Often I begin with an insignificant background figure from a newspaper cutting - someone doing nothing in particular, a bystander, or a member of a crowd. A small gesture or expression may attract me or suggest a narrative - the tiny hint that 'says it all'. I find myself drawn to subtexts, and in my paintings I hope to intrigue the viewer in a similar way. There is no definitive reading of the paintings: I aim to create an atmosphere or suggest a mood of ambiguity rather than clarity.
I work through drawings and collage using torn paper and cardboard towards the finished works in oils. The process of collage is particularly important to me in its capacity to create a 'surface'. The collage experiments in composition and layering are key to the structure of the work, and their influence is often still evident in the finished piece.
As paint is applied, layers are added and removed, always with an emphasis on the dialogue between the figure and the abstract background. Motifs are repeated and reused from painting to painting.
The figures I paint are always men.
They are dressed in suits, shirts and ties , matching uniforms, decorations, regalia. This gives them a collective identity and allows me to explore favourite themes of repetition and mirror imaging. I often paint the same man again and again.
Recent work places the men in monumental landscapes that are more emotional or imaginary than real. In some the men themselves form the landscape.
I become ever more interested in paint itself, its ability to transform and thrill in the process of making a painting. Through the layers and textures of the surface the painting evolves.