Snowdonia was the area where I was living and working when I decided that I wanted to start painting again. Although I had been in the arts with my job as a graphic designer I hadn't actually painted since I was doing my A Levels - a long time ago ! The dramatic landscape was the catalyst for picking up a ' brush ' again.
I have always loved the grandeur and beauty of Wales from the first time I visited on holiday. That grew each time I returned until I had the opportunity to actually live there. Seeing the changes in the landscape every day over the year made me appreciate the details of how the weather and light could transform even the simplest of elements such as water on a rock face and of course the wider landscape itself. As I hadn't done any painting for a long time I decided to start small, not just in canvas size but subject matter too. I therefor decided to concentrated on small elements within the landscape which, looking back at that period probably related to my process of working as a graphic designer where I could ' design ' the composition rather than copy it - I had already decided that I wanted to create abstracted images rather than fine art anyway. I also needed to experiment with various art materials and grounds to see what would suit my process of thought. The environment was harsh, hard and unforgiving which was for me the beauty of the place. I also couldn't afford framing my work in quantity so I decided to use block cut into uniform squares, which gave solidity before I even started to paint and a uniformity to my finished pieces. Acrylic seemed to be the best choice to use on block but I also wanted the image to be chunky and semi sculptural too. I started to use acrylic heavy body paints in an impasto style using pallets knives and scrapers. This started my process but I still wanted more physical depth. I experimented with resin pastes and fibre glass which adhered to the block well. I then had my ' happy accident ' with clear resin when mixing it into the fibreglass which pooled and set like water - except it was a yellow pink. Mixing transparent acrylic paint into the resin before it hardened solved that problem although it limited the final colour to dark grey blues, drab greens and ambers. My style was almost there but I still wanted more sculptural depth. Pinning shaped thin ply to the block ground completed the style I was looking for along with the resin paste, clear resin and heavy body acrylic paint, all of which gave me the solid, dark and structural feel I was looking for. I also decided that I was going to concentrate on the relationship between water, light and rock for my ' element ' series.
I carried on refining my process concentrating on ' elements ' until I had the confidence to progress to larger boards which then became my ' landshapes ' - which took in the wider landscape / detail and moved away from just rock as a ground texture to encompass mountain, moorland and beach interpretations. I eventually moved up to my largest series of ' horizons ' The mood created by my chosen materials was still dark and brooding which suited me, as I was always more fascinated by the stormy weather which played with the light, revealing and masking the landscape and details in minutes adding ' drama ' as anyone who has visited Wales will know.