‘In September 2017 I and my wife, Mary left the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides to live in Edinburgh. I had lived in the islands for 25 years..
They are a raw and beautiful landscape of water and air, open, treeless and crofted, where the land is the product of the interaction of an ancient, traditional, pastoral land use, and a fragile ecology.’
‘From 2013 onwards I had begun to look for new landscapes to inspire me, my first explorations saw me seeking out more extreme landscapes. I had the good fortune to make two trips to the far north of Iceland , spending a month in Akureyri in September 2013 and April 2015 in Siglufjordur. The landscape of Iceland was a new and exciting challenge. The graphic rhythms of rock, ice and snow encouraged me into a period of experimentation. I found myself making works that were entirely found, not based on a source drawing, applying paint to boards until the appearance of an image seems to me to evoke a landscape. An amazing sea trip up the west coast of Iceland and as far north as Svalbard continued my encounters with snow, ice and water.
In 2015 I had my first solo show at the Doubtfire Gallery in Edinburgh. The landscapes reflected the trips to Iceland and the Artic but also paid homage to the Hebrides. However the seeds of change were planted and my next trip was to my home region of Northumberland to its softer, lusher valleys and moorland hills. It also marked a change in artistic direction, looking to line and shape rather than dramatic graphic depictions of light and shade. There was greater abstraction and a more controlled simplification of the subject. The images were found though a different approach. This led to a new successful exhibition at the Doubtfire in 2017.
Arriving in Edinburgh meant I needed to return to the world of employment and to find a new studio. To my surprise and relief I was taken on part-time in visitor services by the Museum of Scotland and was able to secure a studio space with Edinburgh Palette. Unfortunately I felt like Jonah as I had no sooner moved in than the future of the building was placed in doubt.
However I continue to work in the building and have produced a group of work based on the Borders carrying on the work started in Northumberland. Recently I have begun to employ my new creative approach to the city and have a number of new paintings underway. I am optimistic that they will be on exhibition at the Doubtfire Gallery in their new gallery space in August.’
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