Between painting people and landscape, I bring elements of the natural world into the studio to try and hold them in paint in arrangements that resonate: a Still-Life in other words, although I prefer the more french term Nature Morte, which brings to mind the reality of the cycle of life, nature and death that underlies the genre. I returned to painting flowers in 2011 because I had begun using them in a collaborative creative project at North West Hospice. As is traditional in visiting the sick, I bring flowers, using them as a subject for watercolours in a temporary studio on the ward. If appropriate, I engage with patients through the work, sometimes leading to portraits, interiors and sometimes just to flower paintings.
By early 2013, this practice in the Hospice had generated a new energy in my own studio for a new series of Nature Morte paintings. The process had become embedded, and the paintings became ways for me to make remote connection with my own mother, who was terminally ill over a long period: a way of attending her, even if not physically. They are titled by what is in them, but, the Vessels are equal subject: vases, bottles and pots she collected in her life.