Thursday, June 14, 2012


Mnemosyne, mixed media on heavyweight paper,
65 X 48cm, 2012

What are you working on in your studio right now?

I suppose what I am doing at present is playing and experimenting. I feel the need to take time off from the painting as way of refreshing the way I use materials so using different backgrounds etc, I always liked the dynamic of foreground/background. I am using pages from children’s books at present so I suppose that’s what I’m up too, freeing up my approach and having fun and trying to find my creative direction and how I want to work in the future.

Can you describe your working routine?

My working routine revolves around my job as a bus driver, the job I do is sort of two extremes-full on with the demands of the job and the solitude and withdrawal into my creative world (I like the juxtaposition).Generally I get to the studio for about two hours a day-but generally dictated to by what I’m doing at the time so no specific routine. I have been down at the studio in the early hours if something comes to me concerning a painting, generally I work quite quickly, building up stages and layers-the latter stages I usually ponder and contemplate for awhile- if it comes it does if not I move onto something else and let it rest for awhile.

Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?

My studio is a mess. I just work better in chaos, the incidental things happen that way for me. I was reminded that Picasso commented if he was in prison he would draw in spit, possibly emphasizing the indestructible creative spirit. Maybe there is a bit of an anarchic element in me.
I love the fact that when we are working our perception changes as though we are waking up; we look around and see perhaps a mark or pattern that seems relevant-we say aha-that will do etc. I do understand the energetic dynamic of the studio and the 'temenos' thing-maybe that will be something for the future.

Alter to an Old God No4,
watercolour paper, mixed media, 65x48cm, 2012

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

I don't really have an agenda so there is no specific work or plan, I tend to start from scratch. I usually start by setting up three to four pieces of heavyweight paper, my favored way of working is with blackboard paint generally thinned enough and applied with a soft brush, to get sweeping circles and lines; a sort of instinctual approach I love the sensation of the flowing paint. I don't usually edit, if it’s in my head I run with it so not much discrimination. I tend to think less and less nowadays. Thereafter it is a process of building up and deconstruction (more deconstruction really) until I hook into something, a mark or a colour etc. Generally it is an intuitive way of working, techniques and tools are the means whereby I can achieve a feeling or state where there is a sense of engagement and connection with what I am doing. I like the idea that we disappear, we enter a timeless state, the picture begins to talk and we respond in a way that we are alert, fearless and conscious. It is as though we follow instructions, the poetic and imaginal prompts to where a line goes etc., a picture morphs in many different ways, it changes us and' demands' of us something way beyond our conceptions and abilities at the time, that’s the magic.

I often see the parallels with creative practice and the meditative and contemplative traditions.  I do believe for me that painting is a path to self realization. I often do not know what I am doing and it can take many years for the 'penny to drop' and I know where a picture came from and the meaning and significance it embodies. A fully realised picture to me is one that liberates the heart that includes and embraces who we are; the spiritual and the human. Essentially a painting/surface is not one dimensional but a boundary between different realities, the mythic extraordinary and the mysterious. Paintings connect us to the universal and transcendental in context with the world it's suffering and joys. What appears in and around us gives meaning and bestows upon us an awareness of the present and the embodied reality in which we live. My work is more about signs and surfaces and the inner landscapes of memory and emotion. I love artifacts, fragments and schematics. The pictographs and petraglyphs of the indigenous people have been an enduring source of inspiration

When The Eye Opened Toby Disappeared,
55x45cms, print on lithograph paper, 2012

Toby insisted,can you make this Tortoise fly mister‎
55x45cms, print on lithograph paper, 2012

What are you having the most trouble resolving?

I think the difficulty in resolving a work is as Picasso commented, is finding a motif, an image that carries the creative momentum of the work into a new field of discovery and enquiry that is integral to the piece and brings everything into a working whole

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?

I do sometimes, I love the oil sticks and oil pastel but tend to have a limited palette of colour. I tend to use what is to hand and is available at the time so yes I feel we need parameters-the materials we use often evoke different responses and ways of working in surprising ways-the tactile and sensuous-there is a synchronicity with these things.

What does the future hold for this work?

I am more confident about what I do and do enjoy the feedback-so exhibiting a little more might take things forward, it is a good thing to present your work as it can be a guide to and a re-evaluation of what we do. It is the realisation of what one does that is the most important.

Untitled, mixed media on heavyweight paper,
65 X 48cm, 2012

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I think artists are absorbers we take things in from the outer and inner worlds (the mythic poetic and imaginal) I think we go through a process of juxtaposing and finding a point of engagement where we connect then begins a process of translating the vision we have through our various idiosyncratic  filters into our own language and expression. My artist’s statement is I paint to 'dis-arm' myself. I like the fact that we can diffuse the' warheads' of prejudice and division. 'Disarming' and 'laying down your arms' is a surrendering and embracing of who we are fully and unconditionally, in the end we say it with paint and brush.