The intricacy of trees, the muscular shoulders of mountains, the memory of wind. The earthy, sophisticated shape of a pear. The brush an extension of the artist’s hand.
From the beginning my work has centred on the natural world, balanced between representation and abstraction, but always rooted in human experience. We humans aren’t static creatures. We wander. We catch glimpses of things from the corners of our eyes. We learn to know a place over time. We bring our memories, beliefs, and moods; we hear, smell, taste and feel. We make mental maps.
In my studio, I use the elements of abstraction to make oil and cold wax paintings that distill the essential qualities of a specific space while exploring the breadth of my personal connection to it. I build these images in intense sessions: compositions are drawn, erased, painted, carved into, scraped off, and painted over, until this pattern finds itself next to that shape, and they both find space to breathe among swathes of colour. Oil and cold wax lends itself to layering, to preserving the tracks of my brushstroke, creating surfaces that may be reminiscent of natural textures but sometimes…sometimes: look, look what this paint can do, look what it can shape itself into. Look at the beauty my brush finds when I consider all that my senses collect.
While the studio work is drawn from memory, I have always carried a tiny kit into the backcountry, and sat on the mountainside recording what I saw around me. This has expanded into a seasonal practice of plein air watercolour sketching, and an ongoing series of still life paintings, small oil and wax studies of fruit chosen for their colour and scent, and for the way they feel in my hand.
There is both freedom and discipline in working quickly, completing each piece before the light changes, and focused only on getting what I see down on paper or canvas. So much colour in a shadow on a white cloth, so much depth as a series of lines define a landscape. Finely honed observation is critical to my work, and my studio practice is immeasurably enriched by including work from life.