Artist Statement - My Process - How I Work

My process is essentially an organic one and is adapted according to the subject being created. Sometimes, I draw the basic composition in pencil, charcoal or a neutral paint colour and, once satisfied with the basic form and composition, I build on this by layering colours, tone and shading to create a 3D effect on a 2D surface. Other times, I instinctively paint the picture without preliminary drawings using underpainting as a guide to the composition and work on that to develop it into a finished piece. I have ‘happy accidents’ where I make a mark or produce a particular effect unintentionally and can’t remember how I did it and it is this what makes the process so exciting and exhilarating. I will abandon traditional perspective and veer away from perfect symmetry if the composition requires it, preferring instead preciseness in brushwork and detailed images.

I apply paint in layers using the impasto technique, adding and removing until a balance is reached which creates a palimpsest effect showing how the piece is developed. I use a similar approach to drawing where an image is drawn, erased, and redrawn many times before completion. I find painting the negative spaces around my subject is the most effective in getting a verisimilitude. Through my work I aim to make an image that is striking from a distance yet still rewards scrutiny up close. When creating large pieces, I like to delineate my forms with clarity using hard lines and defined form. I employ loose, expressive brushstrokes and striking colours giving my work a sense of drama and movement. By contrast when creating smaller pieces, my technique is to use purposeful, intricate brushwork, subtle tonal variations and soft colour combinations.

I experiment with different mediums because I believe that working in a single medium is restrictive to my artistic process as each idea manifests in its own individual style, requiring a particular medium. The majority of my paintings are in oil and acrylic though I love using charcoal and chalk pastels because of their powdery texture and the ease of blending colours to create tone and definition. One of my favourite mediums is Gouache which is an exciting mix between watercolour and acrylic and works well in creating figurative work depicting social subjects. A common thread in my paintings is the use of bold, vibrant colour and of light and dark tones giving them a solid, earthy feeling. The colours which recur in my work are green, the colour of nature and significant because it is calming, symbolising nurture, growth, positivity; blue because it is uplifting and fresh; yellow, the colour of happiness and solidarity and purple because it signifies spirituality, peace and a kind of regalness to lift the mood above the ordinary every day.

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