Painting is a way to express the elements in myself that are often buried in the subconscious, and I look to the landscape and the weather not just because they are things of wonder and beauty, but because they reflect my own wandering moods, be they light or dark. I make the work primarily for myself to free these feelings, and when a painting feels right then I feel at one.
Exhibiting your work can make you feel vulnerable as you are sharing your deepest personal expression, but at the same time there’s an undeniable need to want to connect with anyone who might be moved by what you have offered. I work in a fairly abstracted way which certainly reflects at least some of my own thought patterns, and what appeals to me about most art forms are things that seep into the consciousness slowly, which aren’t obvious, which perhaps you only get a suggestion of initially, and don’t tell you the whole story straight away, but which at the same time intrigue and move you and give you a deeper perception of what it is to be human.
I think that painting is also a way to have somewhere other to go in a world full of distractions and chatter. We live with an overload of information and communication, and while those can be good or useful things, the need to divulge our every waking thought and action has reached extreme levels and one is led to ask, where is the quiet and the inner reflection? Painting gives me this. They are made from a combination of swiftly made sketches in the field, and photographs. From the drawing a painting will begin to emerge, sometimes changing in mood or composition, but always with a sense that in time, something will appear which resonates. I may then focus on one area of the drawing that excites in terms of colour and form and produce a painting from that. So although based on real places, the paintings are becoming, increasingly, landscapes of the soul.
The process itself can be equal parts joy and despair – it can be arduous and dark. When it works it’s wonderful, when it doesn’t it’s a giant, obstructive and overwhelming beast, that won’t always be tamed. Sometimes it’s better to let it crash through the woods and exhaust itself. Then there are the places it can lead you to that you didn’t expect, and those can be some of the most rewarding. It would appear that without this ongoing back and forth storm-tossed path, challenging though it always is, the journey wouldn’t be half as interesting and really I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My forthcoming exhibition at the Minster Gallery, in Winchester is entitled ‘Elemental’. This will be my second solo show there and I’m delighted to have been asked back.
The exhibition runs from May 19-June 12, with a Private View on Friday, May 19, 12pm-3pm and 6pm-9pm. minstergallery.com.