In my most recent work I have been looking at the landscape in varying degrees of focus. While I am still attracted by the drama of distant views and the colours and atmosphere created by the playing of light on water and the hills, I am becoming increasingly drawn to the minutiae of vegetation, its intricacy and the sparks of colour which occur in meadow, bog or on the hill. I am enjoying making work based on research carried out on Tanera Mor, the largest of the Summer Isles. This follows my series of mixed media paintings 'Frozen River'. That series stems from a walk I took in January 2016 in freezing conditions around Ullapool. The Ullapool River had frozen over in places creating the most beautiful ice patterns. I was particularly interested in looking at the different layers of the river: the stones and running water beneath the surface of the ice, the ice itself, and the stones above its surface. Using mixed media - oil pastels, acrylic paint and candlewax - I built up the surface of the work in different layers to echo the layering of the subject matter. Pools of acrylic paint dry with jewel-like intensity and the resist quality of candlewax when over-painted adds a textural element which I find irresistable. I am now exploring the landscape using mixed media, collaged collagraph, and oil on gessoed boards.
Brought up in Edinburgh where I received my primary and secondary education in the 1950s and 60s, I drew early inspiration from the teaching of Brenda Mark and exhibitions of the work of Joan Eardley. I graduated BA in English Language and Literature from Trinity College Dublin and later pursued post-graduate studies in History of Art at Edinburgh University. After some time working at the Wiener Library and Institute of Contemporary History in London, I returned to Edinburgh in September 1972 as assistant at McNaughtan's Bookshop. In April 1979 I purchased the bookshop, enjoying building up the art and architecture sections over the years, and in 2010 creating a gallery space within the bookshop.
In August 2015, I sold the bookshop and gallery business in order to be able to concentrate on my art practice which I have been glad to develop more seriously over the last 20 years through courses at Leith School of Art. During this time my practice has become centred on the landscape, especially that of NW Scotland. In the winter of 2015-16, immediately after my retirement from the book trade, I attended the Portfolio Course at Bridge House Art in Ullapool.
Winifred Nicholson wrote in her inspirational book Unknown Colour: 'What I have tried to do is to paint a picture that can call down colour, so that a picture can be a lamp in one's home, not merely a window. A window is what landscape painters build into the density of the walls of those rectangles with which we surround ourselves and call our homes. The density of our vision of light is what I would like to pierce. Have I done it at all in any small way?' She did. I aspire.