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me at Nicks_edited.jpg

As a psychologist I am interested in how we respond to and engage with the landscapes that surround us.  A confirmed city dweller based in central London, my paintings are an emotional response to the places to which I travel to escape, explore, and recharge.   Historically, I have focused on the intersection of sea and sky; increasingly I am drawn to vast interior and hidden landscapes: the ocean depths, volcanoes, canyons and deserts. 


I work intuitively, abstracting from photographs- often my own -  and a strong visual memory of place, to honour the landscape’s sacred beauty, monumental scale, and fragility. Working mostly, but not exclusively, with oil, I appreciate the possibilities the medium offers, freeing me to create a delicate surface juxtaposed with energetic and ephemeral line.  I usually start with mark making, then adding, layering, and removing paint, excavating back in, often scratching back to the surface to sculpt shape and form.  Emergence is critical to my process; from the initial idea, the magic happens when I work freely and think less, allowing my sub-conscious to take over, the image taking shape as if from nowhere.


I trace my fascination with landscape from a young age. Growing up on Australia’s east coast, early memories are of a shy child watchful for what might happen in a landscape that is no stranger to extremes:  electrical storms with hail stones the size of cricket balls; cyclones that threatened our coastal home; droughts scorching the ground, leaving it hard, fissured, and fractured. I am fascinated by the contradictions in the nature that surrounds us, its fragile beauty, and the threat we pose to its very existence through our ruthless exploitation.


My paintings reflect my journey.  They are something of a wandering fantasy, an abstracted version of my own experience.  From Australia to the UK and the places in between, they capture my energy, my love of walking, my need to keep moving; my need for growth and intellectual challenge;  my search for something new; my fascination with what makes us tick as humans; a subtle ‘two fingers up’ to the rules and conformity; and the contentment, joy, and renewal that comes for me from being near the water or under a massive sky. 


Fundamentally, though, I paint because I love it and what the process gives me. Perhaps through my painting I am in search of ‘home’, recognising that part of what my work is about is my quest to find where I belong.   For a very long time now I have lived far from where I grew up and there is a pervasive duality that informs how I experience and navigate the day-to-day.  Sometimes my work may reflect a sense of being the outsider,  having unstable and tentative roots in two worlds, recalling that watchful child observing from a distance, unable to quite break in; the fissures and layers in the painted landscape perhaps a representation of me, my relationship with others and the multiple worlds I occupy.  And yet as often I find myself working from absorption and belonging within a place, drawn in by and at one with it, content, connected, and grounded in that place in a particular moment in time. For me, both are valid starting points, offering different perspectives from which to create, capturing the complexity and uniqueness of the human spirit.


I am currently a student at Newlyn School of Art where I have spent the last two years defining and developing my practice. 

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The deep ocean.jpg

Photo by Nick Mann

"To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all because the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it.  Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world, a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by the all the storm that howls about it.  If you can hang onto that flame great things can be constructed around it that are massive and world changing, all held up by the tiniest of ideas...."

Nick Cave, ‘20000 Days on Earth'

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