I have been working in the professional field of painting for over twenty years. During that time, there was something holding me back from exhibiting a show entirely of my own work. There was a mental block for me. I believed that art and artist’s had a responsibility to speak for the time, to have some social or political commentary or protest. But my approach was always guided by something more personal. The experience of viewing my paintings, my intention is to instil a sense of calm in the viewer, happiness even.
This decision to commit to my personal work was the moment when I decided that these rules don’t apply to everyone. So I threw out the rule book and began to create my work.
A journey started once I began painting just for me. It was like a door had been locked inside me and suddenly I found the key. Once this door was opened there was no closing it. The ideas and inspiration came flooding out, I wake in the middle of the night now and want to go out to my studio to work. It’s the most incredible feeling. I feel completely free and inspired.
Once I allowed myself to drift from one subject to the next I noticed all these childhood memories coming up. When I was a child my Dad used to bring myself and my sister and brother down to the Dodder river. This place was very special. We used to skim stones on the water and see who could get the most hops. We did this with my Dad, who was with diagnosed with MND when I was 18, so I tend to think back to childhood when I think of him. That’s why the pebble paintings mean so much to me. These days I like to bring my own kids down the Dodder and tell them stories about my childhood and let them feel how special this was for me and my family.
The experience of producing this body of work has been like an awakening for me. The moment I gave myself permission to simply paint anything I wanted, with no questions and no rulebook something amazing happened. As soon as I began painting unrestricted I found the ideas come flooding out and they were all connected to each other. I noticed that I kept connecting with my childhood when I was painting. The same stories came back again and again until I finally dedicated one of my paintings to the memory of my Dad who passed away a few years ago from a rare form of MND.
I’ve always had a fascination with water and reflections and details. So, painting calm water scenes and highly reflective wet pebbles were the perfect combination for me. I adore detail and texture and love the challenge of reproducing them on canvas using vivid colours and high contrast. I always push colour close to the boundaries of what’s real or believable.
I discovered a slow drying water based medium which allowed me extra time for blending and creating textures. Several layers are used in each painting to help create a deeper more three-dimensional feeling.
I invite the viewer to step out of their busy lives and simply enjoy a moment of calm. We spend so much time rushing around the place that I wanted to create a space where people could escape all that noise and be swept away to somewhere tranquil and beautiful and think about standing at the water’s edge, picking up pebbles and throwing them into the water, hearing the lapping of waves, the clink of pebbles and feeling the smooth stones in their hand.