Paintings on Paper process

The paintings on paper are layered with materials and paint and carved back in ways that evoke geological processes, with subjects covering an array of landforms along the South Coast of England.
The compositions start with line drawings, topographical interpretations, sketched by hand, that capture the essence of the landscapes I visit. Shapes taken from these drawings are both cut out of and layered onto the surface of the handmade cotton rag sheets, combined to create relief. I paint onto the new surface of the paper, using washes and areas of thick impasto acrylic. I then skim over the coloured layers with jesmonite, a polymer modified plaster, which absorbs some of the stronger tones whilst accentuating others, spilling into the fissures and transforming the texture of the paper. The robustness of the jesmonite, once dry, allows me to sand back and carve into this new surface.

The eagerness to charge my work with optical complexity has required extensive research to find techniques that capture and mimic the patterns of rock formations. At this stage I utilise marbling, an aqueous painting process using opaque and transparent layers of colour, to recreate the deposition of sediments. The colour palettes reflect steel blue marine sediments, cadmium yellow deltas and the brilliant white chalk of the South Coast.

Once marbled, I score and engrave the surface of the paper with my line compositions. I remove only the top layer of paper in varying and exactly calculated depths without damaging the reverse side of the paper. These excavations provide the final layered surface onto which I apply colour in a combination of watercolour washes. Gum arabic slows the drying time, which increases the transparency and creates greater luminosity of colour for the last stage of the painting process.