Me and my studio
I’ve been drawing longer than I can remember, and painting since not much after that. As a youngster I was often to be found roaming the Lake District hills with my brother, sister and parents. Many weekends were spent scrambling up hills – surrounded by glorious landscapes, atmospheric skies and colourful plants.
These activities obviously left their mark on me, as I’m now lucky enough to paint for a living. It was my dream, my one driving ambition as a teenager to be a professional artist, and I’m very proud to say that my all dreams came true!
Many times I’ve been asked what I think of when I’m painting, and I know that people expect an ‘arty’ answer, but the truth is that I am often lost in the process. I’m obsessed with colour, as you can see in many of my paintings, and strive to show the subtle details that we all see but often go unnoticed.
I like to explore many of the same themes and images, the tension between abstraction and representation, the duel between techniques and moods.
Colour plays the main role in what I create. A high or low perspective of densely knotted vegetation, a frantic pattern of grained wood or choking greenery that is so visually claustrophobic it has to be rescued by some sense of the landscape it lies in. I see it as bolts of illumination.
I find it hard to describe what I specifically want to convey through my work. They are made through feelings rather than words. If I was forced to sum up what I want to express, I would describe them as dreamlike and nostalgic yet contemporary. They speak of memories and the endurance of images. Atmospheric and melancholic, they are inconsequential moments that are highly charged.
As a landscape artist I endeavour to inspire and nurture our love of the natural world.
I’ve painted almost constantly since leaving University, taking a small break when my children were born, and have had some unusual studios. A spare bedroom, and a garage were quite comfortable, but it’s probably best not to talk too much about the cow shed (not a disused cow shed I should add!)
In August 2014 I was lucky enough to stumble across an old, unused church in my hometown of Langholm that was for sale. Although I wasn’t looking for a new studio I was intrigued by the opportunity to at least look at such a wonderful building, and so made a viewing appointment.
As we walked up to look at the church for the first time, craig and I agreed to play it cool – not look too enthusiastic, point out some potential issues, look concerned and try to give the impression that we’d have to be persuaded to take on such an old building.
It didn’t quite go that way!
As we entered the church we saw the huge windows on three sides of the building, the beautiful stained glass windows on the fourth wall and immediately lost the cool, hard-faced persona we’d tried to hard to put on! Running around like giddy schoolchild, we discovered toilets, a kitchen, a room downstairs that was perfect for all Craigs framing equipment an even two huge gas radiators (the thought of being warm in the winter almost sent us over the edge!!)
We made an offer to the agent on the spot. Unfortunately, all she could do was pass our offer on to church authorities and wait for a reply.
After what felt like months (but was actually only a couple of days) we had our answer – YES!!
Now the hard work started… whilst we waited for the paperwork to be sorted out we asked a local builder to come and discuss the work that needed to be done to bring the church up to scratch again. After a few cups of tea and a lot of chin rubbing we agreed on the work that needed to be done, agreed on a budget, and agreed on a timescale. All he needed was the green light when the building was officially mine!
After a couple more weeks it was signed, sealed and delivered – the church was ours! And so the work began.
In a little over three weeks the roof had been repaired, the walls and ceiling painted and a new floor laid. Not long afterwards the alarm system was installed, and then it was time to move in.
In hindsight, that was the easy bit! It took another eight weeks to move all the paintings, paint, furniture, framing equipment and everything else in, but once it was…WOW! These photos are just a taster of how it looks, so why not pay us a visit sometime?