I am a painter, printmaker and songwriter from West Yorkshire, UK. I spent most of my twenties learning how to paint; at art school and as an artist-in-residence around Europe. I did a post-graduate course at Cyprus College of Art then took up residency in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Spain and The Netherlands. 

How an environment or landscape affects us, and how we project our internal worlds onto it has always been on my mind when making things. I used to be a bit obsessed with projecting images onto surfaces, theatre sets and dioramas; I wanted to paint them, and I tried, but I reached a certain point where I felt I couldn’t move on. I was frustrated with the medium and too focused on the subject matter. Around this time I was also becoming increasingly reliant on writing music as a way to explore my creative ideas and it began to take over. I moved back to the UK and formed a band. I also developed costumes for our live performances, along with sculptures and live projections for the stage, and made music videos for the songs. It was all sorts of fragments of the stuff I was trying to paint. Just different surfaces and different mediums. 

In my mid-thirties I moved to Lanzarote. The lack of colour (or more specifically the extreme subtlety of colour) of the landscape totally changed my perspective with regards to making things and what I was trying to achieve as a visual artist. It put me directly in touch with the surface of the landscape, and this opened my mind artistically to constructing images. I realised that I was always trying to mute the colour in my paintings to expose and explore the surface, whilst simultaneously wanting to use colour more, and I couldn’t do both.

I intended to live permanently in Lanzarote and run my own artist residency programme, but returned to the UK after 6 months because my partner got really ill, and then we had kids. But I intend to return one day and finish what I started. Now I am currently living in my home country in West Yorkshire with my new family. Since becoming a mother I only have a few very short moments (literally half an hour!) each week to myself and that’s why I’ve started relief printing; it’s a calculated image-making process that can be done in short stages, but this has weirdly allowed me to work with a greater freedom than what I previously allowed myself as a painter. I’m learning so much about colour, line, structure and surface relationships from the printing process and this is all new territory for me to explore in my paintings one day. When I carve the surface of the lino to print something I’m seeing it as a landscape now, getting lost in those territories, and then the layering process brings further structural ideas. The process of printing can reveal the surface as a landscape in itself to me. 

Most of these recent prints are based on drawings and photos I made when I lived in Lanzarote and travelled around the Canary Islands. This body of work I am creating is, I suppose, a consequence of the trauma I experienced whilst living in such an amazing part of the world for such a short period of time - and having to leave it behind. It was going to be my home, and now it’s somewhere far away, an exotic idea mixed up with great and terrible memories. I’m quite fascinated by these themes; of belonging, fantasy, identity, idealism, the inner and external interplay of worlds. I’m using all these fragments of memories to work through and cultivate something unresolved in my work. Printing has an almost vacant quality to it at times; this is a thing I like as a narrative and then I often find it visually limiting and want to make a painting instead. So I see my prints as almost preparatory work for future paintings. And for this reason, when I make a run of prints, they are all different because  I am constantly experimenting with each layer in the process. Consequently, I have never made two prints the same; they are all one-off prints.

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