You grew up in the Inverness area, can you tell us a bit about what this was like and how much of an influence this had on you becoming an artist, for example, do you come from a creative family?
My family has a farm about 30 miles from Inverness, in the Spey-valley region of the Highlands.
My childhood memories are very positive, where there was always encouragement for fostering an active imagination; either inside creatively, or exploring the freedom the farm offered outside.
My dad painted when he was young, and my mum was very musical, so they were such a big help in forming early self-belief in terms of pursuing art, supporting me through college and immediately after.
Working on the farm, both then and now, is incredibly challenging, as your day begins and ends being so directly affected by the weather. This brought an acute awareness of the shifting of the seasons, and also the beauty that surrounded me in the Highlands, which has been the primary influence on my own work, and in turn, how I have tried to channel this influence in pushing for a unique position within the field of art I am trying to find my place in.
Who are your top 5 creative influences and what was it that led you to becoming a painter as opposed to exploring other artistic mediums?
Top 5, in alphabetical order - Anne Appleby, Rudolf de Crignis, Callum Innes, Brice Marden, and Agnes Martin.
It has always been painting for me, as very early on I fell in love with the process, even down to the smell of the oil, and the finished result, when it goes right, struck a chord that I couldn’t match with any other medium.
You’ve described your colour palette as being ‘tied to the Scottish landscape’ but your paintings rely on the interpretation of the viewer and their perceptions of colour and place. Tell us a bit more about this and how different colours have different meanings to you.
The Scottish landscape is used as an initial starting point with my work, but my paintings are not about the literal presentation of this landscape, instead colour alone acts as the means to reveal the pictures underlying point of reference.
The works are deeply personnel interpretations of a time and place, so I am aware they reflect how I have responded to this landscape, my memories of a time and a place.
But with the base design and colour harmony being grounded in the everyday, the works are in turn left open to interpretation, where the viewer is encouraged to readdress notions of their surroundings.
I am very interested in the effects colour can have on the viewer, and how it can be reinterpreted and re-appropriated; where the panels have the potential to resonate with, and relate to, each viewer. The memories and emotions I convey, over time looking at my work, can shift and be replaced to become the viewers own memories and emotions, as the colour becomes their own point of reference. I see my paintings as time based works, as they require prolonged viewing, to allow the surface to truly reveal itself, so hopefully the work can then touch each person on a personnel level.
In terms of the meaning each individual colour has on me, they do hold different meanings, but this is constantly changing. When I am starting a piece, my main objective is to find a balance and energy in the tone, so my choice comes down to what works for the pictures design or the relationship I can build from a specific colour combination.
I am constantly trying to vary my methods of mixing and applying the paints, pushing myself to be able to use different colours, as each colour holds unique properties that lend themselves to the layering process. This has fed into a recent focus on the underlying colours of paint, varying the initial layers by building up fields of different hues, and how these can vary the final effect on the picture plane.