I gave up on my studies of art at the point of foundation level because I felt I was not ready to explore and express my own identity. I found this connection with myself and my art as a Counselling Psychologist when I realised I was teaching young people to connect to their internal self through art therapy.
Over the last three years there has been a parallel between my art and work as a therapist which manifests in different ways. I started this new journey of my art life by explicitly conveying my own internal processes of therapy in a series of self and family portraits. This was followed by a more stoic, left brained approach through the Geisha collection where, whilst still conveying complexities of the human mind and relationships, I hid myself behind a very linear, precise painting style.
I feel my most recent work is allowing both sides of my brain to be used, reflective of the process of therapy itself. There is a complex negotiation and balance between left brained cognitive structure and right brained experiential expression. There is also a constant deconstructing and reconstructing process occurring whilst remaining grounded in the initial form and structure. I also continue to create bright and colourful images as a way for me to see through my fibromyalgia fog. In order to add more layers of depth and contrast I have now accepted the use of black and whilst remaining loyal to the versatility of acrylics I am also under and over painting with different materials.
"People who realize their creative potential are constantly bridging the gap between the world of external reality and the inner world of the psyche"
Anthony Storr, Solitude
“I don’t live for my art,
my art lives for me
because my art is me and I am living”
Having finally completed 10 years of studying to become a Counselling Psychologist in 2011 and spending a year setting up my private practice I finally found the time to reconnect with my passion, art and photography. This site provides an insight into the journey that influences my current creative world.
At a young age when, instead of sticking pictures up of my favourite movie and popstars I found myself recreating images of them in pencil, with the spiky hair of Limahl and the dark smoky Adrian Zmed from TJ Hooker. Once my talent was identified I had art teachers fighting over me to inspire and influence me. I was selected from the county to go on art trips to Wales and allowed a 2nd trip in 6th form to the famous Art museums of Paris.
It was always my intention to go to University to study Fine Art, but first I had to complete a 1 year Art Foundation diploma course in Banbury to explore all of the creative arts. It was here I came to recognise that, whilst technically skilled, my work lacked personality, individuality and expression. Whilst I excelled in art history and critically evaluating art I had not yet developed my own philosophies and style. Instead, I found myself listening to all the doubts about a fine art degree, that there was no clear job at the end of it and followed my then fiancee to Sandwell for 2 year National Diploma in Photography. This led to dead end work in photographic labs. So in my early twenties I let it all go, including my fiancee and spent my twenties travelling and living my life.
Stepping forward to my 30's I finally come to identify my chosen career as a Counselling Psychologist and I knuckled down to 10 years of hard graft of study and work to achieve it. This was the start of my new found expression as, through the mandatory personal therapy, I came to recognise that I was indeed a very sensitive, emotional and expressive person. This was in contrast to the methodical, practical and cognitive person I thought I was. I realised this was a construct of my parents British 'stiff upper lip' way of managing with emotions and problems. This expressive side never came out in my art or music, but at times I did produce some abstract and surreal pieces of writing and also reflective, journalistic pieces recording stages in my journey.
Now in my 40's I am finally finding my expressive and emotional self. This sits in parallel with the career I am creating for myself, therefore, finding my own philosophies and theories. I had worked in different capacities with children and found myself working with them therapeutically with Relate. Through training I came to realise that I could facilitate a catharsis of emotion through art, for the children and for myself. Children don't have the language to always describe what's going on for them, but their art and play expresses and reconstructs an internal world in which I have now unleashed in my own art. Young people are blessed that they are yet to be rigidly stuck in social constructs and narratives of values and etiquette that can inhibit expression as an adult. Now, I don't concern myself with technicalities and the 'right' way to do things, but instead reach towards my unconscious sensations and experiences to create undefined shapes, colours and images. Through this I have been able to see a journey of my 'self' through the changes in style whilst identifying key themes throughout.
I have also rewarded myself with a DSLR camera and now enjoy capturing images of nature, landscapes and portraits that inspire me to engage with and feel open, safe and expressive in the world again following 10 years of isolation into study.
This website aims to express, be proud of and develop my creativity in a variety of media and develop my own philosophies and psychologies of art.
My recent collection has been focusing predominantly on animal portraits in order to take a step away from conveying my own processes directly. Through each of these animals, who I have met or known as pets, I feel I have emerged out from the masks of the Japanese Geisha’s in my previous collection, to open myself up to a deeper and wider expression and fluidity. I am daring to break the lines of form by stepping away from a cognitive use of colour to a more abstract response to the composition.
I continue to create bright and colourful images as a way for me to see through my fibromyalgia fog. Although in order to add more layers of depth and contrast I have now accepted the use of black and I am experimenting more with different materials, particularly interference metallic colours to diffuse and blend lines and colours, whilst remaining bright through catching lights.
Unintentionally I have noticed my current process of painting is conducive to the experiences I have working with my clients as a Counselling Psychologist. Fixing my focus around the eyes the structure, composition and flowing lines remain strong underneath. I overlap different figures or the same figure at the point of the eyes to convey different emotions and influences at one time. The abstract expression coming from and surrounding the portrait then feeds off the page as the continuum of internal energy exudes the physical boundaries of the bodies outline and connects with others through peripheral or intuitive vision.
I observe in my art a lifetime's fascination with capturing the juxtapositional sides within the human mind, the internal conflicts this creates for us and the constant, ever changing journeys we are on.
We are our history as well as our present, and we cannot be just ourselves, we are always us in relation to an ‘other’. My painting rarely sits with the stillness of one view or one moment as I battle with my own juxtapositioning conscious and unconscious processes and emotions at one time.
My landscapes are exploratory journeys through these contrasting emotions, my portraits an illustration of how we are more than an external mask and are never just ‘one’ being at any fixed time.
Through an unconscious, ‘right brain’ process of creating art I have learnt that behind my introverted mask I am an overwhelmingly sensitive and emotive being on a coiled spring, continually unravelling and retracting. My inner winsomeness can be seen through vibrant, expressive colours, fluid shapes and avoidance of black, whilst protecting myself with strong blue outlines. This openness can meet a place of overwhelming anger and fear in which I have coiled back from to a place of lonely depression and dissociated fog in which I seek clarity again.
Through my art I am on a quest to meet a seemingly un-achievable place of homoeostasis of my conflicts. This journey is seen in my desperate attempts to create clarity from complexity.
GAA Contemporary Art of Excellence Vol III, 28th March 2017
Total Health clinic, Newbury, Nov 2017-current
Artyard café, Enstone, OXON. Dec 2016 – Jan 2017, May-June 2017
Open Studios (Oxford)
Artyard Café, Enstone, OXON. 10th-24th May 2017
The Grid Art Fair, Old Trumans Brewery, London, 27th-30th October 2016
Culturefest, Newbury, 16th July 2016
Oxford Art Fair, The Fishes, 11th-12th June 2016
The Cult House FUSION II, Underdog Art gallery, London, 26th April – 1st May 2016
Oxford International Art Fair Oxford Town Hall, 27th-28th February 2016
Invited and exhibited;
LaGalleria Pall Mall Christmas Art Gifts exhibition, 23rd-25th December 2015
Parallax International Art Fair Chelsea, London, 23rd-25th October 2015