Primarily a landscape artist, I see painting as a way of giving praise to the natural world and of deepening my relationship with the local countryside and it’s natural history.
My creative journey often begins with an unexpected moment of ‘ignition’. This usually happens whilst walking with my husband, Gio, and our dog, Georges, in the treasured and often hidden away places found near our home on the Dorset/Somerset border. Within such periods of reverie it may be an unusual arrangement of colours or shapes that draws my attention or may simply stem from tuning in to the energy and light of a particular place. I usually return many times to the same spot – simply staying there quietly and letting it speak to me. People’s lives are becoming increasingly hectic and stressful at present and it seems so important to spend more time within nature and simply ‘be’ in the present moment. Creating artwork outside directly encourages this.
I begin by making a series of observational, working studies on site, mainly preparatory drawings and watercolours. This is an essential part of my art making process. It not only imbues the final works with a certain authenticity in staying true to the visual world, it also allows me to turn inwards and contact my inner self during the quiet periods spent working outside in the land. This initial stage requires a particular dynamic, alchemical immediacy when dealing with the natural elements – the wind and rain perhaps or falling leaves, even wandering insects – all play their part as the work progresses. I use an array of mixed media at this point, raw earth materials and utensils found close at hand in nature – twigs, leaves and feathers to capture the essence of the place. As we become closer to nature we often draw closer to our deeper selves and so the initial studies often become springboards for further pieces of work back in the studio as specific themes and metaphors are developed and visual memories and emotions are woven into the work.
Once in the studio, I begin by working quite spontaneously on canvas or wooden panels creating pools of colour, balancing the free, gestural nature of the paint with specific attention paid to composition, colour harmony and surface texture. Guided by my intuition, I build continual layers and then rub them back in order for an abstracted image to reveal itself. The surface can become quite rich and enlivened at this point producing unexpected qualities and a life of its own.
During my periods of drawing in the natural world alone and running small groups, I have become so aware of the creative ‘busi-ness’ of nature and of the constant flow of creativity in the universe from macrocosm to microcosm. I believe this creative process to be a natural and in-born one in human beings, and one that, given the contemplative space and encouragement to develop, can directly enhance the quality of people’s lives. I hope that in some way both my painting and teaching work can re-kindle a love for our world and appreciation of the creative force itself which can offer such potential for personal and collective growth.