Earth, sea and sky are key ingredients in our landscape vocabulary. Natural elements such as these can be forgotten in our increasingly technological lives. Natural constants, however, inspire these universal images for everyone.
I think art can sometimes manifest ideas and feelings which we can't quite put into words, especially when the two are imaginatively fused, as in intuitive dream imagery. Art, in any form, provides timeless catalysts, emotional stepping stones, or seed thoughts which any mind can explore, and adapt it in its own unique individual way. Great art often has an aspect of ambiguity, as though its creator were more interested in posing questions than imposing dogma. Think of Shakespeare's so-called 'problem' plays or Donne's poetic speculations. They can free the mind and kick start the heart.
Combined factors can make art works all the richer, as intentions can work on varying inter-woven levels. Ai Weiwei made a telling adaptation of the tree of life. He built up a tree with branches from different species from all over China to represent the different parts of his country. These branches are dead. He is making an imaginative comment on the way human 'success' often implies destroying our eco-system.
Who needs 'realism?' We have cameras.
Images imbued with positive spiritual energy, like Hilma A.F. Flint's colourful abstracts, resonate peacefully in the mind's eye. Joyful energy, like that generated by Vivaldi's Four Seasons, can counter fearful energy and the aggression it releases. Art can heal and so can nature. Hospital gardens, for example, provide peaceful sources of rejuvenation, like parks, playgrounds and beautiful wild spaces. These are some of the themes inspiring an apprentice just making the tea on the building site, goggle-eyed at brilliant architects transforming plans into action, turning energy into matter.
Shapes carry ideas. Circles represent peace, spirals evolution, and wild splashes describe energy explosions - whether in fountains or flowers like fireworks. Colours are associated with emotion. Warm colours energise and cool colours relax. I usually use red, orange, pink and yellow with fresh greens for my daylight, land-based sun pictures. Nightscapes and moon paintings incorporate more blues, greens and whites.
I isolate key factors which we all cherish in nature - such as lush fields, clear beaches and open skies - hoping people can use them as jumping off points for personal reverie. Holiday pictures put together different idealised elements such as flourishing vegetation, picturesque architecture including temples, mosques, tents and bars, hotels and cafés.
Images about balance are inspired by Cornish Celtic Cross designs often adapted in three dimensions. Miniature sculptures include the Women Evolving Series. These pieces contrast solid materials such as clay and metals, with more light permeable media such as crystal and glass. Classical earth goddesses are overhung by a Buddhist bell representing pure sound. Mud transforms into music! Playing with found objects, such as electricity circuit boards can reflect our reliance on invisible energy throughout our shared environment.
Moveable wires and magnets demonstrate our potential to connect, as through this web. Childrens' toys are included in games about different realities and value systems. Similarly, dice and toy animals in What's Next? Your Move! represent our seemingly random destruction of other species.
Having painted and drawn since I was a young child in Australia and Yorkshire, I studied art at University and wrote on The Artist in 19th Century English Fiction (Colin Smythe; Barns & Noble, 1979) and Landscape Painting (Phaidon Press, 1979). These led to a new book exploring everyone's interactions with nature.
I taught art history at the University of Stirling and had an Honorary Fellowship from Tokyo National University of Arts. I have exhibited in Europe and Japan with - amongst others -shows at the Japanese Culture Centre, Brussels, the Alliance Française, Dublin, the Daiwa Foundation, London and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Large meditative works and surreal games connect similar themes. A snail shell and a galaxy, for example, both demonstrate evolutionary spirals found throughout the natural world. Paired down pictures and adapted games help to illustrate CREATIVITY: Nature and Us.
Both this book and these pictures have been produced carefully over a twenty year period.
This collection has something for everyone. There are microcosms and macrocosms - incorporating cells, seeds, flowers, plants, trees, gardens, parks, landscapes, seascapes, skyscapes and universes. This is a complete cycle to celebrate nature.
For more information please click here to view my cv.