From Northern Ireland originally, I grew up with the idea that I was a Celt. Fascinated by the early migration of peoples I have started a series of paintings, which are about water, movement, identity, displacement and settlement. I have been displaced and resettled myself, moving several times until finally moving from Exeter to Edinburgh last year.
Life drawing is at the core of my practice as an artist. The act of drawing the naked body is an act of intimacy. My drawing takes place in the space between me and the model. I use the model, yet somehow in that space the humanity of the model is part of the image, as is my own humanity. I sometimes feel as if I am drawing myself from the inside.
Making different kinds of marks is partly an expression of how I am feeling and partly it’s a response to what I am seeing. Sometimes I'm more concerned with the making of marks and abstracting from the figure than I am with the figure itself. In fact representation has become the least of my worries.
I don’t know why I paint. It’s because I kind of have to. It’s bloody hard work. I love the goo, I love the paint. I love the process of conversation with a painting. Sometimes you can get really cross with it and just abandon it. Sometimes you think that if you do anything to it you might destroy it, and that is a leap you have to take. Sometimes you do destroy it, and sometimes you find something quite wonderful that surprises you.
Poetry, because it is not literal, gives you the space to explore things. The poems I’ve written have all been about the slipping and sliding. The connection with the outside world is one that is not hard and fixed. The edge can always be moving, especially when you are drawing bodies. The line is an artificial construct. Poetry gives you spaces in between, like daisies pushing up in a lawn, they make it messy but they make it alive.