I paint with mud and beeswax, mapping landscapes using elements of the landscape itself to create the work.
The paintings in these images are part of a long-term landscape project studying many rivers on both sides of the Atlantic. Most of these images are a part of an exploration of The Stour, a river bordering the Shotley Peninsula in England. I use the various coloured muds and earths found in and along rivers, mud flats and marshes as pigments and work with local beekeepers using wax from the beehives along the same stretches of river and environs. A future part of this project will incorporate sound recordings from the parts of rivers that the mud is drawn from, the various beehives and their surroundings; as well as analysis of the constituents of both the mud, the wax and the water along it's course. (scroll down)
Mud and wax are elemental and yet are a distillation of the environment from which they come. Wax is created and changed by where the bees forage in the landscape and the time of year; the various plants and trees they gather from; the very earth their sustenance grows out of and how that is affected by natural forces or man’s influence. The mud has been formed and changed as it is washed down rivers from the most pristine of sources high on mountains or moors, through fertilized and over-worked fields and down through urban industrial run-offs.
Some of the pieces illustrate a growing interest in the correlation between the geographical landscape and our own internal topography. The contours of the river’s mudflats and marshes not only resemble lungs visually but also in their purpose as filtration systems; the branching patterns of it’s creeks and tributaries share the same visual language as the branching networks of our own nervous systems, arteries and veins. We are connected to the natural world, are a part of the natural world and what we do to it not only affects it incrementally but us also.
I am drawing on what has been drawn out of the earth by the bees and out of the earth and washed into the rivers by the elements and by man. Both capture the essence of a moment in time and place in the landscape.