Currently I am working on paintings informed by a process of walking and drawing out in the landscape. Marks that feed into the drawing are often as much about documenting sensations as much as how things actually appear. I want to capture the energy, weight and lightness of experiencing a place. As the drawings lead into the studio paintings, I let memory lead aspects of the painting process.
Within the painting process, the layering of marks, implications of movement, energy and colour can evoke memories of these experiences and also suggest new kinds of space and states of mind. I love oil paint because of the infinite textures that can be generated, the materiality of it, be it thin glazes or thick layers of colour.
I often work from familiar environments around me, sometimes these can be dramatic and seemingly ‘wild’. However there are so many human traces which shape the land around us, making nothing entirely ‘natural’, and forever intriguing me, with the threat of climate change lurking.
Recent work is particularly involving the form of a tree in the image, and as with other imagery I work with, I am excited by the potential of a painting to reveal a sense of the mythic, mysterious presences of buried histories and intimations of the unknown. I have begun several paintings I think of as tree portraits, which are exploratory, aiming to bring out the presence and associations of trees I encounter.
I am beginning to work my interest in tree and woodland forms to an ongoing preoocupation with ‘contrasts’ – such as the duality of nature being both awe inspiring and vulnerable, our interactions with it and the consequeces. The many traces of activity which have shaped the landscape, making nothing entirely ‘wild’ or ‘natural’, forever intrigues me, with the threat of climate change hard to ignore.
I also may emphasise a sense of mystery around these memories of experience in the way the painting takes focus. A set of branches tied together mystifies and implies a lost hermits shelter, yet I discover they were positioned by woodland management team aiming to encourage ground nesting birds into the woodland. Developing on from this I am beginning now a future series of work where I am exploring what I think of as ‘Biodiversity stories’, finding narratives hidden in the act of landscape painting. For example a bare hill can be seen by some as beautiful though equally others recognise it as barren land, devoid of wildlife due to a history of sheep farming.