In my paintings I depict uncanny moments and situations that have a developed sense of atmosphere and feeling. A head on the horizon. A tear in an ear. A hard shoulder in the rain. My process involves drawing, painting and writing to explore memory, personal experience and storytelling. I often focus on ordinary moments that have a heavy, melancholic quality, where time thickens and small details are valued and intensified.
Before I start painting, a period of drawing is crucial to my process. I use charcoal. Because the medium is so malleable it has the ability to keep up with thought, connections and imagination. It allows me to quickly fill my studio with images so that I can visualise lots of ideas at once. Then narratives can be drawn from them and connections made between them. This process feeds the paintings.
In my paintings I often return to the motif of the blushing cheek to explore ideas of heightened sensitivity, emotional vulnerability and embarrassment. I’m interested in the psychology of the blush and its relationship with the practice of painting itself – both painting and blushing being complicated indications of feeling. While one is voluntary and the other not, I see both painting and blushing as strange and muddled forms of expression and think of each painting as a sort of blush.
The spaces I depict in my work often have an unreal, dreamlike, illusionistic or cinematic quality. Exploring the translucent qualities of oil paint, layering techniques, superimposition and glazing is integral to my process and in particular the representation of storytelling, recollection and blushing. I’m interested in the act of looking and the different layers we bring to the experience of looking – memory, feeling, identity. By experimenting with form and technique, I strive to get closer to the emotional core of the dreamlike moments at the heart of my paintings.