I paint the sea where there is an attachment, memories, time spent and understood. Eshaness is one such place; it is where my lovely mum comes from and where I visited every year as a child through to adulthood. It was, and I still think of Shetland as my second home. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The images come from the very kind donations of people who have visited and been as captivated by the area as I am. I enjoyed the sense of detachment that came from seeing the place through another person’s eyes. Something I am keen to explore further
My focus in 2015 and 16 was to paint s diverse body of sea paintings, to think of them as separate pieces rather than part of a wall or exhibition which told a story of one day, moment and sea.
The process of painting is in and of itself a great wonder to me, the layers of ink, pen, wax, and oil keep me engrossed for days.
The sea, stars, and navigation.
The sea is a timeless ever-changing and inﬁnite subject matter, one that has fascinated writers, scientists, historians and artists for millennia; my deep affinity spans from early childhood, primarily due to my background in a fishing family where the sea was an everyday part of my life visually, economically and latterly, philosophically.
Growing up on the peninsula of Kintyre I was obsessed by the scale of the ocean, its physicality, poetry and my father’s voyages on it to catch fish. I loved his tales of the stars on a clear night and their use in navigation.
These paintings are an exploration of the sublime grandeur and mystery of the ocean while uncovering its science. I wanted to discover the romantic interrelation with the sea and how it shares something with painting. It is not a controllable entity; we can try to harness it, but there is always something elusive. I hope that my work is a dialogue with art history, paint and my complex alliance to the sea.
The paintings during this period are 'titled' after fishing boats - Beaufort no 2 Machrihanish, Altair’ Within the diptych of waves, I picked the constellation of the Altair (on the first painting you can see on this section– it is the name of the last fishing boat to remain in the family ) in phosphorus, so the stars become illuminated in low light.
Night view of painting
Phospherous stars are painted on to the surface of the painting with diagrams, phrases, and equations. Some of this would be layered over, but the phosphorous glowed once the pictures became dark. The stars or constellations used were those traditionally fishing boats would be called after; Aquila, Altair, Orion, Carina (etc.)