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Skin sense

I have been thinking a lot this year about process and subject matter and intention – oscillating between looser, more gestural works and tighter more illustrative depictions of landscape.

“Oh so you do clouds then” is an often heard remark as curious people walk into my studio. I don’t really encourage this but my door is normally open to maximise daylight and I am yet to get round to some signage. “Beware of the Artist” is increasingly tempting although I imagine I will eventually organise something slightly less grumpy sounding – I am partially tame afterall even when painting. (Side Note: guests are always welcomed by appointment).

I want to say – “I am trying to catch and communicate experiences of being in the world – to celebrate the dizzying glory, peace, everyday magic, or solace of it and the paintings just happen to be land and sky when you stand away from them. Up close they are skins of marks. Layers of time and a process of adding and removing.  Some are quiet, others loud. They are the thud of heart, mind and breath; the beat of feet. My intention is to invite you to pause and be and be immersed. To remember. To reconnect with your own experience of land, sky and weather… The moment of art for me is where you bring your meaning to the painting. I am entirely addicted to that transformation of a painting through your eyes.” But I suspect that most people sticking their heads into someone’s studio don’t want to have a ‘deep and meaningful’, nor be reminded of their own impermanence, and I try not to growl or howl at them.

The paintings evolve from a combination of visual experience as well as smell, touch, hearing and taste. I call this skin sense. The question is how one communicates a sense of air, sunlight and rain on skin; leaf mould, mist or the dry heat of summer crackling in your nostrils; the scree of a red kite, the clicks and chatters of swallows or the roar and rustle of leaves. In creating landscape or skyscape inspired works these elements seem even more important. They are not found in the literal depiction of the curve of a hill, or a specific scene. They are caught in the inbetween: the buzz of colour, the unsaid or obliterated, the layering of marks. They are completed by what the viewer brings to the painting of their own imagination and experience. I am not there yet, but each painting is a step on the journey getting closer (or sometimes further away) from intention.

I look forward to sharing new works with you at The Other Art Fair next week – 4-7 October. Here is a sneak peak…


Studio shot. From left –
Red Kite Calling
Towards the dying of the light
Sky Mind.