The Show

I have had so many people make positive remarks about the playfulness of the work and the show. 


Masters Show and Artist Statement

So, I have just finished hanging my work as part of the Masters Show 2015, and what a relief. I feel a million times happier with what I have produced after hanging it all and feel quite proud of the achievement (it has been tough with a baby).

So it is at DJCAD, Dundee on 21/08/2015 at 6 p.m. Info Here. Come along.

Here is the final text I put alongside the body of work – and if you come along to the show it should make sense…   

‘Play Time’ 2015                                                                         

Parenthood has brought about constant transformation in my sense of self, in every way – physical, mental, spiritual. It is an experience beyond words.  Life is heavier, lighter. More focused, more diverse. More inclusive, more isolated. More chaotic, yet restrained. How has it affected creativity and practice for me? Profoundly. Values shift, processes shift and rhythms shift.

‘Play Time’ is a series of silkscreen prints, paintings and drawings compiled from a perpetual collaboration with my 1½ year old son.

The work adopts specific features from our primary collaborative drawings and mark-making experiments. It is a return to the mental state of my younger self through identification with my son’s actions, drawing on this activity to produce collaborative works, completed by aesthetic artistic methods. The methods of developing the original source material from my son are fairly straightforward as printmaking practices. Scanning, overlaying, drawing on to and computer editing are also part of the process of making the work. It is through this material encounter that viewers can sense some of the underlying choices between freedom and artistic control.

Working with my son and allowing him to control elements of my practice, was a way for me to relinquish control — to step back and allow things to happen voluntarily. The ensuing freedom in using this method has been multiple in nature: essentially, I have become a creative respondent and manipulator rather than an instigator. (This in itself is a fairly good approximation of Motherhood.)  I encourage my son in the same joy that I found in creating as a child. Bonding through this process is a valuable experience in that my son receives the attention he desires whilst progressing socially and cognitively, and I re-engage with a childlike fascination in making. And ultimately, mindful of Freud’s ideas of regression to recapture the intensity of a child’s perception, I am able to achieve unanticipated results from unexpected beginnings.

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“Scribbles are products of systematic investigation rather than haphazard actions.”

– Professor John Matthews (artist/teacher)



It starts with a line. This starting point then progresses into something other than what it was intended to be, through the use of editing and Photoshop manipulation. Editing the images comprises of picking out parts that I feel work well as a print and that is what I prepare as a separation.

The beginning: Oscar drawing with fat Posca Pens.


The drawings progress into many separation ideas:

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The Final Print (3 separations)…


Originally, this print was just a simple black line – however, I took acetate over the piece and painted some of the gaps with ink, exposed them to separate screens and printed on top of the piece which, for me, added another dimension to the piece. I enjoy the way in which the line separations produce quite raw scribbly prints, they just give out an energy which draws me into them.

Pendulum Drawings

In our exploration into new and exciting ways of mark making I have come across the use of Pendulums as a means of making marks. It ranges from Arduino and robotic pendulum drawings powered by programming and coding (something I endeavour to try out soon) to simple tripod pendulum paintings.

So we constructed two pendulums – one with a horizontal pole held by two vertical stands and another that stood as a tripod. On the pole held by two stands we attached felt tips and Oscar gently rocked the pole for five minutes, creating delicate scribbles on the surface of the paper. With the tripod we attached a squeeze bottle filled with ink/paint – producing lines, or what was supposed to be lines of ink which in turn created patterns (in this case the ink didn’t flow smoothly, it came out as blobs due to the air in the bottle not being displaces – a hole in the upright side of the bottom should do this).

The principle of using a pendulum to make marks transcends art and creativity in that it is also teaching children simple physics – in this case the changing displacement of ink and the amplitude of oscillation (the marks gradually getting smaller/closer together).

In any case, this was a fun experiment, that allowed us all, as a family to take part in. Here are some of the patterns we made!


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Huge finger ‘paintums.’

As part of my masters show, I was really keen to create paintings on a larger scale to what we would usually produce at home. Initially using white acrylics, to see how it would go, we started pouring paint, throwing it, using brushes, our hands and squeegees to push the paint around  the board – creating magic and choas, responding directly to the suface on which we were working with and asking it to respond identically. Oscar was quite weary at first, I think the size of the surface caught him off guard, but once he seen that I was comfortable with it, he settled down and had so much fun moving the paint around – as did I.

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Today’s homework was to encourage Oscar to be spontaneous and gestural with some large brushes and paint. He likes to have a running commentary whilst making the marks on the page – making Richard and I very aware that he is doing “Paintums.” Ultimately I want these paintings to transpire into a medium I am comfortable using – print perhaps. However, for now, I am just revelling in my son’s delight in making some paintings.


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I have been encouraging Oscar to be gestural in his approach to painting – to sweep across paper with brushes, to pour his paint onto the paper and to allow the work to reciprocate this sense of freedom.

The term ‘gestural’ is used to describe the application of paint in free sweeping gestures with a brush. It originally come into use to describe the painting of the abstract expressionist artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann and others (also referred to as ‘action painters’).

In Pollock’s case the brush might be a dried one, or a stick, dipped in the paint and trailed over the canvas. He also poured direct from the can. The idea was that the artist would physically act out his inner impulses, and that something of his emotion or state of mind would be read by the viewer in the resulting paint marks. De Kooning wrote: ‘I paint this way because I can keep putting more and more things into it – drama, anger, pain, love – through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or an idea.’

This approach to painting has its origins in expressionism and automatism (especially the painting of Joan Miró). In his 1970 history, Abstract Expressionism, Irvine Sandler distinguished two branches of the movement, the ‘gesture painters’ and the ‘colour field’ painters.

The term gestural has come to be applied to any painting done in this way.

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Automatism is considered the same as free association, a method used by the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud to explore the unconscious mind of his patients. Freud’s ideas strongly influenced French poet André Breton who launched the surrealist movement in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism. In the manifesto, Breton defined surrealism as, ‘Pure psychic automatism the dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and outside all moral or aesthetic concerns’.

The earliest examples of automatism are the automatic writings of Breton, produced by simply writing down as rapidly as possible whatever came to his mind. Surrealist collage, invented by Max Ernst, was the first form of visual automatism, in which he put together images clipped from magazines, product catalogues, book illustrations, advertisements and other sources to create a strange new reality. In painting, various forms of automatism were then developed by artists such as Joan Miro, Andre Masson as well as Ernst. Automatism later lead to the abstract expressionist works of Jackson Pollock and others and was a key element in European art movements such as art informel and arte nucleare.

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What is a point, what is a line?

Must remember to order this book when it is released…

Drawing Ambiguity: Beside the lines of Contemporary Art.

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