When looking for subject matter for my paintings I am searching for an emotive response to something. This can be from holiday snaps, a walk, old photographs, newspaper clippings or a painting from the history of art. I have a plan chest in my studio full of these images which I keep knowing that I will one day use them. As time passes the images can become distorted or lose there original referant or alternatively be more poignant. They can take me back to a time where I can access emotions within those things. There is an ontology happening within those images.
The process of the paintings plays a big part. As I start a painting I make a fast expressive fluid painting capturing chance aspects within the paint and brush work. I then add multiple layers and reinforce the image and then distort it through washes of paint. When dry I sand the surface down and add bleach. This process is a physical manifestation of the memory working. Only certain things can be seen I like to see this as searching for gold or excavation for the treasure remaining.
My biggest recent project has been going to Spain where we have been going with family for most of my life. We go to the same place but travel around Spain from that spot in Valencia region. I’m fascinated in Spanish culture, landscape and food.i started to document my journeys their 5 years ago and started to make sketches, pastel and oil paintings on paper while there then making large scale works in my studio back in Hove East Sussex. Using memory as a tool to develop painting.
I have always been interested in travel and discovering new landscape, culture and food. Even the family holiday makes me take a fresh look at things. I was invited to do an art residency in 2006 by the arts Tom Hammick (who’s is a great friend) in Newfoundland which prompted this interest. I am influenced by artists that travel. Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, Doig and Offili in Trinidad, Bomberg in Spain. This human need to want to escape but also reconnect resonates with me and I think a universal want. Even more now than ever.
During lockdown I have found new inspiration in Sussex. I have been on solitary walks, cycle rides and have been searching for new subject matter within the changing seasons and landscape here. I’m reading literature on the philosophy of walking like Walking by Henry David Thoreau, Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit. I’m making works relating to these writings.