1) How and when do you start your day?
I usually get up around 9am have a cup of tea, spend some time playing with the cat and then either go to the gym or straight into the studio.
2) Tell us about your studio or working space.
I work from home which is very convenient on many levels. My studio backs out onto a roof terrace which becomes an extended working space in the summer.
Working from home allows me to work until late at night and also means I can go and do other things in between layers. When I shared a studio I used to spend a lot of time literally watching paint dry! I’d get to the studio, do half an hour of painting and find that I couldn’t carry on until the layer had dried – this would often mean waiting for hours or going home and coming back the following day. Having a studio at home removes this dilemma but it’s also quite isolated and means that I spend most of my time alone. Luckily I have my cat to keep me company while I work, but I do have to make an effort not to turn into a complete hermit.
3) Where do you find your inspiration?
There are obviously many artists and movements which inspire me. Art Nouveau, the Pre-Raphaelites, Austrian Academic painting, Klimt, Schiele, Doig, Bacon, Jenny Saville etc and quite often flicking through magazines and going to see exhibitions will give me ideas but often inspiration comes from the world around or events in day to day life. Last spring for example I just couldn’t get over how beautiful the blossoming trees were. They looked so impossibly perfect, almost unrealistic and I found that it made me feel elated and melancholic at the same time. I knew this perfection was so brief and fleeting and only a week or two later their entire glory would start falling apart. These blossoms truly inspired me, they made me more aware of my feelings towards beauty and the passing of time which highlighted the essence of what I am actually trying to capture in my work.
4) Where do you go to re-charge when you’re feeling uninspired?
I go to Munich to visit family about 3 times a year and i find that this distance from my day to day life usually generates fresh ideas. I also think that having a period of time in which I am physically unable to paint (due to the lack of studio space) makes me really look forward to getting started again when I return.
5) What can’t you get through the day without?
6) How do you know when an artwork is finished?
I usually just know. Sometimes however it’s not that obvious and I have ruined quite a few paintings by not stopping in time. Sadly there are no hard and fast rules.
7) Do you feel an emotional attachment to your work? How do you feel about selling a piece and letting it go?
Some pieces feel like milestones which I can not part from, although sometimes I just need to hold on to them until the next one has been reached. In general though I have to feel happy with any piece in order to present it to the public to purchase, and if I feel happy about it there is always a certain level of attachment. As long as I’ve had a bit of time with the painting the joy of making a sale generally overrides this attachment. Obviously being paid is a part of this but it’s more because it means that someone else has formed their own attachment to it, sometimes even fallen in love with it, and this feeling makes it easy to let go.
Another element of this is that if the work is sold, and has effectively flown the nest it makes it easier to focus on the next generation of paintings and provides more motivation to look forward.
8 Can you remember when you realised you were an artist? Describe the moment if possible.
I have always fel that I would be in the arts, but the moment I realised I was a painter and that there was no other path I wanted to follow was after my graduation. I originally started studying Packaging design but immediately felt it wasn’t right for me and switched to Fine Art. I made the move to Fine Art primarily because I had no idea what I wanted to do and Fine Art seemed like the basis of all other artistic paths (at least I convinced myself that was the reason). Throughout my degree I hoped and waited for an epiphany to let me know what career path I should follow after my studies only to find it appearing loud and clear after I had graduated and didn’t have my studio space anymore. I realised I just didn’t feel right if I wasn’t painting and producing art.
9) When are you happiest?
There are many moments which could feature in this space, but one of them would be painting in the summer when I have the studio door open to the terrace with the sun and a warm breeze flowing in, the radio playing some good music and I feel like I am in the middle of creating something truly great! The emphasis being on ‘feel like’. In hindsight I usually decide it wasn’t that great – but in the moment it feels like it is.
10) How and when do you end the day?
This varies hugely depending on whether I’m painting, doing my accounts, delivering artwork etc although I will almost always stop to cook dinner around 6pm.