Horse portraits 2023
There is an urgency flowing through my work as more and more animals and insects are becoming extinct. I paint birds, butterflies and insects in oil on linen, often using bright contemporary colours and as accurately as possible to illustrate their beauty and delicacy. The backgrounds are often punctuated with hot reds or striking blues, contrasting their peaceful surroundings.
Over the summer of 2022, there was intense heat in the UK and whilst I was drawing horses in a field, a neighbouring farm building was on fire due to the heat. The fields were scorched, which meant bringing out the winter hay that the horses needed to feed on, as there was no grass. I illustrate this with landscapes of burning reds and bright yellows.
I am interested in preservation, conservation and protection. I often wonder what the trees and animals think and if they intuitively understand climate change. Animals know when to hibernate, retreat and reproduce. The artist Rachel Berwick looks at extinction and asks questions about how birds migrate, connecting and differentiating between structural and pigment light and the subtle role this plays when birds migrate.
Animals have an interesting calmness; however, deeper within their personalities is a clever radar that tells them when there is danger, threat and stress. They have a memory and can communicate and send telepathic messages further than we can conceive.
Colours play an essential part in my work, and I am interested in the intense blues, and iridescent reds often found in the Kingfisher. I paint the subject’s intensely and try to capture their delicacy with fine brushstrokes, usually employing tiny brushes. I also spend time drawing the issues to improve the life-like image. I think this is important as I want to suggest sharpness and immediacy in the paintings.
I place the birds and horses in their natural habitats, and sometimes they sit on the natural linen or blank spaces, not knowing where they are, but they just are.