My work often begins with journeys: my own and those of others. I have always been intrigued by the desirability of being ‘somewhere else’ and the idea that it is better, more exciting and interesting than ‘here’. In his book ‘A Rebours’, Huysmans describes his leading character, the Duc de Essientes, as an obsessed Anglophile who dreams of travelling to Dickensian London. Having made all the preparations for the trip, he is overcome with lethargy, recalling the rigours of previous trips. What is the point of travelling to a place he has already been to in his imagination? How could it possibly live up to the dream he already has? He decides to stay home and never travel again.
With the technology available today it is possible to stay home and travel the world at the same time. This can be done vicariously through the journeys of others who record and display their trips online and in print. We do not have to make a carbon footprint as various media offer us visions of travel to inspire and excite. I research all of these but also feel compelled to make the journeys myself. For me it is important to visit and experience a particular place and create a visual record through drawing. I also document with photographs and film but it is most important have the time and space to draw. My studio practice is based on this research along with the journeys of others and their perception of place alongside an engagement with the process of painting and an exploration of the medium in all its complexities.
My process of making small collages grew from a need to simplify my making practice due to time constraints and changing ideas about painting. I spent a week at Dollar Summer School a few years back making collages direct from the model using scraps of painted paper made from leftover palette colours and recycled envelopes. These were sometimes partially painted over during these sessions and then used as starting points for small paintings on board back in my studio. Collage continues to be an important part of my making process at weekly life drawing sessions and while travelling and recording the world around me.