My work is about enjoying painting. I have spent many years since graduating trying to undo the need to give meaning and dialogue to my creations, to have to explain and rationalise a deeply personal subconscious process so that the viewer can try to understand what I am trying to say. I want the viewer to engage in the way that has meaning for them, allowing the painting to trigger their own thoughts and emotions without a direction for how they should ‘see it’ from me. As I move through life, I experience a satisfaction and greater understanding from not thinking but feeling and this awareness has had a great influence on my work.
I paint spontaneously laying colour down and working the surface until forms emerge that inform me of the direction the painting will take. I allow the canvas to take on a life of its own and to surprise me along the way. Through this process, memories of drawing in the landscape, the sensations of being there, the colours, edges of forms, growth and decay, the emotional growth within me as I move through various life stages and gain a greater sense of myself all seep into the work and spill out into the paint. I only know when the painting is finished when it works to me with no fixed idea of how I expected it to be.
I am influenced by so many people. I wrote about Hans Hofmann for my dissertation as part of my Fine Art degree in 1998 where I questioned whether our perception of space on a two-dimensional surface is controlled by colour relations and subjective sensation alone or whether space exists through an interrelationship of colour and form through the presence of geometric boundaries and underlying structural principles. I analysed various artists who influenced Hofmann’s work alongside his paintings to try to answer this question and my findings still inform my work and approach to painting today. Colour has always been important to me. Its ability to evoke feeling and create depth, often with limited structural form has been a fascination for many years.
This leads me to Turner who has always inspired me with his ability to evoke so much emotion and depth through his use of colour, space and light. I admire Whistler for his subtle use of colour and limited palette in evoking a sense of space, mood and time, Klimt for his composition and detail, John Virtue for his energetic mark making and evocation of a seen place creating both a tension and harmony between the abstract and the figurative and James Judge a contemporary artist whose abstract works excite me with their use of colour and composition. There are so many other artists who have inspired me and continue to do so. There are too many to list. Sometimes it can be a small seed of inspiration that ends up informing a whole series of my paintings or my work ends up being an eclectic mix of many influences with a large dollop of me added in to the mix.