Atop Glen Rosa
Having grown up in an artistic family in the thriving art colony of St Ives, Cornwall, drawing and painting has always been a part of my life and a way of connecting with the surrounding landscape. Taught by my grandfather, father and uncle, my earliest memories involve a pad and paint. A move from the rugged beauty of the Cornish coast to the diverse landscape of New Zealand in my twenties, helped me focus my work and on my return to St Ives in 2001, I set up my studio and began painting full time.
Many years later, I am now living in another landscape with its own unique quality; the stunning South Downs and this move has marked a change in my work. In Cornwall my pieces were abstract in style and although based on studies of the landscape of the area, were predominantly painted in the studio, in impasto applied acrylic. Now, I mostly work 'plein air' using acrylic or Indian ink and my work is largely figurative. In my abstract work, I am drawn to the colour and texture of my subjects, rather than the form, whereas in my figurative painting, I strive to capture a sense of the atmosphere of a place; the play of light, the curve of a valley, the fluidity of the sky. I want the piece to draw the viewer in to the scene, as I was and feel they are linked to the landscape: connected not apart. As a medium, Indian ink is perfectly suited to such an aim, allowing a wonderful play of light and dark, movement and stillness with just the use of a broken stick and some water. Highly addictive.
I now divide my working year between two very different landscapes: the rolling South Downs and the dramatic glens and coastline of the Isle of Arran in Scotland. In Arran I spend the winter months based in a 350 year old croft in beautiful Glen Rosa, capturing the diverse scenery of this small island from Glen to coast. Here in Sussex, I track the seasons in my work inland from the Downs, out to the many estuaries that pepper the Sussex coastline.