Artist & Designer
"I live on a peninsular on the east coast of England and every day that I wake it is to the sound of sea gulls and garden birds singing. Out of my window I see a constantly changing land- and seascape. If the tide is out, the mudflats are strewn with vivid green seaweed and shiny slats of water that glisten. Sometimes it is blue on blue with sky and sea touching, sometimes it is metallic gray, the sky so low down and thick with cloud you can barely breathe. When the wind blows it is wild and ferocious as if an entity has arrived and is battering at my door to be let in. Across the estuary of the River Stour, ships are moored. They come and go with passengers and cargo to Holland and Germany, to Scandinavia and beyond. At night the view changes into a city of lights, a magical place with ribbons of orange and yellow and green and pink like pillars of translucent light going deep down into the water. It takes my breath away every time I come upon it ~as if by surprise,~ this view outside my sitting room window.
"I am just past the age of fifty and have much I want to do, to express through art my experiences of life.
"I began first by using clay as my medium, making coil-and-slab pots at an evening class in North London. My teacher was a South African woman who lived half her time on the Greek Island of Rhodes. One summer I spent a week up on the mountainside outside the village of Lardos working alongside Panioti, a wily old, sparkly eyed, Greek potter who was my teacher Lyn's mentor. His family had worked with clay for more than four hundred years in the same place. Once a month he would pack the kiln with his terracotta pots, and build inside his earth kiln a huge fire of wood, which needed to be fed day and night for many days. It was a powerful and exciting ritual.
"I came home from this trip with a small secret flame burning inside of me. That flame burns bright now because I have learned to stoke and fuel it with my passion and love of words and art and beauty and nature and music. All these things are what inspire and move me to want to make marks and images on clay on paper and on my computer, with paint with words with technology.
"I worked in clay for 10 years or so, slowly discovering that what I connected to was not so much the form, the body of the clay shape, but the images I wanted to create on the material.
"One day three years or so ago, I was standing idly in front of my Applemac. I had time to play and so I opened up the most simple of graphics programmes ~ "Claris Works' PaintBox". I had no conscious thought or idea inside my head. I just started to make a painting. It was my hand that led me with the mouse across the screen to make an arch with a small boat on a sea of blue, a dream of sailing away to some sunnier climate.
"I felt I had touched upon something secret inside of me that bypassed the right brain logic and conventionality, with its laws and rules. But most importantly the fear and inhibitions I harboured deep down of not being able to actually draw were blown away.
"To discover that I did not need to go by the rules with
this new technology, that I could take the mouse and move it
around the pad and make shapes and lines and colour because there
was no preconceived idea or expectation was the most liberating
breakthrough for me. I realized in that small moment of success
that I could do whatever I wanted.
"Everything that I have ever experienced effects what I do, from the dreams I have every night, which are often vivid and symbolic, or the nature I am surrounded by that touches my soul and keeps me grounded.
"My thoughts are like a child's kaleidoscope, fragments of ideas that jumble around like broken pieces of a puzzle that needs putting together. I love to use words, to paint with watercolors, oil, acrylic, glazes, oxides, the computer, what ever it takes.
"I take a small sketchbook with me wherever I go and I write and draw and paint my feelings and surroundings, sitting in cafes and watching the world go by around me is my favourite of all activities. I love to travel and see other countries and cultures and I love even more to come back to my peninsular home having eaten and drunk of new experiences that somehow in my work will reflect my participation here on this earth.
"I have just returned from an extraordinary place on the West Coast of Ireland ~ an artist's residency. I stayed in one of 5 stone cottages converted into studios which sit on the edge of a craggy stone mountain overlooking the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by a crescent of mountains.
"This is a poem I wrote whilst I was there:
1 Rose Farm Cottages,
Suffolk, IP9 1PH