When I decided to swop my paints and brushes to explore a dry medium, using a multicoloured palette of textured papers and a Swan Norton scalpel, I was on a journey of unfamiliar territory of exploration. I wanted to find a new way of expressing myself above the noise: there are so many amazing and gifted painters but to find an art form not so commonly used in order to share my art and designs in a less cluttered space.
“What is cut paper?” people ask. How can you “paint” with paper? Cut paper is still a relatively unexplored medium. Some artists use one block colour and cut out a whole image, and mount it on a contrasting colour, some use other methods, using scissors and different materials, like magazines and newspaper. I am a purist so use only coloured paper, my art is not a collage of printed material, nor do I paint in details. My designs are carefully constructed using chosen textured shades of paper to replicate the image I have in my head. For me it is equally as challenging as creating a painting with paint.
I try to explain my methodology of working, as people ask me why do I work in paper when paint is so much easier and faster? So, instead of using a wet medium of paint in various shades and hues and creating a painting using an array of brushes, my method was to create a “cut paper painting” using hundreds of component pieces of different shades of paper, carefully positioned leaf by leaf, blade of grass by blade of grass, every minute detail rendered by hand, cut carefully with a scalpel then positioned and stuck in place to create the painting I had created in my initial sketch.
Looking back, Matisse was my first inspiration as he was the most prolific artist to use paper as a viable art form . He chose to use it as blocks of vibrant colour, in big bold graphic abstract shapes that are universally recognised and admired. He made paper art acceptable as a new form of art expression, despite criticism. I looked carefully at his works, then I looked at other works for inspiration like Japanese wood blocks, the extraordinary designs of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and most importantly for me, Nature and the Living World. Nature and living creatures are a wonderful source of inspiration for me and feature consistently in my growing gallery of works. I try to imbue some life force and expression into all the living creatures I create, from birds to cats, to people. Cat in the Garden for example, a cat with a defiant gleam in its eyes engages the viewer in a challenging glance. I want to provoke a response! I like to capture a flavour of the orient in some of my works, mostly with birds. I am always looking for inspiration in nature as it’s a never ending source of beauty.