The Creative Process: Portuguese Gardens

The surrounding gardens of a hotel provided the inspiration for a playful series of images using the seemingly random layout of trees and shrubs. The lack of formality lead to some unusual juxtapositions of shape and colour. Initially a series of collages, I really enjoyed introducing a looser style when applying the paint for the foliage and flowers which is contrasted with the almost flat background.

The more time I spent amongst the gardens the more I wanted to put down the shapes and colours I was seeing. The bright Mediterranean sunlight gave the foliage sharp edges and beautifully contrasting colours against a brilliant blue sky. Despite the deep shadows I began to see the final images as flat - almost like a stage set, where the scenery has been wheeled into place, which of course meant that anything could go anywhere - the freedom to compose the final paintings with no regard to formal notions of making it real. When I returned to the studio at home I made some quick drawings in a notebook - exploring different ways of making the paintings. The collages that I eventually made from the sketches hold all the information I needed to make the final paintings which are all about colour, using basic shapes nothing too sophisticated - overall plant shapes reduced to a graphic shape.

The original series of Portuguese Gardens is available to buy here (click through) and prints are available to buy here (click through).

Inkflowers - Series 1 and Series 2

“The Inkflowers Series uses brightly coloured drawing ink on the rough side of Hahnemühle Traditional Fine Art paper and Winsor & Newton inks.

There is a degree of control in using the brush to apply the ink. The textured paper gives rise to spontaneous edges and the element of chance comes into play.

I'm reminded of the art of "Sumi-e" - oriental brush painting that uses black ink to create beautifully simple renditions of natural forms”.

ART TO BUY: Inkflowers Series 2, original art using ink, available here.

Inkflowers, Series 2 – Original with Mount - ink drawing using Winsor & Newton inks on Hahnemühle Traditional Fine Art Paper.