I am exhibiting new paintings in Threefold 2 at the Union Gallery, Edinburgh. This is the second time I have exhibited with Sophie McKay Knight and Alexandra Warren. We are all contemporary figurative painters who have a strong sense of colour and mystery in our works.

My current work continues the theme of la Fête Champêtre which I was fascinated with in 2018. Inspired by Antoine Watteau’s pastoral picnics, I painted picnics from memory and imagination, also using observations of local places in Edinburgh. For Threefold 2 I have expanded on this theme and loosened the picnic association, working more with figures in enclosed outdoor spaces.

Trained trees, trellises, gates, paths, shelters, groves and clearings all provide the stage for solitary people or groups to enact their own private dramas. Although I start with an idea of some kind of enclosure and the desire to people it I do not have in mind how the painting will turn out. I prefer the figures to emerge and remind me of my own memories and desires. I want to be surprised.

Perfumerie brings to mind trying to make perfume as a child out of flower petals. I didn’t have the equipment depicted (that came from memories of Chemistry classes and observation of objects in my studio). The painting is idyllic showing children in a fragrant setting – a far cry from the reality of my home-made perfumes which were brown and stank of mould after a few days!

In Nightstock, I considered the sense of smell as well. I want viewers to become aware of the perfume of the blossoms. Wherefore also includes flowers – roses climbing up trellises. This was inspired by memories of living in Madrid over thirty years ago when I would visit the Rosaleda Garden in the Retiro Park frequently, but the figure of the boy and girl came directly from sketches done in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. For several years after I returned from Spain I painted semi abstract images of rose gardens without figures, attaching psychological insights to them. By adding figures, I am revisiting and combining several phases from my past thirty five years of painting; in particular, abstract qualities with a desire to foreground the figure.

Sophie’s paintings and drawings revolve around the Tarot, showing archetypal men and women, warriors, lovers and objects of psychological importance. Alexandra’s have a timeless quality that echoes iconography with their totemic presence and use of gold leaf.

Threefold 2 is on at the Union Gallery from May 31s t- June 29th 2019. The gallery is open 10.30 – 5 (closed Sundays).