In a career spanning 20 years my painting style has evolved from a literal, more traditional depiction of the Scottish landscape and skies, to non literal. Colour is used more to suit an idea than the subject itself.
My work explores cloud cover and its effect on light and colour. I paint transitional skies as a metaphor for light from darkness, in keeping with the overarching themes of hope and optimism.
My inspiration comes from three main sources: Turner for atmosphere, Matisse for colour and the Expressionists for their freedom of paint application.
Matisse said, “I don’t paint things. I paint the difference between things”, a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly.
I get inspiration through flying a drone across the Scottish landscape. At first, the drone was simply another way to literally look at the world differently and to expand the possibilities of impossible vantage points. Latterly, the abstract forms that revealed themselves from high altitude began to resemble mark making I used to describe foreground at ground level, bringing about a theme of fractals.
I then went on to produce a body of work I called ‘fractal landscape’, where altitude became ambiguous. So, The viewer would question whether or not it might be an aerial viewpoint or ground level.
I am constantly questioning what I see. Molecular physics does the same. In the study of particle physics, we can go beyond what the eye sees. Colour is a figment of our imagination designed to decipher different wavelengths of light, but only within the confines of the visible spectrum. Our hearing does the same with sound within audible parameters. Our brains decode the world around us in a way which allows us to function within it.
My paintings are not designed for the viewer to function within it, their purpose is to stimulate a different response, to excite and ask questions as opposed to answering them. We cannot corroborate our experience of color with another of our senses. We can’t touch or hear or smell the differences in it.
This makes it ideal for me to experiment with the beauty of color with the freedom of realizing my brain’s limited perception of it. I often like to think of what we were to see if the resonant sounds were perceived in color.
Other artists I find myself inspired increasingly by include Turner, who created ephemeral atmospheric effects using large washes of liquid paint. Nicolas de Stael, Willem de Kooning, Samuel Peploe, Francis Cadell, Glasgow boys: Guthrie Lavery, Henry… and Joan Eardley.