I have always loved nature, and exploring the outdoors, and as a child I used to spend weekends at my childhood home in Alderbury, near Salisbury, drawing animals and flowers and illustrating my own short stories. I knew that in this place I really could just be myself, and this love of art and self-expression got me through my difficult teens. At 18 there was a lot of pressure to get a ‘respectable’ education, but I am stubborn and emotionally art was the only thing I ever wanted so badly, so I followed my heart and went to study a Fine Art painting degree at Northbrook College, Worthing 1998, and I’ve never looked back.
After many different jobs, I trained to be a Secondary school art teacher in 2003 (PGCE) and taught for 8 years teaching in the school system; and always painting and exhibiting each year. In 2011 I left the school system to set up my own art school in Salisbury, so that I could continue to teach to my strengths, but at the same time, develop my own painting.
I have exhibited annually for the past 18 years; in the South of England, Edinburgh and at the Lapada show at the RA in London. I have a watercolour in the Creasey collection at Salisbury Library.
My paintings are inspired by being outdoors, cycling through the new Forest or Salisbury valleys and the majesty of nature. My paintings are a direct emotional response to being in the landscape at that very moment – I paint very immediately on the spot ‘en plein air’, using acrylics- sometimes watercolour or oils.
I love this challenge of the skill of painting what I see, and the heightened emotions which come from connecting all my senses to the smells and the sounds and the energy of the landscape. It is the speed and directness of plein air painting which does not allow for me to question what I am doing- I just have to respond purely and honestly and that is why I find it so exciting.
I am a keen cyclist, and whizzing through the landscape I get an exciting perspective of the lay of the patch work fields, and the lines of the trees. I am witness first hand to the encroaching storms and observing and experiencing the cloud, the rain, then the sun re-appearing It is the most exciting way for me to feel connected to and energised by the landscape. Recently I have been teaching painting holidays in Italy and I have explored Southern Spain. I have found a new and exciting palette inspired by the wonderful sunlight and emotionally I feel very stimulated and connected to the lush landscapes and the history of the Mediterranean captures my imagination.
This new palette has filtered into my painting and I am excited about my new series of paintings and the direction that my painting is going.