I was born in Lancashire, England and emigrated to Canada aboard the Empress of Canada with three siblings under four. We settled in Alberta, where our fifth sibling was born. One summer we went for a holiday to the west coast and my parents fell in love with Victoria and we moved the following year. We grew up surrounded by beaches and lakes and were always having family picnics at our local Esquimalt Lagoon on Victoria’s west shore. That was the beginning of many walks along the beach collecting pebbles.
Growing up I was always drawing or creating. I would take any opportunity to make art, spending as much time drawing a cover page as I did writing a book report, or making a three dimensional project to go along with an essay. My family went to the library every week and we were instructed by my parents to bring home at least two books each, and my arms were always filled with books on painting and drawing. At the time I had no idea I would be able to live a creative life where I could paint every day, but it was certainly a dream.
After graduating from high school I returned to Alberta and later attended the Alberta College of Art and Design where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in both drawing and painting. Then the pull of the west coast brought me back to Victoria, where I have remained. In the following years there have been many walks on the beach with my own family, each of us with heavy pockets full of special stones.
I began painting the stone series in 2003. I have always had the stones in the back of my mind and finally decided to let them out! I am endlessly intrigued with the varied color, texture and markings of these beautiful stones. I am often holding them as I paint, and they give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.
I create a simple line drawing as a place to begin on the canvas, with the composition coming from my imagination. I then use the actual stones as reference for shape and tone and interesting features. The painting develops as the paint lands on the canvas, one stone and then another. The stones shift around on the canvas as they settle into place, just as they would rest on the beach when carried by waves. I enjoy the element of surprise of not knowing what the final painting is going to look like until it is complete. It is my own version of what I see along Canada’s beautiful coastlines.