These little paintings first emerged after drawing for 20 minutes a day to see what would emerge from my sub-conscious - an exercise encouraged by Andrzej Jackowski. He advocated this as way to ‘access the unconscious’ and ‘to tap into patterns of underlying thinking,’ saying that images would be waiting – and he was right. After a few sessions I found myself using oil bars and other media to juxtapose and layer colour, eventually recognising that the colours I made were those of the landscapes where I had grown up in Northern Ireland – teals, mosses, burnt sepias, slates and heathery mauves.
These initial sketchbook experiments grew to encompass memories of the house at an old linen mill, where I had lived. At first I didn’t realise what the little white houses - with few windows and sometimes no doors - which had crept into my work were, but they were compelling. I eventually realised that they were symbols of the house were I had spent my childhood and where my father had died, after living there for nearly sixty years.
Seamus Heaney - who lived locally - is an inspiration. He recommended that you should ‘trust the feel of what rubbed treasure your hands have known’ and that is what I’ve tried to do here, so these paintings are repositories for my emotional responses to the treasure I have gleaned from Irish landscapes.