my artist’s statement

Current Artist’s Statement

Intrinsic to my artmaking process is an engagement with the environment which surrounds me. My current work aims to transform my experience of the landscape into abstract paintings.

My process begins with en plein air drawing and painting. Back in my studio I refer to this with improvisatory mark-making. I allow the fluidity, thickness and transparency of the marks I make — with brush, knife, fingers, twig, pencil, crayon, pastel — to recreate my impressions and my memory. The depth of the layering over collage, and the intuitive act of throwing paint at the canvas, reaches a conclusion that transforms what I see and note down. Sometimes this will take only a day or two, sometimes months or years as I work over the surface again to find a solution.

Having moved to Scotland, I find the Scottish landscape particularly exciting — its atmosphere and moods, its shapes, textures, colours, sounds and smells. During the relocation I was without a studio to make larger scale works, and worked on a series of small scale pieces on heavy watercolour paper in oil pastel, gouache and watercolour pencil. Materials which are manageable in the domestic environment. These works are based on being there – being in the light of the rising sun in the early morning at Tentsmuir forest and beach. On other days, it’s the challenge of hill country in the Cairngorms, or the soft hummocks and ferns of the raised bog at Star Moss in Fife. I am equally drawn to the small scale wilderness landscapes at the back of St Andrews —Lumbo and Spinkie dens, Lade Braes and Hallow Hill, with their trees, rocks and burn, heron, bullfinch, blackcap, stonechat, and red squirrel. I find the small scale, liquid brushstrokes and intense colour of gouache paint to be especially effective. In taking the work forward I will transfer some of these qualities to larger scale works on canvas and panel with collage, and layering over it in acrylic paint and cold wax techniques.