I was born and raised in Scotland, and although I have not lived there for some years, I maintain a strong affinity with the land of my forefathers. I love walking and working outside in the field, and find myself continually drawn back to the highlands, particularly the west coast where as a teenager I spent many happy days sailing between the islands and exploring the coastline. I love to observe wildlife and collect shells and interesting natural objects from the shorelone.
I also like to make sketches in the field and take photographs as reference to remind me of what it felt like to be there. Our lives revolve around the vagaries of the British climate and Scotland in particular is noted for its variability. In the Western Isles it can be quite extreme, often with sudden changes, creating unexpected light effects and visual excitement. To this day, I continue to walk and observe the landscape, close to home, in Scotland and futher afield, drinking in the atmosphere and
absorbing the sights, smells and sounds of different places. These experiences inevitably find their way into my paintings and prints, whether consciously or otherwise.
Whilst my practice often involves location work, I also make working sketches in the studio from my container collection, or from my imagination. I might also make small print samples from home-made stamps or stencils before I develop my ideas and designs into paintings. This is how I begin my collages and ‘tablescape’ projects. Having started with drawings of a ceramic jug or vase, and a few ideas about colour and pattern, the work gradually evolves as I experiment and try out different configurations and possibilities until I am satisfied with the final composition. I really enjoy this process because I am never quite sure how a painting will turn out. I enjoy problem-solving and the excitement of ‘not knowing’ as I push the painting, adding or subtracting elements along the way until I work it to a conclusion. If it becomes a struggle, I will leave it for a few days until I am ready to return to it with a fresh eye. I often have several paintings on the go at the same time. I also enjoy working with the encaustic process, as it allows me to gradually build a piece with layers of translucent wax, pigments and papers. This tends to be a slower process for me as I make changes and additions over time.