This is a description of my approach to my painting and how it is evolving.
My paintings take clues from the world around and also from the magic of paint itself.
At the age of twelve I became interested in Chinese ink paintings and studied them from library books. In particular I was interested in the way that simple calligraphic brush strokes could create a landscape or animal, and retain something of the life-force of nature. I have always liked the immediacy of brush strokes and calligraphy and this was affirmed during two visits to China in 2015 and 2016. I began to paint with Chinese ink on rice paper using large and small Chinese calligraphic brushes.
Also pivotal to my background as an artist was the year I lived in Lagos as a child, and my 14 years in Cyprus (1984 to 1998). I absorbed different colours and gained an artistic interest in patterns and shapes, as seen in my environment. In Nicosia I saw exhibitions of artwork from all over the Middle East.
Recurring motifs are hills and paths, as abstract references to experiences of landscape, and personal journeys through landscape and paint. I love the feeling of being in the land and find different landscapes incredibly inspiring. My visits to China included some incredible mountain vistas, and mountains have always been an important source of inspiration.
I want the painting to evolve organically and to present a new place rather than being a copy of something. I explore the life of paint by layering paint, pouring it, using thin washes on top of wet paint, and allow the paint to inform the direction of the emerging imagery. I mix acrylic, ink, oil paint and pens, and sometimes collage. I work on raw canvas hung from nails or canvases I stretch to my own specifications. I lay huge sheets of rice paper on the floor and work around them, dripping paint, smearing paint, using calligraphic brushes and both ink and acrylic to weld together an image. I work between sheets of paper, or work between several canvases. Paint is applied with brushes, painting knives, cardboard, scraped off, sometimes reworked for months. There is no set plan, I like to set up a dialogue between works. It is always a journey into unknown territory but that is what I love!
In September 2015 a dream came true when I visited China as a participant in the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale,. A series of ink paintings were inspired by a visit to the Great Wall of China at Badaling. It was the first time I had worked with ink on rice paper. .In 2016 I was invited to do a Fellowship ('Schoolhouse at Mutianyu Great Wall') for a month and had the chance to explore my ink paintings more deeply in relation to another section of the Great Wall. Currently I am exploring various ideas gained during my Fellowship and often work between rice paper and canvas. This allows ideas to cross-pollinate from the ink paintings into the works on canvas.