"When people ask what inspires me to paint, I tell them it's really just observing people going about their daily lives, We are social creatures, it's what makes us human. For me painting is a human way of capturing moments in the places where people meet and talk.
Every painting has a person in it. I could paint without people, but it would, in my eyes, be sterile. Cities are, essentially by people, for people and I find that a painting makes no sense without a figure to relate to.
I try to pay close attention to portraying the effect that light has on familiar surroundings. I only have a small window of opportunity to capture these moments as everything moves so fast in the city and the light can change quickly. I work quickly and repeatedly with sketches and photographs of the same area and later compose them into a painting. I am very picky about subject matter and for every painting, there are many hours of walking and simply looking.
Monet talked about there being a 'cushion of light' between subject and it being such an important dynamic when understanding perspective and subtle variations in colour/tone. He reminds me to paint what I see and not what i think is there. Knowing I may never recreate the way that Singer-Sargent captured his figures or the beauty of Whistlers Nocturnes, it helps to have something to aspire to.
Painting places at night is a challenge but very rewarding. I usually have to work with a warm palette due to the artificial light and try to capture people silhouetted against shops and pavement reflections.. Painting at this time allows me to capture a vibrancy that is invisible during the day. Shops emit light onto streets and when the cafes close for the evening, the bars and theatres take over. These intimate meeting points instinctively draw our attention and Its these places that make a city so dynamic and alive. Every piece needs its own story and this narrative derives from offering a snapshot into someone's life for a moment and leaving you to fill in the rest."