I LOVE to 'go missing' in the landscape, forgetting everything, just feeling my OWN space and getting back in touch with myself again. Life chips away at you and being busy does not allow you to connect fully with nature or your inner world. This inner world of imagination and fantasy combined with experiences from travels and places are pivotal aspects of my work. There is also an underlying narrative to many of my paintings and some reflect on the search for those quiet places, thoughts on the transience of life, people and places remembered.
I paint to allow myself to enter my own space again and often this means feeling my way emotionally through imaginary landscapes as a metaphor for experiencing movement through actual landscapes which may be remembered or totally inspired by materials. It's always a journey, I want to be surprised and to see my 'paint tracks' as equivalents for an emotional journey. The challenge always is to find a form for these tracks and the experience of allowing them to emerge is as real as being in nature.
Much of my artwork explores the overlapping of meanings of things felt and seen and my reflections on them. Often I overlap landscape and still life elements to convey the sense that everything is connected and feelings are a fluid stream though may appear separate from moment to moment. This is why I chose to paint various landscape elements and sometimes still life shapes as incidents across colours or as references to convey this one-ness.
My work is also about my love of landscape, the scents, the sounds, the changing appearances from day to day but within an eternal cycle of seasons, our traces across the world and thoughts made concrete as shapes. Within that world are many overlapping words that co-exist. As I create, I am also Nature.
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 art is the year II lived in Lagos as a child, and my 14 years in Cyprus (1984 to 1998).
Recurring motifs are hills and paths, as abstract references to experiences of landscape, and personal journeys through landscape and paint. My three visits to China included some incredible mountain vistas, and mountains have always been an important source of inspiration.
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. There is no set plan,
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.