I first started using text in my work when I ran out of colours from the magazines I use. It occurred to me that the text adds an extra element to the painting, drawing the viewer deeper into the picture. I use recycled nature magazines in my collages so that the text relates to the subject. Many visitors to my exhibitions assume that I have used newspaper and then realise the relevance when they read the words. I think people like to discover things about artwork for themselves.
- Your works capture not only a moment but a feeling and humour within your works. The puffin print artwork has been really popular in the art gallery as it captures great humour ( another Picasso link!) as well as colour and movement. How do you decide on what to paint and what not to paint?
I'm very fortunate as an artist in that I paint what I am inspired to from my travels through wild places and my customers like the work enough to want it displayed in their homes and offices. I therefore don't need to rely on commissions which are sometimes a compromise with someone else's creative processes. Certain subjects like puffins certainly always sell and I could probably make a good living from just painting them but it is the larger pieces in which I can really let my creative impulses flow. If I see anything in nature which I feel would make a beautiful or dramatic artwork I'll paint it.
- Do you use photographs as well as painting from life?
Due to the limitations of using collage in the field all my collages are completed in the studio. I use a combination of sketches, photographs, memory and imagination to create the finished compositions. If I can observe an animal for long enough to sketch it, sometimes with the help of a telescope, I will do so. However, i also carry a camera for capturing fleeting moments or when i can't access my sketchbook like when I observe otters from my kayak.
- Do you have an exciting plans for the year ahead?
I have three solo shows spread throughout the year as well as the usual gallery exhibitions around the UK. I'm planning a trip to some of the national parks in the US in the summer as well as more exploration of wilder Scotland. Perhaps I may finally get out to St Kilda this year which is a part of Scotland I have yet to see.