My paintings are my way of recording the world around me, like a visual diary.They are almost always painted from life with a little backup from photographs. I want people to see how I work from life. Drawing and painting has always been my way of expressing myself. Charcoal is my preferred drawing medium, usually the thin willow type which I find very expressive as well as delicate in the lines that can be made. Composition is so important but also one of those aspects of painting which can be quite elusive. I have to force myself to make some rough sketches or small thumbnails to work out the basic shapes and forms, I often use the rule of thirds.Sometimes I change direction depending on the subject, always looking for ways of creating atmosphere and harmony.
Light plays an important part but I really react to what I have in front of me so I’m never too sure how the work will proceed. I paint intuitively and this method is exciting and spontaneous.
Studying art history is essential to me. I think I have absorbed art into my way of thinking. The work of a wide range of old masters and contemporary artists have influenced my work in particular Egon Schiele, Leonardo, Matisse, Picasso , the Scottish Colourists and William Gillies.
All of these aspects come into play as soon as I start a new piece os work. Usually, I don’t plan in advance which direction I am heading in. Probably, that needs to change although chance and an open observant mind can lead to interesting new ideas. Experiments into new materials, for example collage has introduced wider meaning as well as increased variety of texture and colour, so far only apparent in the background areas of the painting.
The requirement to have time to think, to work out what will happen next and what can be learned from past work is much more important to me now.
So, while spontaneity has always been a given especially when working from life, a certain need for planning has crept in. Bigger and more complex work really does need it, so that’s the next step.