questions/comments - answers

Over the course of my work I am asked many questions about the work itself, and the processes involved. With this in mind, I hope to relate, and answer, some of the most common questions here.

Q. What are your overall aims for your current work?

I hope to inspire - to highlight some of the magic that I see in nature, in  society, and in life as a whole: Nature, with its diversity, adaptability and renewal, with its ability to support life and health; and Society's correlation with these themes, our co-dependence, our understanding and our collaboration for the future.

Q. What inspires your use of acrylic sheet?

Its modern feel, sleek, subtle, and elegant qualities appeal to me. The contrast of natural and synthetic reflects our modern world, and its relationship with nature.

Q. How is your watercolour effect - created with pastels, achieved in your drawing work?

The effect develops during the work process. It is brought about by using blending and fixing techniques together: 
Firstly, pastels are blended onto the background material. Then fixative is applied over the top. The process can be repeated a number of times until the desired effect is achieved.

Q. Your work is often displayed with precision. Why?

Yes - The work is displayed with the aim of enhancing its calm and peaceful energy, to encourage restful contemplation and individual perception by the viewer.

Q. What processes do you use to create a particular scene, or work; and why?

When a certain scene or concept speaks to me, its sights, sounds, textures, colours and feelings can be mesmerising.
To attempt to capture and relate these elements I use a variety of techniques including drawing in situ (sometimes making several drawings), and also taking photographs as added reference. Back in the studio I use this collection as a starting point to compose a piece, or a series of works, to relate what I saw, felt, experienced etc...

Q. Do you have any preference between 2D and 3D work?

I do not prefer one over the other. I find it interesting that they work together to create an integral connection.  When incorporating glass, for example, with 2D drawing/painting: - The pictorial work can facilitate in the understanding of the glass, while the glass can exemplify the conceptual essence of the subject.

Q. What is the 3D element seen in your pictures? Is it wax? And how do you apply it?

I use latex as a descriptive media, and to create a third dimension to the work. I draw or paint it on, and allow it to dry before working over it with other media.

Q. Your work is often described as calming, peaceful and energising.

A. The work is based on the positive effects that I believe we can all experience in nature. Even in a busy urban environment we can find pockets of nature to inspire, calm and rejuvenate.
In absorbing and being in tune with nature's sights, sounds, energy and natural rejuvenating processes, I feel we can promote our own well-being.

Q. Do you enjoy nature when the weather is awful?

A. There are times when I enjoy nature in different weathers. There can be beauty even in an atmosphere of mist and drizzle, for example.
A look outside or a short walk may be all that's needed to reveal a tree or two, shrouded in mist, with a beauty all of its own.


Q. Are the pictures/ideas for your work, in your head?

I think that at times my experiences may influence my ideas in this way. Sometimes I wake at night with an idea, an image or a story. I have to record it onto paper, as in the morning it is gone, or I can only remember fragments.
Some years ago (I was teaching children in school), and one night on the lead up to Christmas, a song version of the Nativity Story came to me with 5 or 6 verses. I couldn't sleep until I had written it all down, so I began scribbling.
In the morning, there it was. I took it into work and sang it to the children. They loved it, so we practiced and later sang it at their concert. It was great.
Since then it occurs every so often - including, in my art work; The 'drawn : full circle...' theme, titles and poetry came about in this way:

I woke with the musical themes and titles etc, running through my head. Later, I honed the ideas a little, until they felt exactly right. I love working in that way.

Q. Do you use moulds in creating the glass

A. Yes. I use moulds to shape the glass in firing. I have moulds that I can use repeatedly, and others that are one-offs.

Q. How do you get the glass to drip? Do you pour it?

I don't pour it exactly. At times, I use moulds to encourage the molten glass to bend and stretch, or drip.

Q. Your pictures and glass pieces are so different from each other. Without the pictures I would not understand the glass. Why is that? Is it deliberate?
How does it work?

A. The two mediums are very different in certain ways, yet they retain a vital connection: The drawings tend to be more realistic, and the glass more abstract. They can be enjoyed separately, but they also complement each other, and work together to create a whole.
In my drawings I initially work in a more first-hand manner, remembering the sights, sounds, colours and feelings etc, as they come to me, fresh in my mind.  I work to create the effect of their initial impact and feeling - and their sense of well being.
In the glass work, I use the memories and the imagery of the 2D work to develop more deeply towards the essence of the place or form. I go with the flow, allowing my feelings and mood to create the arrangements. It is more free, and can allow the viewer more scope to interpret the piece in their own unique way.
More recently I have begun to look at continuing the process, by further developing the 2D work following on from the glass work. This then, takes reference from both previous processes.

Q. The glass appears so delicate. Will it break?

A. The glass has delicate qualities and should be handled with care, but is also surprisingly strong. The pieces generally age very well.
Also in my work, I am used to transporting pieces to various locations with no ill effects.
The glasswork is intentionally created to give a feeling of delicacy. Nature's balance is delicate, and we are constantly in a state of impermanence and change. The glass is created in a way that represents this concept.

Q. How long do you take to create a picture, or a glass piece?

A. The length of the processes does vary with each piece, but can take from several weeks to months to complete fully. From the initial feeling or experience, to the sketches/photographs/found forms etc, - to the inspiration on how to go about creating the work, to the experimenting with different materials etc and developing ways of working, and then carrying out the work to completion.
On occasion I may begin a second piece before completing the first, or work on a limited series together if appropriate.

Q. Where is the work based? Is it an actual place?

A. My work is generally based on places that I have experienced, or on forms or details that I have seen or studied. Any initial sketches or photographs are used as reference, to support the memories and feeling that I carry with me, and want to convey in my work. I may use them, often loosely, in the finished piece/pieces.
At times I may dream of putting things together in a certain way; then I work on creating them.

Q. What inspires your way of working in general?

My method has developed over the years: from working in pencil and learning about shading, to experimenting with watercolours to create a way of working to build with colour. I later tried acrylics, suggested by artist, Morvern Green - and enjoyed their rich colour effects.
Working with children in schools lead me to soft and oil pastels, with some wonderful effects, and I took a pastel workshop to learn more about them.
An Art Degree encouraged experimentation with a wide range of 2D materials, and with 3D metal work, ceramics and glass. I began to develop methods of combining pencil and acrylic in 2D work, and expanding further in 3D, particularly with glass. I have 
continued since to develop different combinations of materials.
Throughout, my work has aimed to capture and document the essence of a place, object, feeling etc. There are often times when the process seems to evolve, and I just go with it. Certain materials/combinations seem to fit together. 

Q. Why do often segment your 2D work - working over several pieces of paper?

A. I like the idea that the whole is made up of different parts. I often work with pieces attached to each other, but at times I may work on them separately - detached - before bringing them together again later in the process. 
I work with convenient sizes, so that I am able to transport my work easily while in progress. This gives me flexibility to work in different locations - inside or outside etc - in the studio or out on location. It also may allow me to more-easily demonstrate my work.

Q. What inspires your current work?

A. My inspiration comes from interpreting life's experiences:
Sometimes a certain scene or situation, or tiny natural detail or formation, stands out, to be recorded or explored. Combined sights, sounds, textures, colours, events and momentum, and the feeling of it all - can be awe inspiring. There are certain experiences where I have felt I could stay there forever, just drinking it in... - even being an integral part. This is a feeling that I hope in some way to pass on through my work.


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