Growing up on the East Coast of Scotland, with a keen interest in history, storytelling and my own family heritage I create drawings and paintings in order to explore connections with the people who have come before me and the land that inspires me. The places in my paintings whilst reminiscent of places I have been are partly imagined, the people could come from my past or that of the viewer. There is a connection there if the viewer chooses to see it.
Each person has a story. One that can be shared with us all. Each piece has a sense of history and place but one that is suggested rather than imposed. Gradually as viewers of my work tell me the stories that they see, so these narratives seep into my work too and become part of what inspires me. Generations of families living through uncertain times but bound together by community, loss and hope.
Layers of muted colours and textured paint are built up in the same way that memories are accumulated over our lifetime and from the generations before. A history, half remembered, stories told and adapted over time. I often feel that rather than painting or drawing on a surface, I am excavating an image, a person or a place, revealing something that has been there for a long, long time and my process is one of applying layers and scraping or erasing away, leaving remnants that are built up and removed over and over until the final image comes together.
My work, I feel is all about connection. Our connection to something we recognise in the characters I portray or a landscape that resembles somewhere we have seen or been to before. But also the connection between the people, the communities and their impact and relationship to the landscape in what they reside. I love the details that we see in a landscape. A time when houses and villages are rooted in and belong to the surrounding hills and coastline. Built in such a way that they appear to have always been there.
The people I portray also have a sense of history, perhaps a melancholic way of reminding us of what has long since passed, what we have lost in many ways. Emotion and memory etched on their faces. But there is hope there too if you choose to see it. Something that we can also find within ourselves. A recognition that this is where we have come from. That we too can hold each other, connect, survive and thrive in even the most challenging of times.
There is a part of me in each face that I draw and each place that I paint, an ongoing journey to find my own place in this world.