My artwork usually begins on a board which gives me the scope to both carve lines into it, which isn’t possible with a canvas, and also to mis-shapen it if I wish. Then I start to layer up the textures, overlapping torn pieces of paper and fragments of card, using pastes, gesso, cotton, wire, string or nails to make each piece work. I love getting lost in the texturing process, aiming to create an intriguing surface full of feeling, movement and hoping to evoke an emotional experience in the viewer, through how the materials fall on the board, both intentionally and through happy accidents. At some point I might then rip off certain textures which can add further depths, cracks and crevasses and add to the expression of the piece. True life news clippings or accounts of lives from parish records from the 19th century might then be woven in amidst the layers.
I like portraying old, weather-worn, isolated and derelict cottages, farms or outbuildings using textures to capture the scene. My aim is to put into my art the deep experience we have when we are absorbed by something so moving and captivating – a something we cannot put into words as it does not do justice to the experience we are having. Overall my intention is to put into my pieces, feelings we have when we see beauty in nature and in our history, crumbling plaster and the traces of peeling paint inside a dilapidated farmhouse past repair, a collapsed roof of an old, abandoned cottage that has it’s rafters exposed or an old, tumbledown dry stone wall where the remains of the building nearby can barely be traced under our feet.
I’m inclined towards a mix of media, acrylics or inks, before bringing the piece together with the use of oils. This process creates the depths and ages my artwork, with textures being revealed from underneath the pigment. I use a limited palette when it comes to colour, very often inclined towards blues and browns. I also like to experiment with the effects that wire, scraping, wiping and sanding can have on the mood of a piece often using my hands, rags or spatulas rather than a brush.
With my earlier figurative work I enjoyed capturing the body as if it were a landscape. Then I began to experiment with deeper textures and thus began my run-down harbour scenes and seascapes, which evolved into old mills and factories. Of late, I find myself drawn towards dark and moody landscapes with isolated cottages and farmsteads and with this a slight return to my earlier, less deeply textured pieces.