This year something unexpected happened in my work. I abandoned my studio and set off on a new path. I also put aside my brushes and discovered different tools to put paint down and achieve the immediacy I was seeking. My most important tool however, became my eye, which led to the title for this exhibition. These works are about seeing and responding to my Marlborough environment.
After Passages opened at the Millennium Gallery in December 2013, I felt the need for a new direction. For once, nothing was rushing in to fill the creative lull inevitably following an exhibition opening, and I found myself literally facing a blank canvas, and asking where to from here?
As always, nothing stands still, and I hosted a workshop led by Wayne Seyb early in 2014, which inspired me to get out of the studio, plant my easel outside and take another look at my backyard. To paint outside was a major change for me. I realised I had to work quickly, for lots of practical reasons, not only including the rapidly changing light, weather, unexpected gusts of wind, to name just a few of the challenges I hadn't experienced before in my calm studio.
But more than the limitations, I discovered a new way of seeing and responding to the everyday backdrop of my life. I feel as though I've had to learn to paint all over again - that everything I have worked at since Art School needed to be put aside. I have re-learnt to observe how the light falls onto the landscape, how my eye sees that, and how I respond by applying colour to my board or canvas. I have forced myself to stop and truly observe until I have a clear visual understanding of what is in front of my easel. This is the essence of my work this year, and these studies are my response to what I see around me. I have moved away from the paramounce of form.
My new routine is to load paints, boards and tools into the back of the car and set out for the day to remote places. I observe then attempt to capture my response to the places I find myself in. I have learned that if I go back to the studio and tinker with the work, I lose the immediacy of my response, so all these studies have been completed on location, sometimes after several visits at the same time of day. I have also discovered other tools besides my brushes - all of these works have been painted either with pallette knives or pieces of reinforced card, to achieve the desired marks.