My 'arrival' at painting has been a slightly unusual one, in the sense that I purposely set out to study a skills based 3D Design course, where I specialized in ceramics. My rationale for this being that I have always loved the 'making process' and I am very interested in the three dimensional and textural quality of objects and spaces. I worked in clay for some years after leaving Art College, whilst starting to get commissions for paintings (mainly watercolours at the time). The painting evolved from this and eventually took up all my time. Drawing and making are still at the core of the work, but painting allows me to invent other spaces and ideas with no physical constraints.
There are many influences in my work and it would be impossible to list them all. I am fascinated by art and architecture of the classical period, when aesthetics and proportion were thought to communicate eternal and divine truths and art was considered a physical depiction of the divine. In paintings of the gothic and renaissance period, I am mesmerized and completely seduced by the details and textures of these works, by their sheer beauty and skill of execution. I find the 'structure' of their compositions fascinating; the marriage of perspective (the rational) with divine themes (the mystical) which brings an almost surreal quality to the paintings. Sometimes I feel that looking at these works is like opening a door into a hyper real universe. I look at paintings as worlds one can visually step into and be transported and sometimes even transformed by. For me the way into these worlds is invariably through the detail: I like to be visually seduced and pictorially convinced by art. I believe the primary function of art is to fill you with wonder.
Most of my themes revolve around ideas of aesthetics, imagination and symbolism. Recently I have been drawn to allegorical and archetypal themes and to ideas of magical landscapes and archaic pasts. A particular recent theme being the olive tree, which for me is an almost sacred tree, being so deeply embedded in the mythology, religion and landscape of the Mediterranean.
There are varied processes that lead up to each painting and some of them can be very involved: including the construction of maquettes and models which then become the subject matter for the painting and are treated like a still life, the use of elaborate perspective to 'invent' space, the combining of actual and invented objects. But whatever the idea or subject matter that sparks the genesis of a painting may be, there always comes a point when the work begins to talk back to you and start to make its own decisions. The finished piece has to exist on its own visual merit, without explanation or subtext.