My preferred medium is watercolour. I love the vibrancy of the colours, the unique hues achieved through mixing colours, and the unexpected and unpredictable effects on the paper as colours run and merge or dry with defined edges. I like to use watercolour in combination with pen and ink as the defined lines of the pen strokes complement beautifully the fluidity of the watercolour washes. Occasionally the use of charcoal or pastels adds an unexpected twist to the painting.
As you start to paint a picture, the motif is all-important. Sometimes you will paint from memory; sometimes a composition will just ‘flow’ out of the brush, born out of your feelings at that moment. Most of the time though you are likely to have a subject in front of you – a real life scene when painting outdoors, or a copy of a picture, or a photo you have taken. In each instance, the magic begins as soon as you dip the brush into water and paint: unless you decide to faithfully copy the motif in front of you, you can then make it your own, change elements of it, give it the stamp of your style. When the end result is pleasing, the feeling of achievement is tremendous. This is the aspect of painting that I find most exciting – to see how in the painting process the motif evolves or changes radically.
When I start a painting I try not to be consciously influenced by the style of others. You want to create something new, original, something of yourself. However, as a painter, you cannot help but be interested in what other artists have created, past and present. I like the way Rowland Hilder (1905-1993) conveys the mood of a landscape and I am drawn to some of the work of Emil Nolde (1867–1956) with its explosive use of colour.