What is your background and how you became an artist?
I suppose that my journey toward becoming a professional artist was not all that linear. I studied English, left that degree, and then Fine Art, and left that one too. After going two degrees I lost a lot of confidence and actually stopped painting for about 2 years. I came back to it around 23/24 years old, there was a niggling voice inside that couldn’t let painting go.
As a kid I was always drawing, painting, and making – I have especially fond memories of making fairy gardens out of twigs – acorn husks would be bowls for them to drink from of course. I grew up between London and rural Southern England, painting was a way to retreat and provided some solace from the upheaval of home life and my parent’s divorce. Art-making is where I got to know myself. My child instinct knew that I wanted to create all the time, to be an artist, but the world kind of scared it out of me, which must happen to people so often. I really think creativity is universally innate, it’s just forgotten or left unnurtured.
I feel that my paintings now are a return to my inner world and each one is a beautiful, reinforcing signal that this is where I am meant to be.
How do you go about capturing the spirit of nature in your work?
Strangely the botanical forms were really accidental, they were a result of these organic forms that kept on emerging in earlier more abstract work, which then became full-on flowers. It made it so explicit to me that the spirit of nature is entirely tethered to the human spirit as I literally couldn’t escape these natural forms. The layering and branching in the paintings always feel teeming with kinetic energy, sometimes dancing and celebrating, and at times spikey and momentarily macabre and weird. This to me is both the spirit of nature and the human spirit.
In subject matter, perhaps my work is straightforward at face value, but up close I find in them contrasting small breathing spaces or obscurities that to me are actually the essence of the work. I’m rarely interested in the piece as a whole, but instead these littler parts. I think this echoes nature’s spirit too, the contrast of a singular stem or plant is alien and completely at odds with a sweeping landscape.
What role do memory and imagination play in your creative process?
Both are crucial, it’s how my stems and flowers assume their forms. I often make sketches from life but then tweak them with images from memory or even accidentally. Sometimes an image will flash in my mind’s eye, or when I’m stuck I close my eyes and I’m then granted access to a new shape or line.
Can you remember your last dream?
I dreamt I gave birth to a little girl, I looked down at her and instead of eyes, she had two big shiny green apples in their place. I remember it so vividly as it’s such a strange and haunting image, hard to shake.
Do you have a ritual?
Honestly, this is something I’m really trying to implement into my life. I’ve just moved back to London so maybe I will find one once I’m more settled. I do walk to my studio each morning along the canal, burn some incense, and have a cup of tea and whatnot, but it’s all pretty sporadic right now.
Finally, what projects are you currently working on and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’m currently working on my largest scale piece of work to date, it’s taking up an entire side of the studio. I’m really enjoying the physicality that comes with painting something so big and the challenge of it too. I’m also thinking about translucency, and want to explore this more with different papers and paint qualities. I have an upcoming online show with Wilder Gallery this Autumn. And more flowers, more stems, more garlands, more life always.