I'm interested in the idea of portraying skin and the face as a landscape. It gives me an opportunity to play with texture, colour temperature and tonal value whilst staying true to the medium of paint. I don't try to force the oil paint to behave in a way contrary to its natural qualities; instead I want it to appear as paint. This leads me to work quite directly, laying brush stroke on brush stroke, colour on colour and leaving it at that. Over time this builds into a collective of colours and a variety of brush strokes, creating a dynamic landscape of paint. Adding filters to the skin, whether it is paint, bubbles or water, allows me to make many more variations of brush mark or colour combinations that I wouldn't have been able to do before. This creates a metaphorical landscape as well as a literal one on the figure.
I love the illusion that can be achieved in painting. When you view the work up close it appears as paint and every brush stroke can be seen. The further you walk back from the piece, the more the paint merges together and appears as something else. The magical moment where this starts to happen is what keeps me coming back for more and producing work. It's like a little of your mind appearing before you.
My biggest inspiration is the people I know, the relationships I have with them and being part of their lives. They contribute to my life and affect it immensely and I try to add something to theirs. I'm a big fan of contemporary figurative painting. Artists like Alyssa Monks and Colin Davidson use paint in the most amazing ways, allowing movement and freedom, they look like they're having fun with paint. Alyssa is a master of composition I feel. I appreciate photo and hyper-realism but I wouldn't put myself in that bracket, my paint has a looser quality than much of the hyper-realism I've seen. I try to achieve movement and freshness with my paint.
I'm interested in how we interact as people, with each other and with our surroundings. My paintings show figures interacting with their surroundings within a particular situation, i.e being covered in paint or bubbles. It's quite relatable. We can all imagine what it's like to have a bucket of water thrown over your head or have paint smeared unto your skin, there's a human aspect to that I love. The hands covering the sitter's mouth happened because I wanted to conceal part of the face and see how that affects our ability to read the person and their expression. My feeling was that the eyes would give us the information we need to read the overall emotion of the painting and subject, I found that it perhaps even intensifies these emotions and our relationship to the work. Would the addition of colour on the hands add to what the subject is telling us through those eyes? Or can colour affect how we view the work? Each painting will create its own presence in an exhibition space and in turn will affect our feelings and interaction with it. It is this three way relationship between artist, sitter and viewer that I feel gets to the heart of what my work is about.