I had always wanted to paint people but when I couldn’t find anyone who would sit for me I started to find things that would: pieces I found around me in my studio, on my travels, in my grandmother’s attic, in the woods, or brought in by the tide on the shore. My foraging resulted in a cuckoo’s nest of characters. They had their stories to tell. And so I began to paint their portraits.
It is the everyday which makes me pick up a paintbrush. I can see a world of colour and form and narrative in the clutter of the commonplace. I feel a need to give what might otherwise be discarded, like a sardine head or a dead pigeon found on the pavement, an immortality in paint. It is a memento to their existence.
Sometime it is obvious to me why I am drawn to paint the things I paint. The bone-handled knives remind me of tea when I was a child with my scottish granny: the table laden with drop scones and gingerbread, a globule of lemon curd and a pot of jam shimmering in the sun.
When I paint, I want the mark making to remain as free and painterly as possible - to achieve in one mark both accuracy and emotion.
Bonnard said ‘The thing must start with a vision, with a moment of excitement’, and once it has I waste no time in getting the subject down on board, never spending more than a day on one painting. If it’s not right I will scrape it down and start again.
" There is only one true thing: instantly paint what you see. When you’ve got it you’ve got it. When you haven’t, you begin again.
All the rest is humbug. "