There is a sense of freedom in abstract painting with no restrictions where each painting becomes what it needs to be. I paint mainly with acrylics and encaustic paint. Encaustic
The ‘paint’ is beeswax, mixed with damar resin and pigment.The natural damar resin gives the wax strength and durability. Beeswax encausticpainting dates back 2000 years ago to ancient Greeks.The Fayum tomb portraits from the Roman Egyptian period testify to the archival durability of this encausticmaterial. The word encaustic means ‘to burn in’. Each layer of wax needs to befused to the layer beneath. I use a propane torch to fuse.
My latest work was inspired by watching the documentary “My Octopus Teacher’ where the filmmaker Craig Foster spent a year snorkelling in a kelp forest in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa. He documented his time swimming among the kelp, marine organisms, sea urchins etc., and forged a friendship with a young octopus. The slow movement of the underwater flowers, leaves, and fish really intrigued me and I try to capture that same movement in my artwork. Sometimes my colors are so bright and vivid you think they are unnatural, but the natural world, particularly the underwater world, is full of surprisingly bright, even garish, colors. These colors and the flow of the water are what makes the exciting but also peaceful environment the ocean is known for. I hope that my work evokes the same feeling of peace and unexpected surprises. I am also interested in the shapes and colors of coral reefs. This led to learning more about coral bleaching when the coral loses their vibrant colors and turns white. When the ocean environment changes (due to climate change, extremely low tides, pollution etc) it stresses the coral and it expels the algae that it needs to survive. The coral fades and turns white. If the temperature stays high, the coral will not accept the algae back and it will die. Coral bleaching matters because reefs rarely comeback when the coral dies, which affects the entire reef ecosystem, on which people, fish, crabs, shrimp, sea birds and much more depend on.
Many of my acrylic paintings are inspired by the Highlands of Scotland. I was born in Scotland and grew up near Glasgow. I visit my family once a year if possible and explore the Highlands. The colours, light, mountains, rivers, rain, rugged terrain are beautiful and show up in my work unintentionally but I welcome them as I start to put paint on paper. I often embed found objects (rusted metal, nails,paper) that help create a sense of history, age, and surprise to my work. So, to summarize, most of my work is inspired by nature in one or more of her forms.
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