I was born in Hampshire to a beautiful, artistic, free spirited young woman and her tall handsome naval officer husband. My earliest memories are of an incredibly happy family life with time spent in such exotic locations as South Africa & the Far East. When I was six, we returned to England & set up home in a small country village back in the beautiful Hampshire countryside. I attended the local school and spent long happy holidays building dens, dams and tree houses in our large rambling garden with my brother and sister.
My grandparents had owned a coach company and my grandfather’s skills as a sign writer were emblazoned along the sides of the buses. My mother inherited this artistic flare and her paintings of birds, flowers and butterflies adorned the walls, furniture and fabric of our home. Art was actively encouraged, and many an evening meal was eaten amongst the artistic debris that festooned the kitchen table. From papier-mâché dragons to chicken runs, Easter bonnets to handmade rugs, pantomime scenery to disco outfits created out of curtain linings or plastic bags.
Initially intending a career within the rag trade, I left home to study fashion at Medway College of Art & Design yet with the spirit of adventure having been instilled so young, at the age of 21, my boyfriend and I purchased a 1963 Bedford ambulance, painted it ‘honey pink’ and promptly set off to see the world.
My time was spent working whilst soaking up the sumptuous splendours of Europe; Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and dipping an inquisitive toe into the divine indulgence of North Africa.
Returning home in 1987, we bought a three month return ticket to India yet did not return to England for a further seven years. My adventures took me travelling extensively throughout South East Asia, continually gorging on its extreme delights until eventually arriving in Darwin, North Australia. From here we travelled overland to Sydney where we set up home and I worked as an Exhibition Designer for Lego, Australia.
In 1993 I came back to my roots, gave birth to my greatest creation, my daughter Lama and returned to full-time education.
Now settled in the picturesque town of Totnes, Devon, I have been working as a professional artist since graduating from University College Chichester in 1998.
I have exhibited extensively over the past decade. From London to New York and Sydney to L.A., shown at the Royal Academy and sparked the interest of several major museums. My fabulous adventures continue to inspire my work creating paintings which are vibrant, passionate and full of romance.
I learnt from the beginning, to walk barefoot on the grass. To hear the melody in the crashing waves or the woodland leaves rattling in the spring breeze. To be caressed by warm sun on bare flesh and absorb the colours of the sunset whether reflected on wet shores or urban landscapes. The blossoming of a bloom, the patchwork fields and the delicious smell of my lover snuggled next to me. These sensations absorb me and feel like melted chocolate trickling down the back of my throat. It is these small ecstasies I wish to convey to my viewer.
My inspirations include; Utamaro and the 18th century Japanese artists of the ‘floating world’, their influence on the Art Nouveau period of the 20th century and more recently the ‘superflat’ movement of contemporary Japan, staring Takashi Murakami.
The decorative panels and design elements of Alphonse Mucha delight me, although I am more drawn to the nudes of Egon Sheille, ‘visual equivalents of his own feelings’ created with such bold marks.
Jeff Koons, Paul Morrisson , Lisa Yuskavage and Walt Disney all continue to influence my practice.
I am a painter with a simple ambition; to create beautiful paintings.
I make large, contemporary, figurative works. I am passionate about colour, shocking, vibrant and intense, continually exploring the power it has to invade our senses and influence our emotions. I work on large sheets of prefabricated aluminium, priming the surface then throwing, rubbing, pouring and dripping inks and dyes, glitter and glosses, to form a background. This is then sanded, scratched and distressed, depending on what image will be overlaid. I continually experiment with a multitude of materials, seduced by their substances, fascinated with their movement, individual textures and how they respond to one another. As the painting evolves, I become intrigued with the marks, how the line within a magnified face or body, organically flows. It is as though the image has, at this stage, become a vehicle for the marks. Selecting elements from a photograph and magnifying them to such an extent, creates a new dynamic. The finished pieces are stylised and ordered, the line defining the independent sections of colour and texture.
My day begins with a walk - by the river, in the woods - or a swim. Swimming is my meditation; it calms my spirit and relaxes my mind. It is usually in the water, in this meditative state, where the paintings first take form.
I live in Totnes, an exquisite valley in the rolling South Hams of Southern Devon. My studio is down a back lane, just off the main high street in the centre of town. We have a close knit community and my short walk to work brings me into contact with many friends and acquaintances. By 11 I can be found in the studio, paint spattered overalls over thermal leggings in the winter, doors flung wide in the summer; Shirley Bassey or some other sentimental songster booming from the stereo and coffee in hand.
I work on many paintings at once. Different layers drying at different stages and depicting my varying moods. At two o’clock I rest by gently painting intricate details whilst listening to the play on Radio 4. My days start late and continue late. Sometimes in the summer months, I can still be found, paint can in one hand, glass of wine in the other as the pub over the road is kicking out.