I have painted from a very young age – the themes of trees, water and wildlife appearing in my work from these early days. I began a professional career in painting 20 years ago after studying art, followed by environmental science at universities in Manchester. It was during my degree that I realised the need to be creative full time, although the love of the environment and the scientific detail of zoology and ecology remain, and constantly inform my work.
Working mainly on wood panel, recent paintings are often large in scale, with compositions inspired by well-known places. The landscapes have strong structural elements, often framed by trees, balanced by strong light and open space.
Paintings are usually inspired by a specific and often well-known place, with sketches worked up in the studio where more abstract elements evolve. Colours are inspired by the season, location and mood, and heightened to enhance emotion and structure. Central to my work are the balance of colour and form, and just as important are the emotional draw of the landscape and the pure sensation of colour itself. I enjoy the effect of big blocks of colour, graded subtly by the use of large brushes. Increasingly, I employ pale open spaces within a composition, and water reduced down to the essential reflections. I am reliant on tree forms, and feel uncomfortably exposed in a treeless landscape, just as I do in a treeless painting.
In recent years I have returned to my childhood passion of wildlife art, creating vivid and lively compositions of birds alongside my landscape work. The backgrounds are as important as the subject – lush foliage and imagined landscapes – reflecting the joy that I feel when bird watching and seeking out new species. Occasionally a fox or badger appears amongst the trees, hopefully allowing the viewer to glimpse my own feelings and fears for our precious natural habitats.
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