For the past 33 years since training in Fine Art at Leicester Polytechnic and specialising in printmaking at Nottingham Trent University, I have continued my own fine art practice, as well as working professionally within the arts and raising a family.
I have lived in Rutland (the smallest county in the UK) since 1988. I first arrived in the county as Artist in Residence at Uppingham School and I have lived here ever since. For the past 10 years I have worked solely at my art practice in the village of Wing – which is very apt for a women inspired by birds. My studio is at the bottom of the garden and houses all I need to make my work, including a recently acquired Rochat Albion press. The studio overlooks sheep fields surrounded by gentle sloping hills. It’s not a dramatic landscape but somehow a comforting one and to me feels very much like home. The Rutland countryside does have a wealth of animal and bird life that is a constant inspiration for my work. Rutland Water is just over the ridge which attracts a great diversity of bird life that is world renowned.
British birds have inspired my images since my days as a student when I would gather road kill on my cycle to college and then spend hours drawing them and turning the drawings into etchings. I have a love for familiar garden birds, like the gaggle of sparrows that live in the ivy at the front of the house or the blackbirds that seem to feel they own the garden. As well as the garden birds I also love Curlews, Redshanks and other seabirds that we see when my partner and I travel further afield to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cornwall. I always take a sketchbook on these trips and record the birds we see in scribbles, so that later in the studio I can develop them into more formal designs. I do not work directly from life as I did as a student but use a combination of drawing and imagination. I do like to set the image, whether a bird or animal, within a definite location, like the Orford Hares or the Curlew at Morston.
I try to combine the atmosphere of the place and the shape of the bird or animal to make a successful image. Blackbirds often feature in my prints; I have illustrated them helping themselves to the fruit that I grow, or nesting in the rose bush by the front garden, I love the strength of their form, the black against green. The images I make are always rooted in something I have seen or they have been inspired by something I have read.
Over recent years I have worked as an illustrator for Gardens Illustrated, BBC Countryfile and Country Living Magazine. I have really enjoyed this editorial work as the subject matter fits so well with the way I work and the images I produce. I have also developed a close working relationship with Art Angel Publishing who publish my work as greeting cards and notecards. The high quality of their reproduction and the consideration they give to their artists has made them a lovely company to work with and an association that has benefited my work by bringing it to a wider and larger audience.
I have worked in print since 1982 using many different techniques but over the past 7 years I have mainly worked in lino/vinyl and silkscreen. As a result, my background in etching and drypoint is very evident in my approach to lino.
I have a great love of line and try as I might to be more economical with them there are always a lot, the mark making that is possible through line always excites me. I am not naturally a patient person, but I can sit for hours creating each block. To add colours to the work I use hand cut paper stencils that are then used with a silkscreen mesh. The combination of water and oil based inks gives the work a quality of both softness and clarity. Through most of my work is done through many hours of working alone I also enjoy working within a studio environment and I have been lucky enough to be invited to work both at The Curwen and Penfold Press. This approach of working collaboratively brings a new dimension to the work which is always exciting.
My prints are all original limited editions, generally ranging from 50 to 75. If you are unable to visit any of the galleries that feature my work and wish to purchase my work please contact me and I can arrange the delivery directly to you. Prints can be sent to you mounted and suitably wrapped but not framed. All images are lino and silkscreen, except for Early Nester that is a lithograph co-published with the Curwen Studio and Summer Foxes at Marske Hall, a silkscreen produced at The Penfold Studio. Please click on images to view the price, format and edition size.
What is a lino/vinyl cut?
Lino/vinylcut is a printmaking technique; a sheet of linoleum or vinyl is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the surface with a V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed. The block is inked with a roller and then impressed onto paper. The actual printing process can be done by hand or with a press, I use a Rochate Albion Press.
What is a silkscreen printing?
Screenprinting is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials, which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A roller or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas.