Beautiful Morning, Kildonan
I have always been drawn to the sea and the life that nestles close to it. I love the sense of space and well being that it gives me. As a surfer, I feel a deep, emotional connection to the sea and have a healthy respect for its many moods. It keeps me humble.
In my work, I aim to capture the immensity and elemental qualities of the ocean in all its raw and untamable beauty. I would like to take you with me on a quiet wander along peaceful sands or share the powerful energy of huge, crashing waves. Every painting has a stage where I can almost feel the transfer of energy from me to the canvas, with each piece carrying a little piece of my soul and my wish to share with you the spirit of the sea. Sometimes, as I wander the Scottish coastline, it is a boat, a building or a tiny flower that captures my imagination. I make pencil, charcoal, watercolour or small oil sketches. Sometimes these studies become a finished piece, as I love to work 'en plein air' at the location, and other times they serve as a reference for further development in the studio. Inspiration for my large waves comes mainly from the world of surfing. I will watch footage of a wave over and over, studying the movement of the water just before and immediately after the image I want to create, hoping to capture that fleeting moment in between. Once I begin painting, however, the wave will often take on a life of its own and it becomes a very fluid dialogue as to where the water will take me!
As my work continues to develop, I am becoming increasingly drawn to the magic of mark making and the interaction of colours. A sense of location is still important to me, yet I am becoming freer and more experimental in my journey from place to painting. Even with close to 30 years of painting, it is still a challenge to capture the movement and light in such constantly changing scenes.
My early influences include the dynamic seascapes of William MacTaggart, the brooding impasto work of Emil Nolde and the incredible skies of William Turner. I even followed in the footsteps of MacTaggart to recreate his vision of Kintyre.
My relationship and dialogue with the sea is one that I will never tire of, and I consider myself blessed that it continues to enrich my life. I hope that, through my art, I can bring a little of its spirit to you.