My work is a response to my surroundings and both locations where I work, in Oaks Park on the outskirts of London and a workplace in rural South-West France, offer ample opportunity to observe and experience flowers, seed heads, weeds and leaves, but also to soak up the atmosphere and be immersed in the wider landscape. I usually never paint on location, but I do make sketches and take lots of photographs. The paintings are almost always made in the studio.
I don’t necessarily start a painting based on concrete ideas; they owe much to occasional 'happy accidents'. Very often in my paintings nothing is as it seems. Fractions from the landscape appear larger than life. Flowers and organic forms, seemingly captured in the work, tend to 'escape' again when they are carried by the wind, explode, or appear to float off the canvas, thus producing their own momentum. Whereas I used to hone in on small sections of hedgerows or fields, taking maybe one flower and giving it a life of its own, I am now trying to reflect a wider view of the rural area in southwest France where I spend several months a year living and working. My stable studio there looks out over a court yard with trees and low hills with undulating fields beyond. I want to capture the feel of the wide open spaces but also still zoom in on small areas with a more intimate feel about them. I realize that space is very important to me and I tend to try and find ways of accentuating this.
Never truly representational, my paintings are both traces and re-interpretations of the impressions accumulated in my memory. I am moved by colour, shape and pattern, all elements which might kick-start a new piece of work, which is then allowed to follow its own direction. I find colour very seductive and I use it to introduce an emotional dimension, to express or emphasize a mood, but also purely for its sensual pleasure.
Over the years the paintings of Michael Porter, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, but also the early work of Fiona Rae and Patrick Heron have inspired me and informed my own practice.