I write. I draw. I go outside. A lot.
When I write, I write for me. It's clumsy and grammatically incorrect with atrocious spelling (had to actually spell check that one) and I usually go on for too long and use too many 'ands', but it's a way of getting my crowded thoughts out into the open, a way of sorting through the mess, and way to bring about a calmness I can’t quite explain.
When I draw, I draw for me too but I also share it with others - a recent phenomenon I might add. Drawing is a way for me to respond to the world I'm seeing, hearing and feeling; a way for me to communicate my unique perspective (this may seem grandiose but we all have one). And even though my drawing may be inconsistent and sporadic, sometimes I’m able to create something beautiful, and that - for me - is enough. My printmaking is an extension of this, and everything I create stems from what I draw.
When I go outside - into the English landscape in particular - I feel at home. I have a long and passionate relationship with the outdoors, having grown up on a farm in Dorset and spending most of my holidays and free time on Exmoor. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city and all it has to offer, but my heart lies in the countryside. I am most comfortable on the top of a hill or mountain, close to the sea or even out on a balcony, deck or doorstep. Just feeling the air on my face and knowing I could just ‘escape’ at any time gives me a sense of calm and freedom. There is something innately human about being out in the elements, of understanding the power and unforgiving forces of nature, of experiencing and appreciating it's beauty and colour, of repeatedly being in awe.
Over the past 3 years I’ve been through the mill (a story for another time), but I’ve also experienced amazing things, met incredible people and pushed myself further than I expected I could go. During those 3 years, more positive experiences have included owning a business, completing an Illustration MA, sea swimming, completing my first triathlon and travelling to Zion National Park in Utah. These adventures have tested my body and my resolve, and I have come out feeling more alive and more excited about the future than I ever have before.
I used to write a blog, stories to an unpublished website destined never to be read. I used to draw just to complete an assignment or to fill my spare time. I used to go outdoors because it was just something we did as a family and something I enjoyed.
Over the past few months I have come to realise that if I don’t do all 3 of these things, for at least half my day, every day, then I am unhappy. Now I work for the National Trust, make money from my artwork and try and travel when I can.
I work hard to create experiences in my work and life that I can record through writing and drawing; my writing and drawing fuel my creativity but also my need to experience the outdoors; my time outdoors spurs on my need to create and provides subjects for my work.
I finally find myself in an amazing cycle of experiences, creativity and production - which makes me happy (most of the time) and that I hope will go on and on….and never stop.