The creative process starts with thought experiments. They open new doors to the imagination, sparking ideas and feelings, that I'll then paint.
The thought experiment for the Undiscovered Planets Series was to imagine being an astronaut. The years of travelling away from home through empty space suddenly pay-off when a succession of unusual and remarkable new planets are encountered deep in the universe.
I've tried to project the feelings of the astronaut onto the planets, so that the viewer too experiences the range of emotions that the astronaut feels on first encountering the planets, and later, to contemplating their discovery.
On a broader level, the paintings are about the idea that we see reality with our feelings, as much as with our retinas.
The Light Fractures Series is inspired by the Leonard Cohen lines: 'There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.' When light fractures it divides into bands of colour. These paintings also draw formal influence from a favourite: the late 18th Century Japanese painting 'Cracked Ice' by Maruyama Okyo.
For the Flower Series I imagined an infant just at the point when language is starting to make sense of the world. From a jumble of abstract colours, shapes and textures, as if by magic, a flower appears.
The thought experiment for the Torn Fabric Series was based on a story. The story was full of symbolism too. So these paintings are narrative and metaphorical as well as purely visual.
I've found that the people who get most out of the Torn Fabric paintings do so because they find something in the works that relates to their own history or thinking. In this sense the works are a collaboration between the painter and the viewer.