I have always drawn and painted the human figure, it has been the main focus of my art since I was a child, and is an interest which continued through art college and beyond. When I had my four children, I recorded their childhood in drawings paintings and prints. Sometimes, years later, I have made work from the memory of these times. So I was intrigued recently, when I came across the writings of the Swiss psychologist, Piaget, who postulates the theory of ‘false memory’. He concludes that the phenomenon of memory is an unreliable concept, and that many of our cherished childhood memories can be mere constructs. What we think of as our memories can be the product of stories told to us as impressionable infants, subsequently embellished and embroidered in our memories as facts.
I have made a series of prints and paintings in which I analyse this theory, albeit in a non-scientific manner, using my own memories and family photographs. This felt like a continuation of my former work, but with a melancholy edge to it, as I began to question the truth of my memories.
In my screenprints for my show at Edinburgh Printmakers called ‘Feels Like Forever’, (2009) I have used the technique of screenprinting to create many rich coloured layers, using photographs and text to re-create what I think of as my childhood experiences and those of my children. I have tried to capture the nostalgia we hold for our childhood in these works.
Other strands of my work include a strong interest in literature and the performing arts. I worked as a theatre designer for some years (TAG and the Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow) and this has had an influence on my paintings and prints. I enjoy the theatricality and hightened colour and gesture to which this theme is sympathetic. I try to convey a sense of tension in these works, and often use and interpret stills from films. I also like to depict my favourite opera divas. An exhibition at the National Theatre, Southbank, London (Three Scottish Printmakers 2010) followed from this body of work. Some of my work derives its inspiration from literature.