I make art because it is a natural thing for me to do. To create pictures is to be involved in a strange, wonderful and mysterious activity and the act of image making deepens the sense of mystery and fascination we all experience in our lives.
I have traveled widely and been inspired by many different places; the countries in which I have lived and worked are inevitably present in my work. They appear and reappear, even when my focus and attention seems to be elsewhere.
In my painting, I don't attempt to describe a particular place or geographical location. I am more interested in personal experiences, the shapes, the colours and the textures that can be combined to create unexpected visual outcomes. I try to achieve a feeling of time passing, of change in the midst of permanence, and permanence in the midst of change.
The visible world is only the outer layer that confronts our eyes. When we begin to talk about seeing and perception, we quickly realise that what we see, is only a part of the story, just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t just see what is directly in front of us, we see in relation to ourselves, our past, and our experiences. If my paintings have an uncertain quality then I may have made some progress; nothing in our world stays the same, nothing is fixed.
This is where the real magic and power of art resides, in the alchemy of materials, memory, awareness and feeling. This is why painting is ultimately so rewarding.
I hope you will find qualities in my painting that give you pleasure and enjoyment.
This is a mixed-media landscape painting on a 61cm x 61cm deep edge canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is based on my day to day experience of living in the dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire in England. The word ’till’ is interchangeable with ‘until’ and I have tried to reflect both meanings in this piece. Working with the land is about understanding time and intervals of time, it is about rhythms of activity and inactivity, of waiting, of anticipating……until. It can also refer to a vault; a place to hold treasure.
The heavy texture of the painting combines gesso, sand, plaster, marble dust, bitumen and oil paint. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in layers and glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.
There are no hills in the Fenlands, but here and there low ridges break the flatness. In our fevered imaginations these 5 to 10 metres of reluctant altitude become the golden hills of a shared aspiration. Keen cyclists who have lived here far longer than they really ought to, speak of ‘brutally steep inclines’, ‘body position’ and ‘low gear momentum’. As painters, we take liberties with the time/space continuum…..creating our own interpretation of events. It isn’t a translation, its more of a transcription. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
I completed this relatively large acrylic piece about 2 years ago and it is definitely lighter and more colourful than my recent work. Generally abstract in terms of technique it is loosely based on the rhythms and cycles of growth seen in nature. I guess we all go through cycles in our approach to painting – and life – moving between what might be considered irrational exuberance and returning to the safe haven of sober reflection.
The surface is built up with impasto medium, combined with tissue, leaves, newsprint and card. In the later stages, translucent glazes have been added to increase the perception of depth and luminosity. I have long since arrived at the conclusion that my fascination with Cubism and Futurism is inherent in everything I do creatively.
In April 2018, I completed a two week residency in the New Forest. The residency was awarded to the winner of a competition organised by the UK based company ‘Little Van Gogh’. I was given the opportunity to work in a studio located above a blacksmiths workshop near the village of Ashurst in the New Forest. This was a wonderful experience in many ways and an extremely productive period for me creatively. I am still working on paintings and ideas that have developed from the residency and I will be holding an exhibition of the completed works next year. View my New Forest Series here.
This is a painting about perception and movement, about how we catch glimpses of the world around us and then proceed to construct a reality we can live with. I cycle most days – you know the bike is surely one of our greatest inventions – covering about 10 miles or so at a fairly leisurely pace. I enjoy being in and moving through the landscape, experiencing the changes in light and colour each day inevitably brings. Sometimes around this time of year, the sky is an intense blue and the warm sun flickers through the gaps between trees and hedgerows. Even at my pedestrian pace, I rarely register details, just a kaleidoscopic collection of shapes, colours and textures bombarding the retina. The futurists knew a thing or two about the art of seeing.
The materials include: oil paint, cold wax, metallic enamel.
I am currently working on this relatively large painting in my studio. It is based on the extensive fields of barley, maize and wheat surrounding the small city of Ely here in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. I have tried to show the intensity of the warm golden colours we experience at this time of year and also achieve a lustrous paint surface. You will note that this work has little connection with photographic reproduction but is more concerned with the exuberance of growth, the fecundity and entanglement found in nature. The materials I work with are unconventional but offer the potential for inspirational outcomes if unexpected and unpredictable. The role of chance in a painting like this is critical and I am constantly alert to the interplay of line, tone and texture, that in my view, create the warp and weft of a successful image.
The materials include oil paint, plaster, bitumen, metallic enamel, cold wax, pumice stone.
In the Cambridgeshire Fenlands I often stumble across defunct and discarded farm machinery, sometimes surfacing, sometimes sinking, like forgotten clusters of alien bones amidst fields of wheat and barley.
A Fenland house possessing all the pretension and self-importance of a full-sized house. I could see Dougal having a problem with the scale of this one… Is it small? Or far away? Who lives in a house like this?