Tell us a little about what you make?
I make richly layered and colorful abstract paintings. I work in a very intuitive way and I love to explore my special relationship with the Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire landscape; its shapes, textures, contrasts and hidden elements. I enjoy exploring what colour can be in relation to the landscape.
My paintings also explore the notion of Hiraeth, a Welsh term with a complex meaning something akin to homesickness, longing, memory and identity. Hiraeth is central to everything I do and I have been hugely inspired by The Long Field by US author Pamela Petro. Her wonderful memoir has enabled me to explore what Hiraeth means to me and her evocative and atmospheric words have found their way into many of my paintings.
Tell us about your favourite medium.
I love to work with acrylic paint and collage. I use a variety of other media including pens, pencils, crayons and oil pastels. I love the way that I can manipulate the acrylic paint and scrape into the surface to create texture. The collage I use is often of personal and historical significance and it appears, sometimes buried and covered, within the layers of the paintings. I work mainly on paper, as it is incredibly versatile, but I also use boards and occasionally, canvas.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being an artist or maker?
My favourite part of being an artist is having the freedom to explore my relationship with a place that is incredibly special to me. I can go out into the landscape for inspiration and then I get to play, experiment and have fun in my studio!
My least favourite part of being an artist??……probably some of the less exciting finishing off jobs like painting the edges and backs of cradle panels!!
What does being a member of the Ceredigion Art and Craft Trail mean to you?
It’s great being part of the Ceredigion Art and Craft Trail as I can promote my work alongside other great artists and craftspeople in the area.
How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist/maker?
Making art is just part of my life and the way I live. If I’m not in my studio painting, I am probably outside in the landscape and if I’m not making work, I’m always thinking about where the next ideas are coming from. I am never without a play sketchbook and a journal to keep track of my thoughts.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m gathering new inspiration for a new series of work. I am also just about to launch my new Lone Wandering series on my website. This series has been created in tandem with writings made outside and extracts from my outdoor ‘lone wanderings’ can be seen alongside the images on the website.
Most excitingly I am also preparing for my first solo exhibition at The Seagull (gallery) in Cardigan. Starting on 29 March (running until 22 April), ELEMENTAL/ELFENNAIDD will feature 30 paintings from 4 series of work. The exhibition will also showcase a new poem by Welsh poet and writer Simone Mansell Broom called ‘For him there was no longing’. The poem, written especially for the exhibition reflects on her father’s ambivalent Welshness and her own relationship with Hiraeth.
How do you know when your work is finished?
I love this question! I think I know when a painting is finished when it is happy and I feel at peace with it. I don’t go away and keep thinking about part of it I don’t like!. It is almost like breathing out and relaxing.
What is the biggest challenge of being an artist/maker?
I don’t see being an artist as a challenge really! Sometimes you might feel as if the inspiration is not flowing, but I have learned to slow down, review and wait…..then go out into the landscape and let the creative juices start flowing again when they are ready!
What advice would you give to new artists or makers at the start of their creative journey?
Enjoy what you are doing and take inspiration from whatever you love. Explore what you love to do. Don’t feel as though you are being judged and go out and make connections. The artist community here is West Wales is incredibly friendly and it always helps to talk to other like-minded people.