I have been exploring ideas of transience, wonder and landscape through my drawings and prints. These themes have emerged through my own experiences in the Scottish Highlands, which for the past few years have been a huge inspiration for my work. My final project is a series of illustrations, poetry and linocut reduction prints evoking the mystical atmosphere of being in the mountains as the stars begin to appear. I hope the images inspire viewers to reflect on their own relationship with nature, from the everyday to the spectacular, highlighting the critical importance and responsibility we have to our natural world.
I am a printmaker and illustrator specialising in linocut, letterpress and drawing. When beginning a project I often draw ‘on location’ in nature to closely observe the landscape, weather and light. This means drawing outside in every kind of weather, which creates an instinctive, visceral experience and response on paper. By contrast, my printmaking takes place in a studio as it requires presses and specialist equipment, and it is often a longer, more involved process for me. Each new layer of ink brings its own decisions, and these challenges drive the work forwards, generating new ideas or ways of working.
I am always inspired by experiencing the natural environments around me and especially in the Highlands. This year I have been particularly fascinated by atmosphere, weather and light, and how these things can dramatically change a landscape in any season. I spent a lot of time over the winter lockdown watching the skies change at dusk, and we also had a number of clear, dark nights which were brilliant for stargazing. Since the easing of restrictions I have been able to visit the Highlands a few times with my sketchbook and this has resulted in a series of prints of lochans under starlit skies. I have been inspired by artists working with landscape as their subject, such as Emma Stibbon, Norman Ackroyd, Emma Carlisle and Laura Boswell. I was fortunate to catch Laura Boswell’s exhibition at Birch Tree Gallery in Edinburgh last year, and it was wonderful to see her large relief prints in person.
Edinburgh is such an inspiring city to live in, I have really enjoyed wandering the city and discovering its many green spaces. More recently as restrictions have eased, I have loved making use of the ECA printmaking facilities with the support of the print technicians. The visiting illustrators who have taught us on the MA and my coursemates have also been a huge highlight, their collective support, creativity and resilience through this year has inspired me so much.
I spent the winter lockdown with my family in Suffolk. I had previously hoped to be out roaming the winter Highlands with my sketchbook, so it was jarring to find myself locked down in one of the flattest parts of the UK - along with the many practical and psychological challenges that lockdowns bring. However, it did give me time to reflect, adapt and look at my work from a new perspective. I got into a routine of listening to the birdsong in the quiet winter air, going for daily walks in my local woodlands and watching the colourful skies change at dusk. These simple joys inspired a book project reflecting on how even small interactions with nature can inspire so much hope. I have always loved being outdoors, but after spending so much designated time indoors, the pandemic has brought me and my creative practice closer to nature than ever before.
After graduating I hope to spend more time in the beautiful Scottish Highlands with my sketchbook and continue to develop my printmaking practice further. As well as selling my original prints in my online shop, I would love to exhibit this growing body of work in a gallery.