Influences and techniques
I grew up in a village in Lancashire and have been making art in various forms for as far back as I can remember. I went on to study fine art at Liverpool John Moores University and shortly after graduating I moved to Barcelona and began to paint the sea. At that time, I didn't envision making a living from my artwork and by day I worked as a language consultant and business English teacher, but all my spare time was spent painting. I juggled this type of work with maintaining my creative practice for several years.
Whilst living in Spain I became involved in an art collective, sharing a gallery space and staging regular shows. I think this period of time was really important to me in terms of developing a substantial body of work that I felt represented me and what I wanted to express.
After a couple of years, I decided to try and push myself a little further and began writing to galleries back in the UK. I was offered an exhibition in London which was well-received, and things started developing professionally for me from then on.
My paintings are always inspired by real places but in a symbolic way rather than trying to replicate them. For the most part, the images are imagined and evocative of journeys and pathways with unknown destinations and blurred horizons. Often, I am trying to capture light.
I paint in oil and love it for its vibrancy and intense colour pigment which you don't really get in other types of paint. I also like to experiment with texture and recently I've been using marble dust and cold wax medium to create different effects. Along with brushes I also use impasto gels and a palette knife or scraper tools to make interesting surface qualities. I like contrasts so will have heavily textured areas juxtaposed with smooth layers to create more impact.
Depending on the piece I will often start with an underpainting- which could just be a light wash of colour that will show through and complement the subsequent layers of paint. If I'm adding texture, I usually do that in the beginning stages and allow it to dry before working over the top.
My influences are diverse and numerous. Music features heavily and is always playing in my studio or at home. One of my earliest inspirations would have to be the work of the abstract expressionist painters of the 1950's, in particular, Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn. Their belief was that art should come from the unconscious mind and its purpose should be to create an emotional response in the viewer. That directness of expression combined with the physicality of the paint and the effects it could make really resonated with me and still does now. I don't create work that is truly abstract, but I do share those principles and my work is created in a very instinctive and intuitive way.