Artist statement

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Inspiration

My work includes paintings, drawings, decorative art books and poetry. In all my work I draw inspiration from what is most important to me, the natural world, its landscapes, animals, domestic and wild, its plants and trees, its colours and rhythms.

Having lived in the Celtic countries of Scotland, Wales and Ireland I feel we’re never far from the ‘thin places‘ where different worlds meet and in my art and poetry I often use this ambiguity.

Method

My paintings are created using acrylic paints on canvas, board and sometime paper. The fast drying immediacy and vibrant colours of the paint allow me to capture my ideas impressionistically. I like painting on large canvases to complement the expansive views and ideas.

In my drawings soft coloured pencil and blocks are used and mixed. They provide a subtlety of colour that reflects the ethereal, ambiguous and dream like quality I want to portray.
The specialist crayons allow for colours to be layered, used in fine point and broader block. There is an immediacy to them which I find essential when I’m searching through different worlds and imagined landscapes.

My decorative art books are for the most part one off originals. They are small, usually concertina form with hand made covers. Depending on the subject matter they can involve acrylic and watercolour paint, pencil and collage. Cut out sections also give a three dimensional aspect. It is slow and painstaking work with much measuring and checking. Some of the more recent ones are created to include lino cuts and collage landscapes.

My poems have always been important to me. They express the elements that I do not see in purely visual terms. I love words – in English, Irish, Scots dialect – and I enjoy exploring aspects of nature through them. I note down themes, words, usually when out walking or gardening. Often I use a subject as a jumping off point to explore its history and associations.

More recently I have begun work on a novel. My  children’s stories are works in progress combining my  illustrations with words.

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Process

I spend time being in nature, walking, gardening, watching and observing. I make sketches and note words and feelings, colour combinations. Often walking the same path through the seasons, seeing the changes and exploring the history of place.
I photograph for context and detail, draw swift, line drawings of animals, domestic and wild.
I relish using words, not only in English but Irish and Gaelic, which help to describe the feelings and the thoughts I have. For me, words connect us to the natural world in away that we are fast losing.
Back in the studio it is about making connections and deciding on the best structure for the work.