Question: When you start with a blank canvas, do you have in mind what you are trying to achieve?
Answer: The painting is created by mark making rather than trying to create a beautiful image. I might start with a feeling or colour in mind and what I know about blending for example but then experiment by bringing in something else. Itʼs just playing really. Nobody knows where it is going to go from there – least of all, me!
Question: Your paintings seem to have such depth, how do you achieve that?
Answer: The depth comes from two aspects. Firstly, they are very heavily layered so each painting might have up to 30 different layers of paint on it. Each layer is thinned down so that it allows a view into the layers below. That is how you can see a particular colour even though there are another 10, 15 or 20 layers of other paint on top of it. Secondly, the paints which I use are the best oil paints in the world and are pure natural pigment. When light falls on the colour, it brings out the purity and vibrancy of the pigment, bringing it to life, to resonate.
Question: Do you have any favourite colours?
Answer: I donʼt have favourite colours, I have weapons to make my paintings look alright! The colours I use regularly change all the time as I discover different colours and what I can do with them. The other day I used salmon pink but experimented with putting indian yellow over it. You wouldn’t think of painting your lounge pink and yellow would you! But itʼs created a serene greeny-blue and it brings warmth into the layers and glazes. I donʼt think two people see the same colour so thereʼs quite a lot to play with. The colours I put on a painting will mix differently in your eye as they do when I look at it – or anyone elses.
Question: A good proportion of your paintings are very dark. Are you in a different frame of mind when you paint dark?
Answer: No. My problem is a tendency to overwork the painting. I will get an idea down which works but then I push it a bit more to get the depth of colour and the changing of the light. The more work that goes into a painting, the darker it can become. Andy, my husband often has to stop me – I donʼt believe him when he tells me to stop, he can see I have achieved something – all I see is NOT achieving the ‘somethingʼ I started out to . He doesnʼt always get to me in time but he has saved many, many paintings. e.g. ‘Falling in to the kissʼ.
Question: How do you come up with the titles for your paintings?
Answer: Iʼm a word magpie – I steal them! I listen to music, the radio and listen to people talking and if they use a series of words which appeal to me, then Iʼll write them down and when Iʼve finished a painting, Iʼll look through my available titles and find one that matches or fits the painting. The titles are important, particularly for a viewer if theyʼre not used to looking at original art as the title can be a helping hand into the painting.
Question: You don’t sign your paintings. Why not?
Answer: I sign them on the back but not on the front because I want my paintings to give that feeling of depth as it you were looking at the space between where you are and the furthest point in the painting. A signature on the front would destroy that depth limiting the distance you can see. The painting isnʼt about me itʼs about whoever is looking at it at the time and ultimately by whoever owns it.
Question: What do you want us, your viewers to ‘see’ in your paintings?
Answer: I don’t want to tell you/the viewers what to see – I would prefer you to tell me. My paintings may make suggestions but your imagination and engagement is far more important. The painting only comes to life then.
Kaleidoscopic’ collection in progress in The Dirty Studio