece is presented behind glass mounted on card in a 4 cm deep box frame. The overall effect is one of giving the piece the quality of an artefact, something stored for the future.
My other passion is British wildlife and i have for years been fascinated by rendering the texture of fur and feathers. there are always wild birds, hares and animals adorning the walls of the studio.