Colours were my first love yet, during my fine art studies, the teachers in drawing and sculpture inspired me the most and I went on to complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art – Sculpture in London.
It was the vivid landscapes of Southern France that drew me back to painting. Ten years surrounded by silvery vineyards and tree lined roads gave me chance to observe the warm, strong light which vibrates through everything causing colours to gain fullness and importance. The majestic plane trees lining the Canal du Midi and their tragic felling was my muse for many years, but that chapter is closing.
Now, in Berlin, the forests surrounding the city have begun to whisper to me. Secretive and mysterious, guardians of history, dark and yet full of intrigue.
My new work investigates the fragile symbiosis between humans and our environment.
In trying to represent the ancient relationship between trees and mankind, a technical problem has presented itself: As soon as the figure steps into the landscape it risks becoming a ‘scene’, a mere backdrop to the human narrative. How can I introduce a human presence without an undesirable shift towards the Kitsch or Romantic? How can I keep trees as the ‘hero’ of the composition?
Answer: Scale. If the human presence is very small by comparison to the trees, I can use our tendency to identify with the human element in artwork to say “Look, we are really small, isn’t that beautiful?!”
Humanity’s domination over the planet in the last centuries has brought us to the brink of destruction. We are slow to recognise that our most healthy position is within nature, not to dominate rather, to participate; one element in a sustaining ecosystem. These paintings should be uplifting and at the same moment humbling.
I paint with oil on canvas, am enthralled by the effects of shadow and light and intrigued by the shift in perspective that the camera lens can give us. That takes us right back to Caravaggio and his legacy. (…via Hockney, working backwards.)
In the past, paintings were commissioned by churches to educate, inspire reverence and encourage people to turn from one way of doing things to another. My most recent paintings have a similar aim; to be a call for personal change in our own times, acting as modern day altar pieces, if you will. They ask us to respect something greater than ourselves, namely the trees which enable us to breathe and the planet which sustains us.
I am honoured to have paintings in private collections on nearly every continent and enjoy working on both private commissions and bodies of work for annual exhibitions.