Born 1975 – Bangor, Gwynedd.
Grew up on Anglesey. Developed a love of landscape and walking in nature as a child; exploring the beaches, woods, fields, rivers and ancient sites on the east coast of the island; drawing and painting seascapes, wildlife and ponies. Despite studying art at school, studied German and Law at university. Intervening years were spent (miserably) pursuing ‘proper jobs’ in London and the south coast of England. Ultimately returned to Wales and rediscovered art.
Studied at Coleg Menai in Bangor, then completed BA Fine Art at Winchester School of Art in 2010. Whilst at art school walking became an important feature of my practice, referencing land artists such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton. I explored these ideas using film, photography and performance. Met Scottish husband during my degree (originally from Lockerbie) and he introduced me to Dumfries & Galloway, and Eskdalemuir in particular. Eventually we were able move our family back to Lockerbie in 2016, and realised our dream of settling in Eskdalemuir in 2018.
The landscape that immediately surrounds our home has inspired me to reconnect with my love of painting and drawing. Daily walks up forest tracks in to the hills inform my practice. Compositions develop out of a combination of plein air sketches, photos and memory. Walking allows me to notice the small things birds insects, moss, stones lichens, changing colours of leaves, berries . Looking out in to the landscape from above the valley, I contemplate the bigger questions. My work represents that enquiry. In addition, our home is orientated towards Ettrick Pen (hence it’s name ‘Mountview’) The mountain is ever-changing due to the light, weather conditions and seasons. I can always find inspiring colour even on the bleakest of days.
As an artist and mum, time constraints are an issue. I prefer to use materials and media that are readily to hand and offer quick and immediate results. Often drawing and painting on backs of envelopes and bits of cardboard out of the recyling – having glimpsed from the kitchen sink or living room window, an interesting change of light or cloud over the hill. Water colour, graphite and acrylic paint lend themselves well to this approach. In the studio, I work up paintings on canvas from my sketchbooks/carboard pieces. I enjoy working with a palette knife. As acrylic paint is fast-drying it allows me to build up of layers of texture and more saturated colour quickly.
I would like to develop a project to explore further themes related to living in this particular valley. Including:
• Challenges to landscape and wildlife due to the impact of commercial agriculture and forestry
• Evolving local history and community
• Archaeology and the prevalence of ancient sites in this particular place.
• Topography and geology of the valley
• The Black and White Esk rivers
• Buddhism and the significance of spirituality in the valley
I am interested in learning how to make natural pigments ground from stones gathered from the river Esk and inks from materials foraged from the hedgerow; to create paintings/drawings. I would like this project to culminate in another exhibition featuring the paintings/drawing but also to include other media such gathered sound, film and found objects.