My main pre-
My fascination with architecture is probably the result of an urban childhood in south London where houses and streets were the landscapes of my daily walks to school and where, as I grew into a teenager, my weekend exercise was shopping in newly built centres. Green spaces were regulated gardens or commons where the horizon was broken by nearby Edwardian terraces and council flats. Now when I see a terrace of solidly built houses or the regular patterns of rows of windows and balconies, I want to record their symmetrical patterns which give me a feeling of solidity and security that no doubt stems back to those early safe and happy days.
My main consuming passion however is colour and design. I have always been seduced by gorgeous fabrics in wonderful rich colours and have devoted long hours to making curtains and cushions for the many homes I have lived in over the years. I had a passion for William Morris fabrics when younger and am probably influenced very much by his colour sense and symmetry, finding that I often want to re-
I use a variety of different paints in my architectural paintings. When I wish to emphasise texture and detail I use oil paints, as detail is easier to work into the paint because of its slow drying and blending qualities. Many of my paintings concentrate on the colour and shape of buildings using strong shadows to create depth. For these works I use acrylic paint or, more recently, emulsion paint, applied in several coats to give flat, opaque colour that adds to the solidity of the images. These types of paint have the added advantage of being quick-
I often choose to use deep canvasses and extend the image onto their sides in order to emphasize the solidity and 3D quality of that particular building.
The dimensions of the image are also important to me. I frequently paint an image on two canvasses which creates a large image that is easily transportable and versatile. Occasionally I like to create unusual orientations by placing them end to end. The colours that I use are also extremely important. Often I change the actual colour of a building to negative or monochrome colours using digital photographic techniques. This works well on older buildings where the colours do not create the essentially modern feel I want for my paintings.
My aim in creating these architectural scenes is to try to simplify or synthesize the world around me in a similar way to artists like Julian Opie, who reduces architectural forms to simple black and white shapes which can create a 3D feel like the patterns of the Optical artist Bridget Riley. I do not want the viewer of my work to have to struggle with hidden concepts but rather enjoy the image as an immediately aesthetically pleasing experience that somehow draws attention to the ordinary and familiar turning them from solid imposing landscape features to attractive designs. To me, a carefully executed picture of a building can be just as visually satisfying as a painted landscape of outstanding natural beauty. Indeed, as our population becomes increasingly urban, the hard landscape of walls is becoming more comfortingly familiar than the wild beauty of the natural world.