I make paintings of people’s land. Aerial views of gardens and estates that are abstract paintings in their own right. These works are a celebration of the ways that land can be enjoyed and understood, as well as being distinctly personal portraits. There are examples here on the site, in ‘Gardens and Land’, that range from compact gardens to wide-ranging estates. You can commission a special work of your own – a portrait of your own land.
The process of making one of these works draws on elements of your own particular understanding of the land and your personal relationship to it. A whole range of ideas can feed into this. Not only colours, structures and plants, but also routes and paths taken, field systems and geology, archaeology and family history. Memories and habits as well as what is clear to the eye.
The commissioning process can also involve discussions, visits, research, photographs, maps and drones – so that by the time I embark on the activity of making the painting itself, I can be loaded with a sensitivity and understanding that will give the work a set of personal and deep-rooted qualities.
For some projects I have made smaller sketches on paper, which are a lighter intuitive response. Some of these are here in ‘Works on Paper’.
The aerial view paintings first came about after I moved to west Dorset, to a farmhouse near the Iron Age hill fort of Eggardon Hill. The works were initially a response to extensive walks recording field systems and ancient earthworks – and to the many possibilities to do with picture making thrown up by working with maps.
As you’ll see on the site, further groups of paintings have included the Coast and River works, started in 2020 when looking back on places of personal importance, in which I continued my investigations of land systems and geology.
A primary inspiration in early days, in 2004, was the idea of the most rudimentary act that an artist can make – the loading of a brush with colour, and stabbing it onto canvas. The massing of these simple squares of colour became the Square Dancing series, and versions of these squares (sometimes one on top of another) have become part of the language of my work in intervening years, and some sort of reference to the artist’s presence, and the fundamental nature of mark-making.
I was born in 1961 in Caithness, in the north of Scotland, and have enjoyed working as a curator, gallery director, writer and artist for 25 years. My writing has included works on Modern British and Contemporary artists as well as arts journalism. I live in west London.
All the works show here are in acrylic on canvas or paper. Those without red dots are for sale. Do please get in touch if you would like to talk about a commission, or about buying one of the paintings – or if you would like to discuss my work.