I often notice little tableaux… a busker… a guy taking a photo of his girlfriend… women lost in conversation… moments out of other people’s lives that resonate with my own. For me, it’s their mundanity that captures essential human life. These ordinary moments are what it’s all about. I carry them back with me and then play with the remembered images to try to express the feelings they’ve stimulated.
I also like to work with memory – though not as a mere record of past events. I find that memories are visual but, like dreams, can be difficult to pin down. I often do a series of preparatory sketches to try to assemble the visual elements in a way that reflects what I feel. Colour is, of course, fundamental. Sometimes, I use old family photographs as a kind of personal time machine…! Some of these images become iconic for me, in that I find myself turning them over and over again in my mind, as if they are gateways to important aspects of life.
I often combine figuration with abstracted colour and design to distill scenes into deceptively simple pieces. I really enjoy the two dimensional surface, and I like subverting the traditional simulation of depth and form. I’ve always loved the iconic quality of good black and white photos so my early work incorporated something of that – leaving compositional space for me to indulge my passion for colour.
I love the physicality of oil paint. After exploring a new idea with preparatory sketches, I approach the final painted piece with an open mind – open to allowing the paint to direct how it might develop. I have the most fun when I get into a conversation with a piece – I might plan to go one way, but then it asks me for something different.