When I was seven I lived under a rhododendron bush in The Wood. It was my Gaudi palace with its complex architecture of intricately woven branches and twisting, carved columns studded with the ruby reds of sumptuous flowers. It was my secret haven where I could stand on a throne of logs to recite the poems in my head and make drawings. The rooks were my companions and a mossy carpet embroidered with fallen blossom was my playground.
Years later I visit a different group of trees. I watch a new generation of rooks gather and swoop and listen to their cacophony of sound as the sun lowers itself into the tangled black lace of the treetops. I collect leaves and acorns, thoughts and words and feel my way into the moods and seasons of nature. I imagine I am a creature scrambling through earthy tunnels under the brambled hedgerow, weaving my way around gnarled roots. I imagine I am a bird, perching in that hedge with its skeins and creeping ribbons of berries. I watch the light pierce through gaps in the labyrinth of marks and shimmer in the ponds where I see the entangled trees and undergrowth reflected.
I take these thoughts back to my studio which is built from ancient beams of oak and elm. Here I can remain connected with the poetic, organic world of the woodland, hedge and field. I let the paint flow and mingle, using marks in ways that evoke and suggest something of nature's words and imagery. The challenge is to convey a mood and create an air of mystery or magic. The aim is to subtly alter reality into something more elusive. I enjoy playing with marks that are intriguing in themselves and sometimes merely allude to the facts. However, I am influenced by the way that the wanderings and happenings of paint often echo nature itself.
I sense my paintings are changing, growing, some shoots are withering, others are flourishing in fresh directions- just like the trees that have always informed them and influenced me.