I have painted and drawn since early childhood. Although punctuated by long breaks, the looking and observing never stopped: the late Henry Israel was an outstanding tutor in the ’70s and taught me to ‘see’.
I am inspired by the landscape surrounding my home in North Cornwall. I also go to the coast to paint, preferably on a stormy day. There is nothing like painting from life, feeling the wind, hearing the sounds of the countryside and sea, becoming fully immersed in the moment. Returning to the studio, I am armed with the information needed for a painting – though often the swiftly executed piece stands in its own right.
Working in oils, acrylics and watercolours, I often use torn papers and other textured materials when a painting needs ‘shaking up’. This is very satisfying and it allows me to move forward if a painting is not working at the desired level: the collaged papers disrupt the surface, returning the image to a state of flux and often creating an exciting outcome.
Recently I have been using collage as the starting point for paintings, playing with materials, allowing ideas and remembered images to filter through. There has been a tangible shift towards abstraction, though I am not sure if one can truly have ‘a foot in both camps’. I am still so drawn to swaying grasses, portraying nature’s tapestry: there is a pastel drawing here called ‘Hogweed and Thistles’: how could I paint this in any other way?