“The fine line which separates figuration and abstraction interests me; time, place, weather and light alongside gesture, glimpse and memory. The subjects are only the starting points – sometimes small insignificant details or texture triggers a complete piece.”
I made my first prints alongside master printer Stanley Jones at the renowned Curwen Studio in Cambridgeshire before going on several courses to study the drypoint and carborundum technique. After winning The Julian Trevelyan Award at Originals 2008 (at the Mall Galleries in London) I decided to focus on my printmaking, working with Leicester Print Workshop who specialise in carborundum printing.
Chance and accident in my work are embraced and enjoyed. I don’t draw much or plan anything out and when I start a work I’m never quite sure where it will take me. Although my prints are inspired by the landscape, my emphasis is on abstraction and texture. I use natural earth colours – greys, browns, blues – to suggest the unique feel of a place, to capture a fleeting moment.
“I try to capture the atmosphere of the British landscape. The transient mood and light of the four seasons is what I aim to achieve in my paintings. I hope to convey the feelings of the place and not it’s description.”
My inspiration comes from many places – the Saltmarshes of North Norfolk, the Pembrokeshire coast, or on walks closer to home in Essex – but the location itself isn’t that important. I want to convey an atmosphere – the essence of the place – and to capture the mood and light of a particular moment rather than its topography. The subjects are only the starting points, sometimes a small insignificant detail or texture – a thorn bush by a path or twigs poking through the snow – triggers a new print.
I first became aware of the drypoint and carborundum technique in the work of Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies and in prints by Miro. I also admire Howard Hodgkin and Irish artist Hughie O’Donoghue – all take a different subject matter but all use carborundum in their printmaking.
More recently, rather than looking to other fine artists, I’ve been finding inspiration in Japanese pottery, and the decorative thick calligraphic brush strokes used on Japanese ceramics. Mark making is important in my work.
I used to run a live music venue in Wales and music is very important to me. In the studio I listen to jazz and pop while I work and I especially like Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel. Sometimes the lyrics inform the work or provide a title for a print.