I am an artist, working from Coburg House Studios in Edinburgh and from home in East Lothian. Most of my work is inspired by my immediate surroundings – the hills and coast of East Lothian and the colourful architecture, urban landscape and ever-changing washing lines in the council blocks surrounding my studio. Other work is inspired by travel. A recent spell living in India has undoubtedly influenced my use of colour.
I work mostly with pure pigments and oil paint. When using pigments, they will be mixed with various materials, including hide glue, gesso, beeswax, oil and varnish. This allows me to make my own colours and to play with different thicknesses, layering the translucent and the opaque.
I am also exploring printmaking and have recently enjoyed making some very abstract pieces and an installation, inspired by winter walks in the moorland near my home.
The paintings in this exhibition are all completed following sketching and walking in the Lammermuir Hills. Sketching outside is a very important part of my working process. When I am working on a painting, I will use my sketches as a point of reference but will usually create something different in the painting, possibly more abstract, occasionally very abstract.
When sketching and making notes, I will often be drawn to the man-made marks left by different generations. Iron Age remnants are dotted around the Lammermuirs – circular brochs, forts and cairns of stones. These shapes are contrasted with more modern geometric shapes of fields or deep black squares where heather has been burnt, peat dug or conifers have been planted in blocks.
Ancient routes criss-cross the landscape too. Those taken by monks in the middle ages; by fishwives in the 18th Century carrying creels of silver darlings to the market in Lauder; v-shaped gouges where heavily laden carts have been dragged through the peat.
The permanence of these marks on the landscape is in contrast with the general experience of these walks and sketching sessions. The mood of this isolated moorland can alter in an instant. I am particularly interested in capturing these moments of transience and energy – the first and last light of the day when bright shards of light hit long dark shadows; when mist gently lifts; when the heather is on fire; when clouds thunder across the sky changing the patterns of light or when a storm passes and leaves an intense colour of soaking bracken and peat.
I am a professional member of Visual Arts Scotland and a graduate for The Painting Course and Printmaking Course at Leith School of Art.
Gordon Smith Painting Award exhibition for shortlisted artists, Dovecot Studios, 2016
Royal Scottish Academy (Visual Arts Scotland) 2013, 2015 and 2016
Coburg House Gallery 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016
Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh 2015
Visual Arts Scotland Exhibition, Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, Peebles 2014
The Doubtfire Gallery 2011 and 2012
The Compass Gallery 2010/11
Edinburgh Art Fair 2009
Visual Arts Scotland Exhibition, Gracefield Arts Centre 2009 and 2013
Frames Gallery, Perth 2009
Leith School of Art 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015
Three Harbours Festival, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Peter Potter Gallery, Haddington various mixed exhibitions 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009