I take constant joy and inspiration from the sea and my surroundings, so these are paintings are quite personal in a way, almost a visual diary. The work and styles may vary, but my aim is to encapsulate the essence of the places I visit and observe, and to allow you an insight into how I explore a subject at the outset. This project is limited to 100 unique pieces at €100.Each is 15cm X 20cm Acrylic on board (signed, unframed), numbered and logged for my records. I've always believed that original artwork should be affordable for all, and selling at these prices allows me to buy materials for other more large scale projects. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you wish to purchase or arrange a studio visit. All work is for sale unless otherwise stated in the caption.
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Mixed Media Drawings. (Moments from the Flux series)
Primarily interested in colour, I engage with the landscape in a very tactile way, to explore what the very ground I walk on has to offer me in the way of pigment and textures. I was pleasantly surprised by the range of tones and marks I discovered at the beginning of this project, and continued to experiment with other natural materials; earth, clay, moss etc. There is something deliciously challenging about using something that has already burned out to symbolise something as eternal as the natural world.
This series of studies was made with a combination of red turf ash and charcoal made from wood collected on my wanderings. I learned that there are so many beautifully subtle tones to be found in nature, that I didn't need my paintbox.
I attempt to explore and respond to stimuli: paint is deconstructed and reconstructed; ideas stem from studying as I walk, and each new engagement leads to a new understanding of my habitat, made clearer by the process of painting, an extremely physical means of transforming the visual, the spatial and the temporal. Recently, I visited a Robert Motherwell retrospective in London, and something he said, ‘the best way to imitate nature is to employ its own processes,’ struck a chord with me, perhaps because he articulated my tendency to utilise and to challenge the physicality of paint whilst harvesting my representation of a landscape, for example, from either memory or a photograph or a sketch. Imagery becomes ambiguous, and colour and form is a reconstruction of that experience. I seek to allow a space for the viewer to engage, to have empathy with how I explore a subject at the outset. Herodotus said you cannot step into the same river twice, and it is the same with each painting. It is arguable that the journey of a painting only truly begins when it prompts a kind of indirect dialogue between the viewer and the artist. I am fortunate that as an artist I am also an inveterate traveller. In preparation for a recent exhibition 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' (April 2015), I spent six weeks travelling and recording the almost kaleidoscopic colours of the rich and diverse and challenging archipelago that is the Philippines. The sea as a primer, or a tremor, or a repository of endless inspiration, is a constant in my work, though its presence or influence is not necessarily apparent. The sea is also a perfect metaphor for the raison d’etre of why I have always liked to travel: it is infinite, as is the unknown, so when I travel I am naturally drawn to new discoveries, to enjoying the rich retinal sensation of being an artist standing before another exquisite concoction of nature. Engagement becomes the essence of memory, and stands me in good stead when I return to the crucible of my studio and the outpouring before the blank canvas is a distillation of what I hope is a curious mind. Being lost according to Rebecca Solnit, the title of whose book ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’ I had appropriated for the exhibition, is about exploring living with uncertainty, alluding to the processes of painting itself and what it means to be a contemporary artist. The challenge for me then is to create the opportunity to occasionally get lost, for not to do so is not to live, and how can I know what I am capable of as an artist if I am not challenged by the unfamiliar and by the new.”
Striving to filter and strain the fundamental elements of both the landscape and the materials I work with, these studies are an attempt to question how to render visual the ripples on the ocean, the changing weather, or the ever altering light. In the landscape, what one sees, which is solid and tangible, is something of a mirage – rearranged by these incidental conditions and transformed into something very ephemeral. Perhaps this is what I strive replicate or respond to, rather than the landscape itself. Simplifying my experience and extracting everything but what I see as being the crucial elements. The title for this series is borrowed from the John Keats poem ‘On The Sea’, as poetry of the Romantics which has long been associated with traditional landscape painting, becomes more a source of inspiration and wonder for me.