“People often ask me if I find painting relaxing, and when I answer ‘no’ it seems to be quite unexpected”.
I’ve always found painting and drawing one of the most challenging, frustrating and difficult things I do. It’s very rare that a painting comes together without the usual intense decision-making, hard work and the inevitable frustration. The next question they usually ask is, “why do you do it, if you don’t find it relaxing?”
I see my role as an artist as more of a vocation than just a job. The constant striving to create something better than the last is exhausting, but that desire to push myself sometimes leaves me quite astonished at the outcome. I feel this latest exhibition at Kennaway House contains some of the best work I’ve ever done, and it’s certainly the hardest I’ve pushed myself towards an exhibition.
In the last couple of months I’ve been spending increasing time in the studio working towards the show. Although this time has seen some very long days, it’s been very rewarding. It’s always great to see the paintings finally completed.
As I’ve said before, the enthusiasm and determination that young people put into their artwork is always an inspiration. Recently another artist asked me who inspires me the most, and I replied, “Sophie, a girl from Ladram Bay”. It didn’t go down well in this artistic name-dropping session that I found myself trapped in, but I would be very pleased if I could put the same determination into my artwork that Sophie did.
My original brief of working closely with the Trust’s volunteer Ambassadors to gain an understanding of the Jurassic Coast’s geology has certainly paid off. I was showing a friend the new paintings and he said, “there’s something different about your work, it’s the rocks; they look more solid or real somehow”. The geology has crept into the artwork without me noticing!
One of the most exciting aspects of this fast approaching exhibition is the inclusion of portraiture. As I’m working my way along the Jurassic Coast, I’m painting the portraits of each of the Ambassadors. This connection with people who are passionate about this.