I love to experiment with texture. When I paint on a canvas, I have a couple of spare canvasses close by. I use these spare canvasses to clean my brushes or palette knives. By the time I have finished my painting I have some wonderful texture to begin a new painting.
I find I am heavily drawn to earthy colours. I spent time camping in the Australian Outback in 2012 and absolutely loved the strong contrasts of colours. The blue sky against the red earth or rocks and sparse vegetation.
I am also influenced by the seasonal colours and changes in the environment.
I like brushes and palette knives equally, so interchange quite a bit.
I rarely have a fixed idea of what I will paint. After painting over my underpainting from cleaning my brushes/palette knives, I often see lines or shapes which guide the layout of a landscape. At other times I will use a reference photo of a captivating scene. I have completed many commissions, sometimes based on photos.
Realism with a Twist of Abstract
While I don’t like to box myself into a particular style, I have often been described as an abstract realist. I guess that’s because I often use techniques based on a landscape scene, but add a bit of my quirkiness to it. There is often a reason as it might be portraying an emotional/symbolic component to the piece.
For me, a tree is very symbolic. From the grounding roots to the presence or absence of leaves, its structure, and differences in bark. Whatever the variations, dead or alive, it is still a tree. For some time after my injury, I lost myself. I lost who I was, my sense of purpose and my identity. For this reason, I sometimes scrape back the new paint to the under paint to form a tree. I had to be reminded that I am still the same person deep inside, I still have the same values pre-and post-injury. At other times I paint the tree in – this will often mean a building up phase for me.
Sometimes they have no leaves. I love the structural beauty of a tree - sometimes I simply want to show this, other times it is symbolic of feeling a bit dead inside. Sometimes it’s showing the vulnerability of baring your soul to the world. But it also shows the strength of a tree/an individual during times of stress. Sometimes you just need to be for a while, to get in touch with your inner-self.
Most importantly, I find so much joy and nurture in trees, the gentle and mesmerising way they dance with the breeze, protect seedlings, and provide homes for other life. So there is hope, there is always hope.