words about pictures



“…………..In my experience your work is often about the

moment you find yourself in and that may need paint, clay, blue tape,

board, words, plastic and so on. In other words you need the freedom to

use whatever fits what occupies you at that time.

Now that is very different to sticking to one medium, format etc. Our

work is as much about what we choose not to do as well as what we do.

Our confidence can come from simply making a choice and sticking with

it. That choice can then eliminate unecessary questions, for example;

why put myself under pressure to be making 10 ft canvases when my

circumstances may mean I have little space and time? Why put myself

under pressure to appear to have a logically devleloped oeuvre when I

want to be alive to the all the shades and colours of life? You must be

true to what engages you and that which makes want to make things”.

Tony Martin  2012








                                          “Orange Spread”

is almost ethereal, combining the pale serene tones of blue, pink and apricot.

Fiona herself says it’s difficult to follow the stories of individual pieces of work.  She does not sketch and does not take notes.  She does take lots of photographs but only to fix her memories, not as a way into a new painting.  Instead she spends a lot of time in the landscape, recording in her mind the detail of the world around her.  Importantly, she looks up and she looks down so she sees the sky in all its glory and she notices the water on the ground and how it reflects that sky.


translucent layers of  watery-white paint through which can be seen the blue of the sky – or is it the sea?

“I often see my paintings when out walking… not before I paint them, but afterwards.”


Henry Moore wrote-

“There are universal shapes to which everybody is sub-consciously conditioned and to which they can respond if their conscious control does not shut them off”





She paints on board covered in muslin, which together provide solidity and texture, and she says she enjoys the process of building her working surfaces, which she feels “grounds” her and her work.  She also generally uses several layers of acrylic paint in various stages of liquidity to suggest

depth, movement and mystery.  Her colour combinations also, I feel, enhance these effects because by mixing (for example) prussian blue with burnt umber she gets a wonderful velvety black that just won’t sit still!


                                           “Rocks Once Connected”,

for example, emphasises this effect by setting 2 dark forms against shimmering pinks.



“Incidental Landscapes”

is an ongoing series of tiny paintings that seem to be more like automatic writings that capture a fleeting mood, and less like a description of a landscape.   And they were indeed created accidentally, with paint being moved randomly between several canvasses, as part of Fiona’s need to create more immediate, intuitive, dynamic paintings.  My favourites (so far) are number 16…. (…..featuring dramatic tones and soft textures in one tiny package) and number 84 …(….where the blues are set off perfectly by a tiny spot of yellow).

                                                     ‘No 16’


                                                                  ‘No 84’




How do we communicate that which is deep, alive, immediate and present?  Words and marks are descriptive, and therefore not the described, and yet they are all we have. As an artist I’m all too well aware of this frustrating paradox. One of the ways I manage this is by working with several pieces at once, moving from one to another, looking for that juxtaposition of colour, shape or mark which moves me, which comes close to that sense of bigness, of wonder, of excitement that I wish to evoke in others. No convention here, but process-based simplification and being open to those incidentals which can surprise and transform.


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