Under a Peaceful Sky (2020)

In 2002, my family and I moved to Oman from London. Here, under a peaceful sky I was able to start painting again. The calm pace of life and proximity to mountains, water and open spaces nourished me. My work began to develop and I was able to exhibit in public for the first time in group shows thanks to the Omani Society for Fine Arts (2004-2006).

So many years and shows later, this exhibition is a form of gratitude to the people and the place. Works such as ‘Constellations’ and ‘Shifting Sands’ relate directly to nature. Other paintings reflect ideas about cycles of life and transformation, ultimately they are all connected through the common threads of emotion and colour.

At challenging times this year, I found myself looking more closely at nature again, as well as taking stock of many things. I am grateful for being curious about the world, for having confidence in my work and for the privilege of being able to celebrate nature. Lets think long term and protect our earth so future generations can enjoy its beauty.

Inspiration

Our connection to nature is one of my main inspirations. In addition I am interested in exploring our common humanity (what do we share as human beings?) feelings, ideas, language and stories. The only thing I know about a new painting beyond my intention, is the colour of the first mark. Often paintings transform overnight!

Some of these works are the result of visual experiences; ’Omani Sunset’ was inspired by a view of the sun setting over the water. It started out yellow and dark blue with bronze-green washes but the final canvas is mainly green with a hint of orange. The ‘Day Break with Bird Song’ series was based on watching the changing colours of the sky at dawn.

Process

For me, abstract art is a way of honestly expressing myself through colour, texture, movement and light. I find it exciting that people often interpret the same painting in different ways, as they bring their own experiences and memory to the visual experience. My father had introduced me to the work of Mark Rothko many years ago, but at the time I couldn’t relate to it. It was only in 2007 that I started exploring the potential and possibilities of abstract art for myself. Howard Hodgkin, V.S. Gaitonde, Huguette Caland, Kazuo Shiraga, Chafic Abboud and Fabienne Verdier are some of the artists whose work I have been drawn to.

I often work on several paintings at one time using a multi-layered approach to build up texture and depth. Having experimented with different ways of applying and manipulating materials and tools (including using a hairdryer and fan) I now have a better idea of what can be achieved and how to achieve it. The techniques used in these works include printing, blotting, pouring, scratching, sponging, staining, splattering, glazing, excavating and using wax resist.