Biography and Artist Statement.

'Despite the poetry of her titling, these are not narrative paintings in any real sense until you understand the language of her painting, and it is your possible understanding of that language’s poetry that these paintings celebrate.'   Richard Blackborow, Belgrave Gallery St. Ives.

Living With Landscape
Where I live has always determined a large part of who I am and I tend to choose where I live based on what will surround me. I was born in Inverness and grew up just north of the Cairngorm Mountains in the Scottish Highlands. Following a degree at Edinburgh College of Art I headed for west Cornwall, moving there for the landscape, the warmth and the shorter winters. During this period I took part in two residencies - Shetland and south-west Ireland. In 2010 I converted an old removals lorry that became my Nomadic Studio so that I could travel while working and living in the same space. I journeyed back to the Highlands, to some Islands and then returned south to settle in west Wales.

2011 is the beginning of this particular project. I found myself living in an 80 acre oak woodland, off-grid, in the Nomadic Studio. During the next five years I worked on the woodland project. I expanded my studio into an additional box trailer, completed a masters at Aberystwyth School of Art - where I went to learn lithography under master printer Paul Croft RE TMP, had a baby and finally, had an exhibition at Belgrave St. Ives in 2016.

Living there was a dichotomy of experiences: tough - romantic, restrictive - transformative, dingy, drippy and dark - crisp, beautiful and enlightening, new – ancient, lonely – solitary. At first I had no idea how to deal with the trees, I was used to expansive coastal and moorland landscapes. I would make endless walks, drawings, photographs, observations, listenings, night walks with the dog while making photographic moon drawings, bathing in the woodland bath in river water with a fire beneath me, collecting wood, making fires, making charcoal, river swims, collecting oak galls to experiment in ink making while walking around and around the wood with the dog and the baby, I even saw a black panther making it’s way silently, ahead, across my path. And finally paintings. Many times I wasn't sure whether the trees were dancing, making music or practising calligraphy; these observations help to inform the work. It was a totally immersive experience for both living and making a body of work, living in something til yourself is forgotten.

My 2016 exhibition The Intimacy Of Liminal Spaces shown at Belgrave St. Ives, Cornwall, was a series of paintings, lithographs and drawings, made during this time. Initially, I thought that the series would be about the woodland itself, but eventually, it evolved into being more about transformation, inspired specifically by an experience of outdoor bathing.

The woodland bath is to be found at the bottom of the valley where the oak stand tall and the beech magnificent. From the north running river water is collected and wood is gathered to light a fire underneath the cast iron bath. It is a beautiful setting; trees towering, river babbling, steam rising, birdsong, or if at night, stars twinkling. The Milkyway wondrously sweeps overhead. It is truly Romantic, immersed as one is, beholden to and a part of nature. One cannot help but follow the path of smoke, steam and one's thoughts out of the woodland and beyond, while at the same time being aware of one's physical state of being naked, outdoors in a steaming bath, a rawness firmly rooted in the physical.

I paint about my particular human experience and believe that nature and landscape can be a metaphor for this and can help to create depth of perception rather than an illusion. We share a liminal existence: occupying a position at, or on both sides of a boundary or threshold. Experiences offer many thresholds between the physical and transcendental, thought and realisation, present, future, past. I am intrigued by the idea that opposites are always present and I attempt to paint contradictions of personality and situation. I am interested in differences of rhythm, tempo and repetition, and how they produce irregularity in marks, layers; also colours and their inherent instability. All these contradict the inherent flatness of paintings.

As a way of working through ideas I make studies in series. Although I don’t work directly from these studies they are part of an ‘immersion in practice’, a constant improvisation with visual language, working ‘in the moment’ where the physical act of making is, in part, an ontological process. The work is very much about the materiality of paint and the act of painting. I believe that one of the things that make painting distinctive is how the perception of time is evaluated: its histories can be visible and at the same time all are firmly in the present. In painting I want something of the immediacy of drawing: its explosiveness, brevity, rawness and also a type of mark-making that is not consciously directed and informs both the beginning and the final stages of making an image.

Paintings can be weighty, at the same time possessed with a lightness of spirit – both of which are inescapably a part of nature. I seek to explore the possibilities and impossibilities of expressing these liminal moments in paint.