I am a painter / video-artist making work based on landscape and the “sense of place”. I am particularly drawn to worlds with a hidden history.



Making art should be fun and there should be a playful element – no restrictions, few expectations, open experimentation. I decided to cut up some of the engravings and create collages (well, technically montages as no glue was involved), I positioned the various cut up prints and photographed them.

What I discovered was that the simpler compositions were the most powerful: a contrast of forms (intricate, busy and detailed next to empty and simple) and dark next to light.

Back in the day, I said goodbye to my pictorial crutch: horizons, which easily enabled a contrast between light and dark (symbolic for me, more on that in another post). My tutor at the time (Chris Orr at the RCA), told me that if I abandoned the sky/land format, my zooms of nature could retain the light/dark element and be even stronger – all I had to do was look for that contrast in the all-over surface of marks and textures. He was right, of course. The challenge is always there and I’m always pushing myself, and the work, to find that contrast and balance in my images.

The new series of compositions based on the collages will be painted on one metre square canvases, textures made with carborundum grit, glue and gesso and in a circular format. Each one will include a fluorescent flat colour which will contrast with the more muted colour of the texture.


Printing the engravings has revealed many new possibilities. The quality of the engraved lines is extraordinary, very much like a drypoint, with the ink not only collecting in the intaglio cut, but in the burr of the aluminium resulting a beautiful soft, velvety line. I also added drypoint to enrich the contrast of line quality.

The ‘happy accidents’ (the thing that inspires me most about printmaking) occur most when printing with two plates, the first being a pseudo aquatint created by applying caustic soda to specific areas of the aluminium. I inked this up in a colour: pink, yellow, teal… and then printed the second darker engraved plate on top. So many unexpected surfaces and ink juxtapositions evolved – and far more exciting than had I planned them.

Since making proofs, I have editioned the plates ready for exhibiting.

I recently acquired a book on the textile designer Tibor Reich, he was big in the 50s and his company, Tibor, is still going; he took mundane photos of close-ups of nature (mud, bark etc.) and repeated them to create beautiful designs – familiar territory for me, inspirational all the same. I decided to play with mirroring my prints digitally, unexpected images appeared which worked well on many levels: powerful forms when viewed from a distance and when viewed close up, intricate patterns and shapes reminiscent of Boschian creatures and flora.

It has been a year since I first made the photos of my blood cells and the period of time for me to ruminate and live with the images has been important: to reduce the risk of them being merely illustrations, they needed to not only be distanced from their origin as photos of cells, but needed to take on a life of their own, developing through the creative process.

I am now starting a series of large engravings (80cm by 140cm) inspired by the mirrored prints. The larger scale will give me much more scope for ‘happy accidents’ and will hopefully result in more powerful and exciting work.


Knowing what you want to achieve and achieving it… The creative process must take its own direction, it’s a process that can take multiple directions; I know that I want to create a series of prints that will be collated into a book, each one comprising two colours and based on images of photos of my coagulating blood cells. Despite this specific direction, I also recognize the need to embrace unexpected creative avenues.

Images: I am conscious that creating illustrations of my cells serves no function – if I am to introduce something new into an already saturated visual world, it must not be fodder, but something stimulating and challenging – multiple layers that can enrich on multiple viewings.

I am a huge fan of Suzi Gablik’s writing, she believed that art must allow the viewer to enter an encounter beyond just the visual and become something magically enriching on a visceral and transcendental level – so unfashionable today: the sublime that connects Turner to Mondrian to Newman. I am conscious to create work that is not ‘obvious’ that can serve to open up this type of experience touching the ‘numinous’, the ‘Other’ – lofty aims, but why create shallow art that is pointless and leaves the viewer only instantly gratified and not possibly changed in some way?

The prints must initially grab the viewer, but offer much more… The viewing experience should be a journey, but not necessarily with a single destination based on images/signs that only seem familiar, they should seem disorientating and open up a multitude of possible enriching experiences.

All of this seems a worthy ideal, but to stop the ink reacting with the aluminium plate and turning black is my immediate concern!


Today was the first day of my residency at AHH Studio Collective here in Malton, North Yorkshire. I’ve lived in the town for five years and it was just by chance, through a friend, that I became aware it existed. I’ve walked past the building many times and wondered what AHH stands for – now I know, ‘Art Happens Here’.

I miss my time at Magdalen Roads Studios in Oxford where I met many like-minded artists and enjoyed many collaborations… I was thinking that it is now the time to head to Leeds to be part of a contemporary art-scene and low-and-behold, there’s one five minute’s walk from my house. I’m looking forward to getting to know the other artists who have studios there and sharing ideas.

A month totally dedicated to my practice is exactly what I need to develop the next stage of my ‘Self | Cell’ blood cell project, I know what I’d like to explore initially, but hope the work will take its own direction.

I had intended to be making videos of my own blood during the residency, I’d decided I’d have to get over my trypanophobia (I had to google it: fear of needles) for the sake of my work, but my studio practice has had to be put on hold as I broke my ankle messing about on the moors. So, I’m behind where I wanted to be at the start of the residency, unfortunately the videos made with my blood will have to wait until I’ve explored the photos of my cells further through a series of engravings/drypoints.

Day 1: Plate preparation. Today I prepared 72 aluminium plates ready to engrave. Perhaps they’ll form a book or be part of an installation, it’s early days – but I do know that each image will be created with two plates of two colours, so 36 prints in total, all re-presenting me, my blood.