I wake up early most mornings at around 7.30am and then meander downstairs, usually with one eye partially open the other still shut with crazy looking hair, which makes me look like an electrocuted cat! Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I religiously have about two bowls of cereal and three cups of tea before I can actually function. I look out onto our picturesque back garden and reflect upon the pieces that I am currently working on and mentally preparing my thoughts and ideas for the day ahead.
At about 9.00am I do a 100 yard dash to the bottom of the garden, where lies my studio, which looks like a dolls house. It is surrounded by trees and covered in climbing roses, backing onto a cricket field. I am very lucky to work in a setting which is so idyllic, in a place which holds so many happy memories.
The pretty external appearance of my studio is contrasted by the fact that once you step inside my ‘little house’ you would think that there has been some kind of explosion, which has caused paint to fly off in every possible direction and splatter the whole interior. I am unbelievably messy and have to step very carefully as there are always discarded, (but more often than not full) tubes of opened paint lying in wait for anyone who may enter.
After a quick clear up I look at my work from a distance, mix my colours, and then most importantly put on my CD player. I find that music is an essential part of the creative process for me, as it evokes powerful emotions which I ultimately want to express with the paint. I choose the music according to the pace at which I am working and the desired effect that I want to achieve. If I am working expressively I will put on a frantic piece of music to fire me up, that tends to aid the spontaneous nature of my craft.
My work is very physical and I am constantly changing the position of the canvas according to the effect I want to achieve. If I am using a lot of water to build up the layers and create a bleeding effect I will paint on the floor with my legs either side of the canvas and look as if I am doing a new form of yoga, which is always amusing to anyone who visits me.
I tend to work in intense two hour sessions and have five minute breaks in between, when I usually go up to the house for my essential caffeine intake which I am convinced helps fuel my vision. I tend to do the most detailed parts of the work in the morning where my concentration levels are at their peak and the abstract elements later on in the day when I am the most relaxed and therefore tend to work in a loose manner and am far less constrained.
At around 5.00pm or 6.00pm I stop for dinner, then I usually have some time with my mum and dad and have some social interaction after a day in solitary confinement. I spend an hour or so relaxing with them before I return for the night shift which is a most exciting time for me to paint.
Painting at this time of day is usually my most productive period, when my mind is running free and the most dynamic layers are created, my heart beats fast at this point as there is a real element of chance and I am constantly reinventing what I first envisaged in my mind.
Finishing time really depends on my mood and how easy I am able to walk away. My way of winding down after a hard day is a glass or two of wine with friends or a very long swim at my local gym. Because I have little contact with the outside world I tend to let my hair down at the weekend and hit the town with my friends.