When I was 5 years old, I moved with my family to South Africa, returning to the UK after university. These formative years, with a father who had taken to painting, inspired in me a lifelong passion for art, nature, wildlife, the endless sky and the mesmerising oceans.
RECYCLING MEMORIES ONTO CANVAS - LAND AND SEASCAPES
As a travel writer for the past 15 years I have had the great fortune to travel to some incredible countries and places of exceptional beauty, where I reviewed hotels, took photographs and made short films. I also built up a vast memory bank of images and experiences to last a lifetime. On my trips I worked tirelessly, because I never wanted to miss an unforgettable moment: sunrises, sunsets and everything in-between. Not to mention the night sky! My awe and fascination for the natural world remains almost childlike in its wonder.
As a result of the global pandemic, the travel industry came to a standstill. In lockdown, I took up painting more seriously - having only dabbled the year before - in order to express my feelings and memories on canvas. I found it extremely therapeutic during a testing time.
I dusted off my father's vintage easel and started placing large blank canvases on its well-used frame. I am drawn to the sea, the sky, the undulating landscape of the South Downs, where I live, and also mountains and cliffs (but usually near an ocean or a river). I also paint impressionistic canvases, usually straight from my imagination.
Colour and mood are my driving force and while I am drawn to muted pastel tones, I delight in mixing colours and discovering a different shade with each canvas. My mind leads me into each canvas, and most of my technique comes through experimentation, allowing me to paint without constraint thus reflecting my true feelings with an unrestrained hand.
I was very fortunate to start painting in an ancient barn, in what was once Arthur Rackham's studio (and also Jose Weiss's), which was a stroll across the courtyard from our house. I think of Rackham's quote often, inscribed on his sundial in the garden: "Like the sundial, my paint box counts no hours but sunny ones".
These canvases are very experimental using a variety of techniques and often inspired by flowers, winged animals and trees. They are symbolic of my passion for nature and colour, which I like to combine with a poetic narrative.
Alongside my personal work I started a collaboration with photographer Tillmann Pretscher, called www.forgottenbeauties.com
The idea came about as a result of our mutual fascination and admiration for the weird and wonderful world of insects. Mine because of growing up in South Africa and discovering first-hand insects that were so exotic, gigantic and colourful that I was instantly transfixed. Tillmann's father is an eminent entomologist and Tillmann had grown up understanding their bionic structure and relevance within our ecosystem. It was the perfect combination of like minds to then create large canvases, combining our skills resulting in exceptionally detailed artwork using rare, endangered, and common insects, all of which are precariously in decline. And so began forgotten beauties, an ongoing and ever evolving project.
LONDON EXHIBITION, JANUARY - MARCH 2022
My latest exhibition opened on January 25th at The Bingham Riverside in Richmond, entitled "Nature's Wonders" featuring a range of landscapes, seascapes and impressionistic animal paintings, including several insects from my Forgotten Beauties collaboration with Tillmann Pretscher. All these paintings are for sale and the exhibition continues until March.