My goal as a fine art painter is to make work that is meaningful, accessible, and personal; work that you can understand in your own way without fear of being wrong. I try to achieve this by making studies from the real, and most often, natural world and blending them with elements from my imagination, either from past experiences or from pure fantasy. In some ways this means I am telling my own story, but as i discovered when pursuing my passion throughout my undergraduate degree, more often than not, I encouraged viewers to unearth their own thoughts, memories and stories; interpretations that were often the subject of heated debate. This is because I employ unconcluded narrative as a device to confound a single reading of the story. Instead, I try to paint the ignition points of narrative from which a vast array or individual stories, memories or imaginings might spring.
Since I was a child I have been fascinated by stories. I loved fairytales, first for they apparent simplicity, but later because I could return to them and extract new meaning as my life experience and understanding expanded. I have never intended to paint scenes from the stories we all know and love. Perhaps if I did i might have become a full time, rather than occasional, illustrator, but I continue to be curious about what makes the genre so enduring and well loved right around the globe. In my studies during my Masters Degree I have read a great deal about the origins of stories and my interest in socio-narratology, that is the study of stories and how they work within societies and with individuals, continues to grow. This study feeds directly in to my practice, as I am dedicated to making paintings that are dialogical, seeking open minded, interpretive and self reflective viewers with whom they can converse.
Recently, I have actively engaged with the language of illustration, both in drawing style and in my choice of colour. I have begin to use India Ink in my paintings, which has clear links to artists and illustrators going back to the Golden Age of Illustration. However, rather than using the tried and tested combination of ink and watercolour, I am combining the sue of ink with a much more traditional medium: egg tempera. This means building up thin layers of transparent paint on a snow-white gesso ground, which allowing light to penetrate the paint and bounce back from the gesso making the images shine, giving the impression that we might be peering into little windows into other worlds.
By using this language in a Fine Art arena, I have discovered that my paintings are often met with curiosity but also with relief. Something about the illustrative link takes us back to a time when we could leaf through picture books, perhaps reading the words, or perhaps making up stories of our own. It is this spirit of uninhibited exploration I would invite you to keep in mind as you view my work. The paintings are not designed to be “understood” or to catch you out. The brush strokes are mine, but the stories are yours, and I always love to hear them.