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Sunshine on a rainy day
A picture to brighten the dismal summer of 2012! A woman stands in the pounding rain in front of York Minster, holding a huge bouquet of glowing sunflowers as the rain and wind tear through the people and tree around her.
I stood in the cold, pouring rain on a May day, sketching and taking photographs of York Minster on a day like this.
I was looking at the reflections and how the rain affected people and the appearance of the buildings. I love the way people and buildings recede into the background through a 'fog' of rain, contrasting with the vivid yellow of the sunflowers in the foreground, hence my choice of charcoal and ink for all but the flowers in the picture.
How I work
While developing ideas, I tend to collect copious amounts of reference material, ranging from 'raw material' (sketches and colour notes done on location) to reference material that I've torn out of old magazine and newspaper articles or photos I've taken.
These days, I have a studio at the back of our house so that I can spread out and make creative mess! I like to stand at an easel surrounded by my rough sketches. I have numerous projects on the go at any time and need to refresh my mind by moving onto another picture when I feel I'm slowing down or gettomg 'stale', then return with a 'fresh eye'!
My favourite media are ones that can give a dramatic impact: strong pigments and good quality matrials are very important to me.
This is Doris: The last Dodo; the alternative title for this painting is:
You think you're having a bad day!
My inspiration for this picture came from many visits to the Natural History Museum in London and the dodos in the extinction-themed displays. While painting, I felt rather sad thinking about poor Doris, the flightless bird who can't swim, stuck between the ocean and Dutch sailors' guns. Nevertheless, I gave her 'attitude' - a raised eyebrow and looking the viewer in the eye. There's always someone worse off than you!
I've always drawn and painted; I have a few old books 'illustrated' with biro scribbles by my 1-year old self - some of my father's favourite chess books included!
During my degree, I specialised in Illustration and Animation before working in mutimedia for a time. Since becoming self-employed, I have rediscovered my love of hand-drawing and painting, rather than being 'shackled' to a computer!
When working in my studeio, my creative comfort blanket comprises:
my sketch/ideas books, reference material, numerous painting and drawing media, music or Radio 4 and always a large mug of Yorkshire tea!
I confess, like many artists, I have a hoarding habit! - plus a caffeine addiction!