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How to find inspiration

Where to find inspiration and how to use it

I’m often asked about where I find my inspiration for painting, and how I then create my work. Well, nature has always been a muse for me, and this time of year is a rich creative resource. Autumn is a season of poignancy with fading flowers and fallen leaves and fruit, but also a visual feast of vibrant colours, and  textures.It is like nature’s last ‘hurrah’ before winter begins, that defiant gesture before all the leaves fall.

My paintings are an expressive response to this experience and part of my process is to make studies on location, absorbing the sight, sound, smell and feel of my subject. I’ll take various materials including oil pastels, compressed charcoal, gouache, oil bars, acrylic paint and paper, and yes, some coffee to keep warm! The trick is to keep your supplies light, as you walk much further than you think, and to have layers of clothing to keep warm and dry. You can see in the photograph below an example of my approach.

I use my studies to capture a sense of colour, visual rhythm, gesture, shape, texture and line, and the materials often become the subject. It’s a completely absorbing process and very therapeutic. On return to my studio I use this material and my experiences as a source for my paintings. When I’m outside, I just respond to what’s there, but in the studio I think about ideas to develop from this source that leads to new work.When you view my painting gallery you can see that my painting titles usually refer to how I feel, not the name of particular trees or plants. My work is “about” not “of” the subject, and I want the viewer to be able to have their own interpretation and response to it.

I hope that gives a sense of how I approach my work and please do take a look at my gallery while you  are here Gallery