I like to touch my paintings, with both palms, between the layers of paint. They feel vibrant, and emotional. They talk to me. Somehow they reach deep inside my head. It’s an intimate conversation. They’re an extension of me but have a life of their own. If anyone else touched them, I would feel betrayed.
My paintings are a personal discovery, but I hope the viewer will experience their own journey, and through their own engagement create something beyond the canvas in front of them. The best distance to do this is to stand approximately three feet from the canvas.
I paint in short sessions, to allow the paint to dry. Often I work with two or three colours on the brush and allow them to mix on application: with acrylics I don’t want the layers to blur, so swift strikes are used. I’m seeking depth, like foliage, or distant stars. I used to paint in very wet watercolours, but I was a different person then.
I try to build texture into the layers, with strokes laid across each other and using occasional palette blades. Ultimately this allows serendipity to take control of the detail, and forge unexpected and intricate patterns, like breath across the bark of a tree.
I love creating detailed black and white ink figures, but with paint I prefer the adventure of abstract expressionism. I use thick, bristly brushes; Spanish Estrada are my favourite: they feel beautiful, a gentle weight of in my hand, loaded with colour, for many layers until the last few sessions when I start dry brushing across the found textures. There’s a definite point where the painting takes over and tells me to stop. Sadly, I don’t always listen.
In the last few years the subject matter has always the same, but from many different perspectives: the echoes and origins of the universe. I’m preoccupied by the beginnings of life and time, and the pre-eternal, the state before the beginning. I write fiction too, and the art and the stories dwell on the same themes: being not being, action in inaction, present not present. Somehow the paint allows me to see more that just the words on their own.
Although I strive to impose a structure across complexity I seek connections in everything. I dislike formalism and elitism, anything that smacks of establishment or institution: I paint outside the art world, as part of a global community of artists and creators, connected through social media. My direct influencers are Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter, William Blake but art is a sensibility, which might find a voice in music, poetry or paint, or in many simultaneous artistic expressions: it’s such a powerful force it survives the strict definition.
I’ve just completed a series of 12 acrylic paintings, the Instrument series, and am planning a short series of four which explores the connections between hidden places and shadows.