Wallpaper lining paper; 86cm x 56cm; Acrylic primaries.

"IndyRef 1 - before the vote"

“IndyRef 1 – before the vote”

Wallpaper lining paper; 56cm x 86cm; Acrylic primaries.

"IndyRef 2 - after the vote"

“IndyRef 2 – after the vote”

Wallpaper lining paper; 56cm x 86cm; Acrylic primaries.

"Ghost mine"

“Ghost mine”

This is a wee story around somewhere I lived for a few years – Pathhead, New Cumnock, Ayrshire. This is an ex-deep mining area of what were the Ayrshire coalfields. After we left New Cumnock in 1996, opencast mining was on the rise and this painting/collage tells the story of the ‘Big green, mean machine’ that was an 8 mile conveyor belt running over the countryside from an opencast mine outside Kirkconnel in Dumfries and Galloway to the railhead at New Cumnock in East Ayrshire. Subsequently the company running the mine went bust and when I visited the site earlier this year the conveyor belt lay abandoned stretching across the landscape like a dead snake. This is my take on the story, with the opencast roadways marked in silver and the conveyor belt in green built up onto a raised bed of wax. For me the image is a mixed media medley of google maps cut out and pasted onto canvas, washed with acrylic paint, research cut outs and notes and completed almost like a counter map.



We had just finished raking up all the fallen leaves in the garden and I kept a bundle aside to dry out and use as the base ground on a piece of canvas. For the finished painting I dripped and dribbled acrylic colours to pick out the main features of leaves and nuts, with a bright yellow/orange sun shining in the top left hand corner of the picture and finally picked out the stalks and veins of the leaves with silver and gold ink pens.

"Rough sea"

“Rough sea”

This is my take on the rough sea theme idea. Based on a blue acrylic canvas ground I added broken shells, sea salt and bits of flotsam (or is that jetsam?) to the ‘shore line’ and tinted this lightly with yellow and vermillion washes. Rolled up paper leaves and a few pieces of plastic line represent the waves of the sea. It was all initially covered in a spray fixative.

To finish the painting I added a fair bit of dripped primary acrylic colours – thin and thick – letting some runs develop. I also tinted the sky with some orange and yellow cadmium acrylic, with a few reflections in the sea and foreshore. The last touch was my take on a ‘perfect storm’ – adding a wee red fishing boat ‘bobbing about’ (no struggling) through the waves.

"Coastal erosion"

“Coastal erosion”

I applied the acrylic paint here in a fairly light wash with the intention of building other layers once this first application had dried out. However, once dry I decided that I liked the washed effect and the way that the three primaries mingled with one another. There is something almost topographical about this image in my eyes that is suggested by the applied materials, the colour shapes and also by the raised contours of the wetted paper – desert, mountain range, ocean and islands – a bit like the old maps of the world I used to see at school in geography class.

135gsm Drawing paper; 35cm x 24cm; Acrylics & found material.



I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the starting point for this and so chose to create three bands of acrylic colour mixed with gloss impasto gel – representing sky, lighter green to horizon and darker blue/green to foreground mixed from primaries. I also made use of some sprinklings of flour into these applications – in the sky as clouds; in the foreground as bright spots. It took me quite a while to identify some of the bigger bits of material that I had mixed into the paint and imagine their possibilities. I focused on pieces of bark and lines of spaghetti, which I picked out in colours straight from the tube – left to right: winsor violet; primary yellow; crimson; yellow ochre and cadmium orange; along with the wee burnt sienna ‘slug’ creeping patiently along the foreground.

135gsm Drawing paper; 35cm x 24cm; Acrylics & found material.

"Burning bush"

“Burning bush”

Continuing with the thicker application of acrylic paint and gloss impasto gel on top of the prepared ‘materials mixed into paints’ ground on paper, this study took on a few guises before I settled on this abstraction. It originally appeared to me through the application of colours as a busker with red guitar (in portrait format and probably not really apparent now) and emerged as – growth from burn out, rising from a dark place – somewhere I have been. Ok, so this is personal, but for me it is where I am now as opposed to where I have been – a better place (still with challenges), and which is a good thing for me and those I love. Heart on sleeve time!

135gsm Drawing paper; 35cm x 24cm; Acrylics & found material.

"Golfing hand"

“Golfing hand”

It started out as a mess of paint on paper, but gosh, and honestly without any real conscious thought – there’s a golf club in there, a (my?) hand, a dropped fag (spot it if you can), some ‘yellow’ happy shots and a lot more ‘red’ hooks and splices (read a golf manual). Basically, this image could be anything or nothing, but this is what it means to me – and I enjoyed making it. [ps – I gave up cigarettes over 14 years ago]

135gsm Drawing paper; 35cm x 24cm; Acrylics & found material.

"Fearn bud"

“Fearn bud”

Using a 40x50cm canvas board pre-prepared with a light acrylic wash I applied a metal grid with staples to the lower part of the composition (actually the metal grid from a ‘ready-to-go’ camping barbecue), covered the grill and outlined the main shape of the study with paper mache, which I left to dry out for a few days.

Canvas board; 40cm x 50cm; Acrylics & impasto.

"Brakes & callipers"

“Brakes & callipers”

I had personally removed the brake bits from my car, and kept them, maybe unconsciously, with a view to sketching, drawing/painting.

For this piece I cut out some sections of the canvas and built up some 3-D elements (callipers on top of discs, bits of debris around the edges), used poster ink marker pens, acrylic ‘pearlescent’ colours to pick out highlights and added a few rubber bushes, grommets, sprinklings of rusted metal and a bolt to hold it all together.

So, what is this all about? For me, it is personal commitment to reduction and rebuilding – stripping stuff down and putting it back together in a different way.

This painting could be of a targe (a round shield), brake discs and callipers, or if I let my imagination run free – cosmos, stars, revolving discs (space craft?), space debris with a metal bolt holding it all together.

Round canvas board; Acrylics & marker pens.

"The Golden Road - deconstruction"

“The Golden Road – deconstruction”

“Deconstruction” is my abstracted vision of how this rugged landscape might/could look in an alternative universe. I was strongly influenced by the power of abstraction to express emotions and a much different way of looking at the world around us. If anything I feel that I began to spiral a bit here with the ‘jazzy’ treatment, but oh how I did enjoy the fun of it!

Canvas, unframed; 50cm x 60cm; Mixed media – acrylics, crayons and marker pens