'Depicting' human emotion features largely in my artwork (oil, acrylic and mixed media on canvas and wood). Shapes and colours of the landscape are used as metaphors to express differing human conditions – For instance, the turbulence of a stormy sea and sky to express the unsettled feeling of a situation in one's life, or the image of the edge of a cliff top to suggest the precariousness of a difficult situation one has encountered.
The application of a variety of paint thicknesses and marks is important to me. The combining of land, sea and sky as seen from a cliff top, when abbreviated (a 'shorthand' of landscape), can imply a sense of shifting focus, an unnerving, unbalanced feeling. However, the flattening of space within the painting can suggest intimacy, a sunset perhaps – a safer feeling.
Much of my work is highly textured, the tactile nature of the pieces encouraging more involvement by the viewer. More recent paintings are made from discarded materials, such as envelopes, newspapers, string, etc. These paper pulp mixed media paintings are stained with dyes and acrylics (and sometimes oil paint added at a later stage) and are my way of giving back to nature, i.e. recycling and reusing of materials.
Some of the artworks appear as 'emotional maps', such as 'Miles Apart', suggesting distance in the landscape and perhaps a metaphor for the emotional distance between two human beings. Others suggest the erosion of a cliff face and rocks on the beach, more intense moments, perhaps. I derive much pleasure from making these works, as the mixture of paper pulp with pva is very malleable, like clay.
Working from preliminary studies, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, acrylic or photographic, produced on site, I make the actual artworks in my studio in Nottingham. Being away from the actual subject matter gives my artwork more potency, as I work from memory. It is as if I have achieved the best of both worlds – the rawness of the clifftop walks, but the freedom to create away from the subject matter. Listening to music also inspires me to create 'rhythmical' paintings. Ivon Hitchen's 'rhythmical landscapes' and my experience of living in Zambia, Southern Africa, in the 1970's (and the memories of African dancing) influence my markmaking to this day.
Earlier works (prior to 1995) suggest a sense of ambiguity and analogy. Imagery is created to reflect my concern for environmental issues (such as the importance of the rainforests) and personal relationships. During this time (1982-1996), artists that influenced- my work were Matisse (his 'Moroccans' painting in particular) and Howard Hodgkin's abstracts depicting human relationships.