I sketch as I walk. Sketching outdoors is fundamental to my practice. I love the lively, free quality that I can achieve in my drawings when I work outside. I make sketches of things that I glimpse along the way. Familiarity is important and I often draw the same things over and over again.
I am interested in the human impact upon the landscape, and the layers of meaning this adds to a location. Recently I have become interested in drawing people engaging with the landscape when they are unaware of being observed. I enjoy having only a few seconds to capture their pose before they move on. I try to capture the relationships that they have with each other - body language, the way they stand in groups or apart.
When I am in my studio I like to work on several pieces at once. I prefer not to have a firm idea of what I am trying to achieve at this stage and am happy to let the painting develop in its own way.
I usually start in acrylic as I enjoy the excitement of having to respond to its rapid drying time. I like to wash back the surface of my paintings, leaving unexpected textures and marks, and traces of the surface underneath. I much prefer to work on a surface with a history and will often go back to a canvas that is quite old and re-work it by over-painting areas and over-drawing – hence the piece builds up over time.
I have taught in schools and I love the way young children apply paint in a joyous, free and uninhibited way. I try to capture that joy myself by ‘playing with the paint’ – exploring how it can be applied using sponges, rags, sticks, letting it run and drip or impressing paint onto the surface using found materials. This technique allows accidents to happen which I find exciting and will change the way I see the work – the painting will then move in a totally different direction. All of my work has an element of the accidental and unplanned in it.
Colour is very important and I tend to choose colours that make me feel happy. The seasonal colours also affect my work e.g. in spring when the daffodil fields around our farm are in bloom I will get the urge to paint in yellow.
There is always a pivotal moment in each painting, which may be in response to something I have glimpsed while out walking or simply an interesting juxtaposition of colours/shapes in my studio. This moment of clarity can come months, even years after starting the original painting.
Turn of the Tide, St Anthony, Helford
1000 x 700 mm, Mixed Media on Canvas, £2,400
Rocks and Headland
260 x 220 mm, Mixed Media on Canvas, £450
Four on the Pier
600 x 450mm, Oil on Canvas, £1300
340 x 300, Oil and Pencil on Card, £500
Walking in the Rain
320mm x 250mm. Mixed media on Canvas, £550