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I frequently get ask why I paint mountainous environments (something I havent always done by the way), and I often give various responses depending on what mood I'm in or who I'm talking to. "I feel a huge comfort being surrounded by mountains" or "they are so dramatic and everchaging that you can never be bored of them" are just a couple of my go to responces, but the reasons are far more complex than just the physical impressions that mountains have on me. The mountains are home for my soul, but how I came to truely embrace them through paint on a canvas has been a long heart-wrenching journey, with processes that are constantly evolving. I thought that putting down how I've got where I have with my practice so far in a Blog would be an ideal way to allow people to delve into why I paint what I paint in more detail. If you want to of course, I won't be offended if you don't read any further, as writting this will be just, if not more valuable, to me in understanding where I am right now.

The natural world, especially the, mountains have always been part of me, ever since I can remember, but they have not always been the main focus of my practice. Early work focused on how humans were making their mark on this world, and not in a positive way, I was angry (and still am) in how we treat our natural world, and each other. The idea of painting the wilderness of the mountains was never something I could contemplate as it was a place I could escape to, they were sacred and separate to my everyday world and emotions. It wasnt until I was growing tired of constanly being asked by my late Father, a fellow mountain lover, to paint his beloved Welsh Mountains, that I gave in and began painting what I loved to see, rather than what I hated. I didn't fall in love with painting landscapes straight away, I constanly struggled in trying to get a balance between representation and emotion (something that still haunts me now), but I could feel myself truly falling in love with paint.

It wasn't until the passing of my Father, that I truly immersed myself in painting the mountains and found myself creating as a way to help process my grief. With each visit to the mountains I absorbed everything I could and recollected so many important memories, that when it came to painting in the studio every painting became a physical embodyment of my emotions. The way I painted began to change, I stopped having the photos and drawings of my time with the land-giants on view in the studio, I hid them away and wanted to be alone with my thoughts and emotions. As a result it was becoming very clear that this was a link to loosing my Father, that I could no longer physically see him, all I had was my memories and emotions and to fully understand this massive mountain called grief. A mountain that is never designed for you to reach its summit, you simply find yourself on it, and along the way you learn to stop, take in the view and remember how far you've come.

When looking back at the various subjects I've focused on over the years, there has always been a deep underlyng sence of loss inspiring me to create, whether this is a global loss of the natural world, the slow process of erosion or the more private process of grieving. Currently, I've found that I'm painting land-giants and all the awe inspiring weather that surrounds them as a way of seeking inner peace. The need to explore and understand loss is subsiding, however I don't think it will ever leave me. There will always be a connection to my past when exploring the mountains, they are natural ancient beasts that give me a deep rooted personal connection to all who I have lost.

The journey with painting, is not over and I don't ever want it to be (another mountain where reaching the summit is not an option), it is a constant evolving entity and I cant wait to see where it will take me in the future. Right now, I can't ever see myself growing tired of exploring the mountains, they have been a constant in my life and always will be.


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