The materials of paint and land; the imaginative processes.
Painting is the recreation of space; but which space? Sure, we see the immediate physical, elemental structures of
the land. But there’s more. Our senses also tell of visceral movements, scents in the air, bird song, insect life. They
hint at cultural traditions and histories. Land contains within itself all the stories of its passages through time; animal,
vegetable and mineral.
As a painter I’m interested in and excited by the more abstract qualities of process. I find the imaginative realm
the best way to explore them. Delving into the formations themselves and examining the changes the land has
experienced helps me to become familiar with, more able to understand and to listen to its character. Direct
observations train the eye; an open flexible heart responds by engaging the senses with the integrity of the location.
I’m often painting ‘en plein air’ for weeks at a time: such focussed attention really develops my capacity for deep
engagement with place and this relationship continues to grow season by season, year by year. The interactive
responses that arise from these trips directly inform my palette and my choice of painting materials.
Intuition is a useful way of perceiving, yet like the imagination it is often discounted these days. I often don’t focus on
a particular subject in a painting. I tend to see networks and communities rather than individual phenomena. I work
from a somewhat liminal space where form is flexible and colour is not simply reflective but also immanent. Space
here becomes more an awareness of movement through time.
What senses are active, lively here and where are the shadows and moods? What are the vibrational qualities in
the movements of air and water, and the scents therein? What of the light direction, intensity, depth? How has
this land been worked over time and what are the effects of the industry of those seeking very particular qualities
from it? What are the forces at play and are imbalances apparent? What is the story of the elements of this land
and how does it reintegrate, fold back into itself these workings? How is the vegetation changing and how will
the landforms and water pathways respond? Given numerous subjective time frames, how might the relationships
between the elements effect changes to the topography and to the atmosphere. What sort of character does the
land reveal to us?
A two way relationship with a chosen location is built up with many of the same parameters as any other interaction.
It contains various levels of complexities and contradictions. I sense a certain autonomy, authority and character
within the land and it is through the use of paint that I explore and develop this. I see the myriad interactions
between elements in the land as a strong form of consciousness. I see all these elements as living. Many instincts
are sharpened in such a relational space. Time can be perceived flexibly here and so can space. I find that
intuitions can sometimes be alarming when they appear and possess clear, discernable qualities. All beings bring
change to this amorphous field. I do not see any necessity for a grand plan, just the inevitability of change and the
constant transference of energies within webs of interactions.
Impressed into the surface of this land are a million exquisite stories about life and death. They hold us in a timeless
space where colours, forms and intents simply flow.