Artist's Statements


An exploration of music was the starting point for this series. I wanted to see how nature-inspired compositions from different cultures could reflect a common human thread. Interested in exploring both the familiar and unfamiliar, I chose traditional South Asian, European and Japanese music concerned with nature and spring.

In the earlier paintings, I worked more consciously with the beat and length of the notes. I felt that my multi-layered technique could reflect the complexity of sounds and that the pitch could give me guidance about colour. Later, I was influenced by specific images, which I associated with springtime. As the series progressed I used a freer approach and let the paintings take over earlier.

Although I continued to use earlier techniques such as staining, applying and removing colour, there was some innovation; my use of gesso was more varied and I manipulated washes on the surface with greater deliberation. I had decided not to research the musical traditions but there were some interesting results. One painting consisted mainly of blues and purples and it transpired that that the music behind it, was composed specifically for the evening. Also some of the colours in the South Asian pieces seemed to relate much more to deep earth and water as opposed to growth above the ground.

The process of mark-making was influenced by the type of music I was listening to and personal experience, memory and association also had a part to play. Working with unfamiliar sounds required a different kind of effort and this was the most valuable point for me; stretching out of a musical comfort zone required me to be more open-minded.

It is not easy to identify a common human thread or unifying cross-cultural factor, but I feel the series is tied together by a sense of movement and a common feeling that an event or experience has taken place. People will bring their own interpretations to what they see, as I did. Paintings inspired by music about the natural world have ultimately become visual songs.

It is always at the
Last, that every
Imprint and sleeping
Colour counts.
Beneath the red,
Behind the turquoise,
Beyond the orange,
There is a place,
Parallel to these
Marks, where the
Happening is done.

Songs of Spring I

(100 cm x 100 cm)
Oil and gesso

Songs of Spring V

(100 cm x 80 cm)
Oil and gesso

Songs of Spring VIII

(80 cm x 120 cm)
Oil and gesso

Songs of Spring XI

(120 cm x 80 cm)
Oil and gesso

Songs of Spring XIII

(130 cm x 120 cm)
Oil and gesso

Songs of Spring XV

(120 cm x 100 cm)
Oil and gesso