As an American artist living in Norfolk, United Kingdom, these images are my way of “finding home”. I like to combine a sense of whimsy with an inventive use of light; as I playfully arrange roads, dark shadows, and elements of nature to navigate my new environment.
My recent landscapes echo the making of a life in my adopted country. I relocated to the United Kingdom from the United States in 2013 and my current work revolves around finding a sense of place and belonging. In an effort to gain my bearings I move through the countryside, drawn to the cultivated fields and tree-lined roads so different from the wild and uncultivated landscape that I painted in the US.
In the 80’s 90’s, and early millennium, I painted large-scale 4 by 6-foot interiors with windows, an artistic device used by artists like Vermeer and Deibenkorn. I’ve always been painterly artist approaching my figures, still life, or landscape with loose, fluid brushstrokes. Often, I combine elements of these genes to move my personal experience forward into something that reveals an intimate moment in time and yet still offers a sense of timelessness.
Sensitivity to time and location are ever present in my work. In the Northern Latitude that allows for an extended twilight, the sun very low on the horizon creates long deep shadows. This sense of time, specific to where I find myself, orients me to my new surroundings.
These landscapes don’t hold my history but are places that are fast becoming part of my recent experience and my future. My experience is written in and across them. I like to layer words, textures, and colours together, weaving in bits of poetry, or lyrics from a favourite song. Words from poets like John Betjeman’s “Norfolk” are in pencil, becoming blades of grass or waves on the sea. I use words from the Twelfth Night and the words of the German-born poet Marika and other poets.
My experience that connects me to people long ago rowing a longboat across the North Sea on a three-day journey to to East Anglia echoes the journey world over of people rearranging their life and world.
My current work is a painterly style that is lush and representational. I like to embroider a modern tapestry within my images that allude to the world of unexpected undertones and hidden complexities – as often, issues in life are multidimensional not just black and white.
My goal in making these images is to find common ground. Once familiar with the Norfolk landscape I can begin to insert them into larger works. I intend to create works that are evocative in use of light and strong colour to infuse empathy and understanding into landscape interiors with windows looking out on the world as they waiting for the tide to turn to bring your love back home. Additionally, I am fascinated with fibre optic as a way to enhance the gestural drawing of a painting with an added layer of light. I intend to experiment with fibre-optic highlighting the deep shadows and bright light of the landscape.
As a lifelong lover of all things nature, I am informed by a two-way dialogue, between my artist vision and that of the ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows which imbue a sense of the land, biodiversity, culture, and heritage in my work. Something else that connects me to the land is my sense of family, as several generations back my own ancestors: Gray, Hartsell and Gover were all seafarers from the eastern UK and my family heritage comes from places that are now familiar. Civilisation and cultural ties are closer knit than we think -we are made of stars and share a deep sense of time and place.
I seek out the over-looked, the every day is hidden in plain sight. My work represents a ‘homecoming’ connecting me to the land, spectacular beaches, woodlands and ancient byways -places I have grown to love.