I have always been fascinated by birds and other winged wildlife and for sometime now they have been a strong focal point in my work, sometimes the birds appearing only as dots on the horizon. To me they bring a sense of scale both to the wider landscape as well as to the more intimate studies within garden and hedgerow.
Recreating these varied wildlife habitats onto canvas and paper, portraying the patterns and textures of land and sea using mixed media, I find exciting. The creative process of building up surfaces, sometimes printing and the continuous layering of colour upon colour is absorbing.
Locations providing inspiration for me vary from my own garden to some of nature`s wilder habitats.
Coastal situations around western and eastern Scotland and closer to home Morecambe Bay, the mosses and River Kent are all places where I love to be.
“To paint a landscape it is essential to have an understanding of the geology of the area as well as it’s history, human occupation and archaeology - since all of these things are embedded in it’s soil and rocks”.
I live in Burton in Lonsdale, North Yorkshire, bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park and close to the area of the Craven Fault. This is Limestone Country and the location of Yorkshires three highest peaks. I have always had a passion for the mountains and hills - from rock climbing in the Lake District and the extreme local limestone to winter ice climbing in Scotland, so it’s no surprise that my immediate surroundings should inspire me so deeply.
During my professional life I admired the work of numerous designers, typographers and artists, many of them continue to influence the way I work today. Foremost are the Impressionists Pissarro, Monet and Sisley - more recently the “Glasgow Boys” who have fired me up again into a burst of enthusiasm. As you might expect my “style” (composition and layout skills) is more likely the result of my work in design, advertising and print, hopefully I can develop this into a distinctive signature that enhances my work. However, in time, my style will change imperceptibly, but change none the less like the landscape that inspires me.
I want to know my subject as a child knows things. To translate to the painted surface my experience in life. I try to embody in paint the intimate relationship with my surroundings that rejoices in rain water trickling down cold grey rock; the silence but for the swishing coarse grass and the occasional sky lark; the sun, tiny and subdued, with my own silhouette, reflected on the surface of a dripping wet football pulled from one of the familiar puddles of my childhood; a day of sunburn and hatching moths among favourite cliffs…If I can convey a fraction of this love to the viewer, I have done my job.
My paintings are made up of an intricate network of abstract gestures (to really get under the skin of the figurative world is to understand it in abstract terms, essentially everything is abstract), discarded thoughts and built-up textures. Through the abstract language of mark-making and colour I aim to un-lock essential truths. I am trying to weave poems that allow the light to shine through.
Painting is my form of communication. It’s a language I feel more comfortable expressing myself with than words. Where I might struggle with words, get a brush in my hand and its Rock n’ Roll!