Having finished studies at both Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University I moved into a career in theatre and film and television as a costume designer. Although working, I continued to paint and in 2000 I decided to focus on my painting full time. As well as exhibiting with many galleries I have also exhibited with the RGI and Paisley Art Institute. I am also a member of the Society of Scottish Artists.
The unique landscape of the Scottish west coast and its many islands have always attracted me. Each of these islands have their own character and outlook. Over the years I have walked or cycled most of them from Islay in the Southern Hebrides to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides there is a sense of something different in these islands, the pace of life and the friendly people and their lifestyle.
On the islands you can experience all the seasons in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. Weather passes quickly and no one day starts or finishes the same as another. The quality of light here is also of a more intense nature, bouncing of a glittering sea, making the colours of the big sky, the machair and mountains seem more alive and complex.
Equipped with paints, sketchbooks, sketching easel and camera and the hope of some varied weather, blue skies are lovely but sometimes it’s good to have a bit of a storm! I then begin gathering material that I can then take back to my studio. I will walk and cycle the coastlines stopping to sketch and paint on the way. I always visit my favourite painting spots which are many but foray into new areas to find the unexpected. I enjoy the whole experience of being there from the amazing birdlife and plants to the ancient remains of past settlements.
Back in the studio I can start distilling my material into a finished work. I prepare my own canvases in order to have a surface which I feel comfortable painting on. Working on several paintings at the one time, it can take a few weeks before I am happy with the final result. Using both palette knives and brushes in a piece and introducing layers of colour and texture as I go helps me recreate that feeling of light and colour from the islands.
When at home near the Campsie Fells I find my inspiration in the woods and waterways near my village. Although landscape is my main area of practice, I enjoy the change of colour palette of still life painting which can also inform my landscapes.