Current Artist’s Statement
Intrinsic to my artmaking process is an engagement with the environment which surrounds me. I want the landscape to express itself, to bring to the surface what does not necessarily meet the eye, a transformative process provoked by my experience of it, its atmosphere and moods, its shapes, textures, colours, sounds and smells. Scotland’s geology and biology, its stirring, shifting and wildness, are a force I want to bring to painting.
I begin with daily walking and en plein air drawing/ 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 putting down paint, 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.
During my relocation to Scotland 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. I continue to make these small works on paper as a way through to the bigger pieces.