I am an artist living in Aberystwyth, exploring the local landscape through the medium of paint and collage. My paintings are about West Wales: the landscape, the coast, the ecology. I am inspired by local colour, plant life, weather.
Plants are often a subject in my work. My fascination with plants began as a child growing up on a small island and this enthusiasm was nurtured through a degree in ecology and a period of working at the Eden project and some volunteer work in the tropics. My home habitat is maritime heath and lowland heath, I spent my childhood in landscapes dominated by bracken, heather and gorse. The colour palette of these landscapes is warm and familiar.
My work stems partly from a wish to demonstrate the beauty of the local environment to the viewer, but increasingly my focus is turning inwards, to a more personal celebration of ecology and place.
When we think of ecology, environment, landscape, it is inevitable that it brings up ideas connected with climate change and climate injustice. I don’t intentionally make political statements with my work, in fact I rarely include overt signs of human presence in my paintings. But it’s not possible to escape these ideas. If anything, my work is about consolation. Distraction from ecological grief. There is some nostalgia there. Wanting to return to carefree childhood days spent lying in long grass.
I often begin a painting by working directly from observation. I carry a small sketchbook and make quick pencil drawings on location. I also work from childhood memories, drawing on recollections of places visited long ago to conjure up landscapes.
I make mental notes while out walking. Sometimes I scribble down hasty drawings in a Moleskine. Colours, shapes, textures are logged in my memory. When I come to put them down on paper there is a vagueness that I like. More faithful to my feeling of a place than to its actual appearance. I enjoy the textures that can be created with paint. I have started to play with monoprinting as a way to produce different surfaces and as a way to reduce paint waste. I employ collage a lot in my work, to manipulate and rearrange compositions. I like the fractured, layered effect that collage produces. I draw back into paintings with crayons, pencils and other mark making tools, or scrape back paint with a palette knife or the back of a paintbrush.
For a behind-the-scenes look at my process and some of the inspiration for my work, take a peek at my series of ‘Studio Vlogs’ over on YouTube. Click here to watch over on my channel