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, observing the wildlife and collecting shells and interesting natural objects from the shore.
To this day, I continue to walk and observe the landscape, in Scotland and elsewhere, drinking in the atmosphere and absorbing the sights, smells and sounds of similar places. I like to make sketches in the field and take photographs as reference to remind me of what it felt like to be there. The weather is known for its variability, and can often be quite extreme, creating unexpected light effects and visual excitement. 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 and 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 an idea, and a few ideas about a colour or pattern, the work gradually evolves as I try out and experiment with different configurations until I am satisfied with the final piece. I really enjoy this process because I am never quite sure how a painting will turn out. I enjoy the problem-solving aspect and the excitement of ‘not knowing’ as I push the painting, taking risks along the way until I work it to a conclusion, or if it becomes a struggle, I will leave it for a while until I am ready to return to it with a fresh eye. 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 is a slower process and can be added to over time.