I am involved in the ongoing practice of constructing sculptures and sketching out drawings that make use of natural materials and a wide range of mixed media. The sculptures are made in a variety of outdoor habitats and landscapes that include beaches, woodlands and riversides. Materials such as leaves, pebbles and branches are arranged into two and three dimensional shapes, patterns and forms. The ideas are conceived from a vast range of influences related to the natural world as well as a more general interest in history and geology; these ideas may be abstracted from patterns found in fossils, tree bark and sand/snow textures as well as being inspired by aspects of archaeology and geography. The scale, structure and colour of the work is determined by what materials are available, the interesting effects of erosion and the consequence of changing tides and seasons.
As well as creating ephemeral artworks, I also decorate and emboss tree trunks, boulders and pebbles with imagery related to specific local history and flora and fauna; I use charcoal and chalks to sketch out objects such as pebbles or leaves directly onto smooth bark or limestone surfaces which act as natural canvases. Tree trunks and boulders also act as backdrops to highlight outdoor sketches of archaeological sites, maps and images derived from different cultures.
Continual experimentation with varied construction techniques, sometimes either with or without a pre-conceived idea, allows for spontaneity and continual evolution along the way. Associations with childhood and past history may also be evoked in my response to the environment; echoes of seaside dam building, beach combing for shells and fossils or walking through crisp autumn leaves and winter snow. As well as enjoying and appreciating the beautiful colours and textures to be found in the natural world, working in the environment also makes one aware of local and worldwide ecological concerns and issues, especially when making art in fragile eco-systems in far flung corners of the world.
As the physical existence of the sculptures is often short lived due to fragile and delicate construction techniques and exposure to the elements, enlarged medium format and digital colour photographs are necessary as visual documentation in conveying the results of my efforts. Accompanying the three-dimensional aspect of the work, I also produce an ongoing portfolio of related ideas and design sheets where drawing is seen as a valuable aid in expressing my initial ideas connected to the sculpture making. The recording of these responses also gives the opportunity to experiment and enjoy using different mark making processes and other mixed media. Additional work also includes the use of clay, silt and mud to create drawings that illustrate concepts and interests based on ancient historical monuments and industrial relics in the landscape.