Born in the Scottish Highlands into a farming family, I was educated in England at boarding school. I llived and worked in Scotland and London before moving to Australia in 1987. My early working life was as an Administration Assistant in the live music industry.
In 1990 I re-trained as a psychotherapist, which absorbed and occupied me for the last 26 years. In 2016 I decided to take a break from therapy to concentrate fully on my practice as an artist and potter.
Until recently, I wasn’t quite sure how to describe myself. Others would say I was expressionistic (I am), or a colourist, or impressionistic. Truly, I think I have and am all of those things. It is only recently that I’ve begun to describe myself as a narrative, intuitive painter, since the way I work is becoming more and more about expressing the stories I have heard and experienced myself over the years.
I have listened to thousands of tales of grief, struggle addiction and heartache. I have also heard and witnessed miraculous recoveries and healing. I guess it is inevitable therefore that along with my own story of struggles and breakthrough, they get expressed both consciously and unconsciously in every aspect of my work.
My early work is naive and the images could sit happily in a child’s story book. As I have gathered a clearer understanding of the process of making art, together with the technical skills, the work is becoming more sophisticated. Everything I consciously or unconsciously choose to include in my work is symbolic. Pathways, trees, nature, animals, weather, light and dark are all aspects of the human journey. Grief, loss, rejection and abandonment sit with joy, triumph, creativity and breakthrough. They are all part of the wheel. I try to find a balance of emotions in each painting.
With my potter’s voice I can speak about my love of clay and fire and the alchemy in the process of creating a bowl or vessel. It’s sometimes hard to believe that I was completely hopeless and disinterested in chemistry at school. Now I love to learn about the many ways of making, firing, and glazing. I particularly like making bowls because of their symbolic nature. The process of creating one is much like the process of creating a fulfilling life. First you must set an intention about the form you wish to make, then you prepare your material. Once the clay is on the wheel, you must learn how to centre it. Just like meditating, most people have difficulty centering. Then you carefully create the shape you want. You must be focussed and yet relaxed at the same time. The turning, bisquing, glazing and firing complete the process, and even though you have planned carefully, and followed the prescribed path, all kinds of problems can arise on the way. In the end there is an unknown force or element that must have a voice too and over which we have no control.
It is a challenge being a painter and a potter, but there is something satisfying about being able to do whichever I’m more in the mood for. Painting can be emotionally intense for me, whereas pottery is more meditative and calming (except when pots break or collapse on the wheel!). In the end, I can’t see myself giving up either of them. I hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoy creating.
Since 2000 I have dedicated myself to developing and improving my skills. I have my own painting and pottery studio at home, where I can be found most days working hard!
If you would like to see my work at any time, check out my Open Studio days or just give me a call - I am always happy to let people come and look at my work.