Gaining Clarity: A single painting doesn’t have to say it all.

I have found that my most successful paintings are those where my focus was most clear. Let me explain why this is important.

But before I explain, I would just like to mention that’s it’s 4 am in the morning and there’s a blackbird singing as the sun comes up on this June morning. Although I was having trouble sleeping it feels like the perfect time to be writing this!

I often talk about “tuning in” to what sparks my interest as an artist and as an individual and following this as a lead. For example, the other day I was noticing the way that the butterflies were busy flitting low over the ground laying their eggs in the meadow grasses. If I start to take photos of this and try some sketching, I may well be on course to begin a new painting.

I could ask myself some questions at this point. Why am I curious about this? What does it suggest to me? What does it make me think of?

In my sketchbook I might start to lay down some colours and find an interesting colour palette, exploring a composition that will convey my focus and interest. For the butterflies, this might be low to the ground with mostly grasses and just a little bit of sky. I can get in the “flow” of working and add more details, more colours, more marks and intricacies. Although lovely, these can be so busy that I have lost clarity and this leads me to ask two crucial questions of myself and of the work:

“Which is the part I really like? What do I need to knock back/obscure in order to really show this?”

I next have to be decisive and paint over areas, covering up parts of the work that I like in order to more clearly show the ones that I really love. It can feel painful, but this is the clarity needed for this painting! It didn’t have to include the trees and the seedheads – it was these delicate grasses where I noticed the butterflies. It wasn’t about the reds and the blues and the oranges – it was mostly about the orange.

I love the thought of bringing nature indoors. Many of my collectors have shared how my paintings transform their spaces, such as kitchens and living areas, into daily escapes. “I love having your paintings in my kitchen – they take me on walks out by the coast every day. The colours are gorgeous.” My aim is to bring the outside in, allowing you to experience the serenity and majesty of the natural world from the comfort of your own home.