About the Artist
I am a British-Australian painter, with a hybrid artistic and academic background. I have always created art, and have been producing artworks for exhibition for over a decade. I have successfully shown my work in a number of metropolitan and regional galleries during this time. The current pandemic has impacted upon many artists and galleries, with lockdowns and closures, and this was the case for me in some respects, but for the last couple of years I have also enjoyed the extra time to develop my studio practice, here in Haddon, just outside Ballarat, in regional Victoria. With the help of an Australia Council Resilience Grant, I was able to take the opportunity to reflect upon my art processes, techniques, inspiration and motivation, and explore new directions.
I was born in East Anglia, in the UK. I have lived in various places in Australia for many years (since moving here in 1998). I live in the company of trees, amidst the quiet and the birdsong of a bush block. It is an inspiring place to create, to see the year turn, through chilled and misty winter, bright wattle time, and into the blue and gold of summer days. I see gum trees through every window of the studio, catching the glow of late afternoon light, or glistening after rain, and there is always the company of wildlife. I feel very lucky to have been able to make this studio gallery space here, where I can welcome visitors and share my work.
I don't have to go far to find a pocket of the landscape in which to immerse myself, to exercise my senses, to notice all the intricacies of the sights and sounds around me. When I experience this complex tapestry of interconnected natural things, I often think of Henry Thoreau's words, 'man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone'. I wish we could all afford to leave more of nature alone to recover and thrive; but in the meantime, I make as little impact as I can while I walk quietly amongst it, observe it, and try to record and translate my responses into art, I take photographic, plein air or written notes, which I later use as a reference point for composition and interpretation in the studio. I work in oils or synthetic polymers on canvas, with charcoal and graphite on paper, or with with the old technique of egg tempera. My aim is to create visually stimulating and emotionally resonant works, which are a homage to the transient beauty and atmosphere of places I love.
For me, now, landscape painting is not a simple matter, when the fragility of our natural environments is a matter for concern. My hope is that my paintings can be a reminder of why we need to sustain connection to that realm, and not lose it. I have also been a writer, researcher and lecturer in the arts in universities in the UK and Australia, and, for an extended period, an arts journalist. Over the period that I have been a practicing artist, I have increasingly drawn upon the thought, concerns, research and writing in the domain of environmental issues that happens around my art. This is the reason why I am embarking, in 2022, on a new post-graduate project, a Master of Visual Art by Research, involving work toward an exhibition, and I am very grateful that this is supported by an Australian Commonwealth Government Research Training Program Scholarship.