I paint expressive and gestural landscapes in oil paint to demonstrate my deep respect for and devotion to the natural world. Having travelled extensively around our beautiful planet, I have seen how different cultures interact with and connect to our incredible world, such as the indigenous people in the Andes who regularly leave gifts to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Seeing such reverential acts profoundly influenced me and deepened my respect for Mother Nature, causing me to seek out pure, untouched natural locations to re-connect with both her and myself.
Standing atop a mountain or at the edges of an ocean, I feel such awe and wonder at her beauty. I call those rare and incredible times my ‘pearl moments’. Feeling such peace, calmness and space wonderfully balances the relentless claustrophobia of urban life. And reminded that I am a small part of an incredible planet, I feel a strong sense of perspective: everything else is insignificant.
I also seek those pearl moments closer to home. I might become distracted by the formation of a leaf, appreciate the sun’s rays through a cloudy sky or stop to really look at the geometric patterns of lichen growing on a wall. Mother Nature is perfect and her beauty is everywhere.
Painting transports me back and helps me re-experience those pearl moments at home. Standing in front of my canvas, using my photographs as inspiration, I feel completely in the moment; meditative even. With focus and clarity, I feel physically and emotionally soothed. I try to capture my emotional response and devotion on canvas to invite the viewer to respect and admire her beauty. I am inspired by anything natural. The mountains, the sea, flowers, animals, even painting portraits of those loved ones close to me. The granddaughter of a professional portrait painter, I follow her footsteps and work in oil paints myself, although with a modern twist.
Particularly inspired by mountains, I paint mountain ranges I’ve visited on canvases in my south London flat. I start by building up smooth layers of oil paint for the sky. Deliberately working varied colours and tones into the canvas, the sky begins to recede into the distance as the layers increase and the oil paint blends together. I block out the main areas within the mountain range, emphasizing dark, craggy rocks and smoother, snow covered blocks. Feeling free, I put down my paintbrush and pick up my palette knife. Unrestrained, I add more and more paint, cutting, carving and twisting the knife around the canvas.
Working from darker paint to lighter paint, I copy Mother Nature by adding the glistening snow last. Picking out the whitest whites pulls the painting together. The mountains sparkle. But as with Mother Nature, not everything comes at once. I have to wait. As her seasons give our year a rhythm, my painting also has its own rhythm. I have to prolong my painting and frequently need to wait overnight for the paint to dry if I’m to achieve the crispness and clarity I strive for. Painting in this way gives movement and energy to my paintings; it gives them a sense of life. And with it, painting brings me alive.