Oil on found drift wood, 2013
What are you working on in your studio right now?
Recently I had a nice experience of finding a lovely weather/sea-beaten piece of wood which I felt I could do something with. After working on it fairly quickly and loosely I was happy with the outcome as an authentic representation of where it was found. So now and again I take scavenging outings along the coastline, looking for other possible materials to paint on. These found materials lend themselves very well to what I am trying to achieve and are very much part of the finished work. I continue to paint on various sizes of canvases and boards having many on the go at once.
Can you describe your working routine?
I don't have a particular routine but I do spend as much time as possible putting down paint and letting it take me in a certain direction, eventually allowing a finished image to win out. I have to work to pay the bills so my days off are dedicated to painting or creating something that works for me. Often at the end of a working day I will spend a brief time doing a little painting, good therapy!
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
In reality our home is the studio; I have a very understanding and supportive wife. I have assigned a relatively small area for painting and converted a larger attic space for storage of finished work. All the time I have paintings at various stages of completion scattered around the house. This suits me very well as I love being surrounded by paintings - the last thing I do before going to bed at night and the first thing I do when I go downstairs in the morning is to look at the paintings. I also try to surround myself with paintings of other artists whom I admire. Having the in-progress paintings easily available gives me the freedom to step in and out of my painting quickly, although it does mean that if I want to tackle a larger canvas it takes more preparation and can take some of the spontaneity out of it for me.
Oil on found wood & metals, 2013
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
This can be very varied, sometimes a found object will point me in a particular direction. I will sometimes have a reference point and take it from there but I do not get overly concerned if the finished image tends to be more representational or a more abstracted interpretation of the landscape around me. Although I am aware that painting the landscape may be not very fashionable, my finished works are very much rooted in my surroundings and are also about putting down paint to achieve an aesthetic which is true and pleasing to my seeing. At all times I am trying to represent my surroundings and their authentic and unforgiving characteristics. I often listen to music while painting and I am sure this very much contributes to the direction my work takes.
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
Every time I start a new painting I am a little daunted and not sure how to start or what to do. I have to remind myself to be a bit freer but I certainly don't want to be too casual in my approach as think this would definitely show through. Also I am quite impatient so using oils can be challenging but it does make me wait and live with the painting for a time; this is why I have many paintings on the go at once, all at various drying stages. I do not over-analyse what I have done or what I am going to do next, rather follow my gut instinct.At the moment I have two large canvases on the go which are giving me a battle but it's a good fight.
The good fight, work in-progress
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
Generally I am sticking with oils for the moment but I do like to paint on a variety of surfaces; anything from perspex, canvas, boards, found wood or anything that will give me a finished look that I am satisfied with. The found objects and surfaces are key components of the finished pieces, they will have been found in the area or landscape that I am trying to represent. For me, painting on different surfaces ensures variety and presents different challenges every time. Currently I am satisfied using oils as they give me the texture and ruggedness I am looking for, and I love the layered effect when applied thickly.
Oil on found wood, 2013, 9 x 16cms (irregular)
What does the future hold for this work?
Earlier this year I had a solo exhibition and I would like to continue to develop this work. I am trying to introduce new elements into the work, but not just for the sake of it - it has to be meaningful and true to my place and surroundings. I would love to bring this work to a wider audience in order to learn from feedback. While I do believe in the work, I do not have the best marketing skills, so I hope the work will speak for itself. Further gallery representation would be of huge benefit to my development of the work. Also I am very open to the idea of joint projects with other artists.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank you Valarie for this opportunity to talk about my work. Also I find this blog very beneficial and I really enjoy learning about how other artists work.
Oil on torn canvas attached to found frame, 2013, 18 x 23 cm