My work has always been concerned with the human condition. As an artist we are voyeuristic by nature, watching the world and it workings. I believe in the saying that an artist job is to mirror the world. The making of this reflection and the process of experiencing it, is where art occurs.
In my younger years my work was inspired by images from obvious dramatic newsworthy incidents, but as time went by I realised that sometimes the most life changing moment happens quietly. Someone’s universe ends not with a bang but with a whimper. From an early age I have been fascinated by the little moments. How important the small things are, a brief glimpse, the slightest touch, the perfect word. Having experienced tremendous emotions contained in micro-seconds in time I have focused my art on mirroring those.
My earliest painting influences were the works of the Pre-Raphaelites. Their inspiration from literature was part of it, but mainly I was drawn to the emotional content in their figures. “The Lady of Shallot “ is a painting I visit again and again whenever I am in London. Also the techniques and pallet of earlier masters such as Caravaggio, Ingres and Titian astounded me and still leaves me experiencing Stendhal's syndrome* on occasion.
My technique and process has changed over the years. Early works began with saturated solutions of paint dripping down the canvas creating a loosely controlled base undercoat of transparent colours. This would then be worked over with opaque layers forming the image. The loose freedom of the dripping base has been tightened up in recent paintings but used still on occasions.
In college I began creating a second image under the painting. This was achieved by first drawing with glue in relief on the blank canvas. This was allowed to dry before commencing painting a second image on top. Sometimes the images were complimentary and other times in contrast.
The glue image was replaced over time by glue text and that has been the way for some time. Most of my paintings will feature the underlying text or second image. This created relief can hamper the application of the second image as I am work on an uneven surface. However I think it is worth it as the viewer is drawn in by the innate need to decipher the text and as a result spends more time with my work.
My paintings usually contain at least one figure (bar the landscape pieces where the tree is the representation of the experiencing entity). The settings are mainly interiors, often cramped rooms containing the situation/event and this is further framed by the canvas edge which can create a tension in itself.
My palette has not been limited as to do so I believe would remove it from the natural world. However it has been influenced by certain items/symbols that feature in my work, mainly the peacock feather (the wide variety of colours in this does allow great freedom)and the “All seeing eye”. These two act as polar opposites for me. The peacocks feather containing an eye that is decorative rather than functional (represents those who refuse to see the world) and the “all seeing eye” is a symbol for those people that do (usually artists, writers etc).
I use classical techniques of blending, and tonal work and on occasion have used egg-tempera with my pigments. The introduction of gold-leaf to sections of my paintings is also tribute to past art and adds a different surface again to my work. This mixture of surfaces, images and text are building blocks for all my art
*is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.