My work considers our relationship with nature, in particular how we experience and interact with wilder landscapes and biodiverse habitats. I explore and research nature reserves; recording and photographing different species and writing poetry to capture fleeting portraits of each visit, building reference material for paintings. I am interested by the sense of calm and restoration that we often feel in nature. Such complex ecosystems, far from overwhelming us, are often viewed as places of escape and relaxation. I try to unravel the aesthetic and sensory elements that create these emotional responses, looking at what makes up the unique character of a location; concepts of transience and shifting atmosphere, depth and mystery, imperfection and patina from weather, decay and growth.
Field studies and studio work use broad abstractions of visual detail, considering the qualities and components of different habitats such as peat bogs, coastland and forest floor. I explore colour and surface detail to create expressive paintings looking beyond visual representation to describe a closer experience. I tend to work across a number of series simultaneously using slightly different paint applications and visual techniques to focus on particular aspects of the landscape, beneath are some examples of this.
A series of paintings celebrating the rich detail, texture and pattern found in natural habitats. I am interested in how these elements combine to make an aesthetic unique to each ecosystem. Despite the complexity and abundance, we tend to experience a sense of calm and restoration in such places; they seem to offer space for reflection. Natural colours found in the reserves help to unify the busy mark making and build the character and narrative, capturing the emotional quality we experience when connecting with nature; whether a sense of unwinding, curiosity or energy. Scumbled layers are built up to reveal depth and texture, movement and light.
A closer look at the landscape from within the reserves; this series focuses on natural lines found with the habitat to move the eye around and describe the processes occurring in nature. They act to guide us through this complex and busy subject matter, beginning to abstract and build information by following contours of ground, plants, rocks and elements such as water. Natural colours from the reserves are used but limited to a slightly reduced palette in order to harmonise the painting, allowing the focus to remain on the linear movement. For closer studies of plants with grouped round forms, the linear pathways are formed from point to point, highlighting the spreading growth and movement.
Paintings made or started in the field, to gather information about colour, texture, and form or as studies for studio paintings. I work mainly with gouache on location as it is water based, quick drying and safe for working in sensitive environments. I like the expressive quality of gouache for making direct studies of the reserves, observing differences in weather, atmosohere, flora and fauna and other elements which change throughout the seasons.
Impressionistic and expressive landscape paintings of reserves and habitats from around Dumfries and Galloway. Capturing the atmosphere of coastland, woodland, moorland and heathland in different weather conditions and at different times of year, this style of painting is wonderful for creating an impression of habitat evoking the emotional response we have to vast wide coastal views with big skies, or enclosed woodland sites surrounded by trees.
Please note: artwork has been reproduced as true to the actual colours as possible, however computer monitors vary and do not necessarily display colours the same way. Artworks can be viewed in person or additional images sent if required.