I have been continuing my exploration of surface, collage and paint montages. These have been deliberately done rather quickly as I wanted to initially let my instinct take over the creation and merging rather than use an analytical take.
In ‘Strange ways’ I started with torn images from a magazine, focusing on patterns of lines and circles. These I quickly stuck onto a greenish painted surface, going for sense of movement, trying to follow the directional pull of the patterns themselves. Then I sat back and studied the resultant effect. It looked kind of weird, as if another sort of place in a different sort of time. I played with this eerie quality, darkening here, emphasising its strangeness sitting amongst the space.
‘Yellow and marble’ used a similar approach with magazine collage and pattern, although I covered the surface more thoroughly. The roughness of the painted canvas underneath was allowed to show through. I scraped and swirled paint within bits of the collage emulating the pattern and gestures I could see.
In ‘Doorways’ I cut out rectangles from the magazine, all neutral colours. These I pasted upon a roughly painted surface of black and white. The idea was to create portals and avenues through to elsewhere – working with invisible grids and lines to create different dimensions of space. Upon the surface I used ink to paint deviations and squiggles – like bits of loose cotton that have got caught within it. Drips and scratches permeate the canvas and close up you can see the texture and roughness of the collage and surface.
‘Half-light’ started with a deep pink background. I collaged cut out shapes, reminiscent of leaves. I was aiming for something simple and graceful but the initial actual effect just annoyed me – it looked too stark and definite. I found myself finger painting with blues and greens, dots of red and coral, the marks falling down upon the raised surface. This I was happy with, like a tree in the rain.
These paintings or collages – whatever you would like to call them are not meant to be complicated. They are not trying to say something deeply philosophical or be steeped in ‘art-speak’ terminology. They are simply me, responding in the way many of us respond to the world around us. If what is in front of us is familiar in anyway, then we assimilate this into what we already know, recognisable patterns, scenes and places. So a piece of collage, painted gesture or textured surface can speak to most of us– although exactly what is said may be quite different from person to person. Our brains are pretty good at crossing those borders to make sense of things whatever the medium that is used. However if it is new to us and unrecognisable, then we have to get our head around it, and accommodate it – a much harder task, but once done, it is a learnt experience and there for good.


I have been working on my collages on oak board over the last month or so. It has been intermittent, with lots of gaps in between. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t. I am not very good at letting things go, (when perhaps I should), so I persevered with these.
The whole premise behind these works is to explore a little further the crossing of borders between photography, collage, paint and surface. I focused primarily on old cities, deliberately letting the surface of the primed board (rabbit skin glue and marble dust) show through and also letting the rips and tears within the collaged image reveal themselves. Just like the surfaces of a city with it’s rough surfaces, worked over many times, pasted adverts ripped off or covered over with yet another advert or swabs of paint partially obscuring what was. Layer upon layer of history building up over time that you can physically brush with your fingers as you walk around the streets. The element of touch conjoining the person, the buildings, the past and the future.
I deviated a little within these explorations as I had so much fun adding texture to the work. I think it’s good to mix things up a little so one of my pieces, rather than use a city, I simply collaged and finger painted onto a thick piece of round cardboard, using images of a UK pebbly beach and a dog. I wanted to convey an idea of a memory, the visceral sense of the rocks, a damp dog and the old boats marooned like beached whales. For another 2 pieces I collaged onto small canvases (also primed with rabbit skin glue and marble dust). One was of a scene in Margate – I liked the idea of this connection between the vast expanses of sand and pools of water and the grey grey sky (as it happened to be that day). The other was a very small study of a section of crumbly looking wall with wisps of foliage trailing and creeping all over, as if becoming one with it…and there upon lies the thrust of all these pieces.


My 2 latest paintings have been exploring similar themes but in very different ways.

‘Discretion’ plays with the patterns I found in scrunched up newspaper which I juxtaposed with the close up detail of a lace fan. It is complicated and intricate. I am forcing a comparison and meeting together of 2 very different types of objects, newspaper and lace and seeing those similarities between the creases, the marks and the material. Conceptually I like the play of the ideas of newspaper revealing information but in its brevity and selectiveness, also hiding as much as it reveals. Ditto with a lace fan, only certain information is revealed. So the imagery of the tactile and material physicality mirrors the thought behind the concept.

‘Fever’ grew out of illness. I had an infection and was definitely out of it when I started to put the piece together – circles within circles, circles within squares, squares within circles and so on. The idea of macro and micro, cosmos, atoms and amoeba being interchangeable with each other. I intensely disliked this piece as I was working on it. It seemed to clash and reverberate and drive me a little crazy. It was later when I looked at it, I realised it reflected my state of health at the time; a fluctuating shift between lucidity and being somewhere else completely.

How to explain the similarity between these 2 paintings? Well apart from the similar processes I use to produce them, both paintings are complex in their workings. Detailed in their imagery and focusing on patches of repeated pattern and in some parts obsession. Both also use conceptual analogy to parallel the visual representation.


This latest work has grown out of my art that has essentially gone wrong.

When tidying up my studio I came across a few medium sized blank canvases. In an ‘experimental, waste not, want not’ kind of mood, I spray painted these with different colour paints that I had found among my supplies. The outcome was a lot shinier than I expected and I did think at the time, they probably were not really a suitable surface for the image transference process that I was about to undertake – nevertheless, I tried anyway.

Not surprisingly, each of the canvases ended up looking nothing like they should have – bits of paper were coming off willy-nilly and whole lumps of the transferred imagery just disappeared into oblivion.

I sat on my floor of my studio studying the result intently. If I squinted my eyes and didn’t look too closely, the effect was actually rather interesting. This set me off deliberately tearing more bits of paper off and drawing and painting into the resulting disarray with ink and oil paint.

I did my normal trick of turning the canvas around to shake each canvas from its positional context. I let my imagination do its thing, using what I could see in front of me to springboard my ideas into a new place, making shapes and patterns out of the mess and then further using painting to spiral me elsewhere. It is an intuitive and emotional process and it is also experimental and analytical. It is a constant process of do, stop and look, do, stop and look, and in-between these moments, daydream and imagine. There is no grand unveiling but rather a continuous movement – the peeling and uncovering of layer after layer, the adding of marks to further transform. The rough edges and indistinct imagery reshape and redefine the canvas time and time over as my fingers translate what my imagination lets me see.