Starting points for my paintings are often features in landscapes - urban, rural or coastal, and where one intrudes on the other. In Scotland, we are never far from any of these, even in the cities.
Drawing in pencil, ink or charcoal helps me to consider what it is about a scene that makes an impact on me. But I try to find new relationships in the drawings and studies themselves and these may become more important and a more dominant source of excitement.
I tend to begin painting with a large, bold paint mark, poured and moved with a straight edge, loose cloth or large brush. This anchors the work but also becomes part of the struggle between what I think the painting should be and what the paint and marks suggest it could be. Throughout the process I hold on to essential aspects of my original source.
I like my paintings to have some element of ambiguity, to elicit questions. And each painting is another piece of research and practice for the next one.
My pre-painting career taught me a lot about the importance of looking, of drawing connections out of imperfect and incomplete material, and of the tensions that exist between what we see and what we know. I cannot point to any one aspect of my paintings and say that this is a direct consequence of my experience. However, there are reflections of my feelings for the geology and history of landscapes, for the interactions of cultural and social histories, and where these place us in relation to our surroundings and to each other.
I grew up in Dumbarton, Scotland, and studied geology at Glasgow University before moving to London to work at The Natural History Museum. After a career there in palaeontology and conservation, I went on to deliver postgraduate education in conservation at the Royal College of Art, and then to carry out research in Collections Demography at the UK’s National Archives. I returned to Scotland in 2012, to Edinburgh, to live and study painting at Leith School of Art.
- 2013 September Art Exhibition, Wadhurst, E.Sussex.
- 2011 September Art Exhibition, Wadhurst, E.Sussex.
- 2010 “The Fringe”, September 2010, artloco, Ticehurst, E. Sussex.
- 2010 “This Sceptred Isle”, April 2010, artloco, Ticehurst, E. Sussex.
- 2009 September Art Exhibition, Wadhurst, E.Sussex.
- 2014 Eliza Clifford Prize, Leith School of Art
- 2012 – 2014 Painting Course, Leith School of Art
- 2007 – 2008 PGCert Teaching and Learning, Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design, University of the Arts London
- 1973 – 1977 BSc (Hons) Geology, University of Glasgow