Autumn is my favorite season. The things I love about it are… spiders webs, the sounds of rustling leaves in the trees, the light on warm days (totally golden), the light on cold days (hard edged as crisp as the air), Halloween, walking in welly boots again, the park, lanes like tunnels with leaves wiped up by the wind but above all G. My G, slugs and snails and puppies dogs tails and chocolate and love.
When I do venture back into Oils it doesn’t always work but there is something rich and succulent about working in this media. My paintings work best when I begin with an idea rather than an image. The painting evolves on the surface and I push the paint around to come to a conclusion that satisfies me (as much as this is possible).
When I was a little girl there was a period of time when a friend and I believed we were witches. We would watch the film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ over and over and I would sit in my Grandmother’s kitchen in the dark and endeavour to take off on her kitchen broom. We inhabited this idea completely for what seemed like an age, talking about our coven’s secret meetings in the woods and how we had flown across the rooftops at midnight. It seems funny now but I do believe there is something inherently powerful and magical in femininity and indeed in the creative process of woman themselves. Sometimes when I paint I feel like I am mixing a potion or invoking an incantation. Now I have a daughter of my own I feel that link with her even more powerfully.
Witchcraft has been portrayed negatively throughout the ages as has the idea of the hysteria surrounding it. For myself could there be a more terrifying portrayal of man or woman than Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’.
This image is again one of ambiguity, I love the idea of levitation and have used in various ways in my work. The image is dark, something I try not to fall into but I do love dark paintings, Carravaggio, Rembrandt and De la Tour.
Often the best ideas for paintings come from other people’s imaginings. This painting was a commission for a friend who wanted an image of a woman in a private moment of solitude caught in the split second before she realised she was being watched. I don’t feel the painting really succeeds in capturing this but I like the way my friend’s notion and my own idea of the library have combined to create something mysterious. Mystery is essential in my work. Paintings must be open ended so as to allow the viewer to create their own life for the work. Paintings don’t need to be pinned down by restrictive titles or explanations. Even I don’t really know what is going on here.
This little portrait is a good example of what I think of as the graceful stroke. Like a Chinese calligrapher I am looking to create something effortless and lyrical with my paint brush. When the paint takes on a life of its own something elegant happens. It is as if the image has not been painted but rather grown.
I love the spontaneity and lyricism of Indian Ink. I like the way it moves on the paper and the way it surprises you as work, taking on a life of its own. These portraits were painted in El Pais Vasco looking out onto the terrace of our flat. I wanted to capture the movement inherent in the still, seated figure. Indian Ink implies energy to me and working with it is almost like a dance. Dancing was my first love so perhaps that is why it appeals to me so much.
El Salto/ Indian Ink/ 2005
A good image with which to introduce my work, this painting is called ‘The Leap’ it is made in Indian Ink,and was painted during my time living in the beautiful city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country in Spain. It forms part of my ‘Lamia’ series which explores and compares woman and birds and the relationship between the two. It kick started my interest in working in water based media after years of working in oils and I love it as it achieves so much I want to harness and express in my work, for me it is lyrical, ambiguous and beautiful. I am always looking to find these qualities in my painting. There is risk and reward here.