Ice Mountain II, 2016. WI, USA. Oil on canvas 140 x 120cm

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Ramadan, 2015. Cairo's Abdin Palace, Egypt. Oil on canvas 138x184cm

The rising tide of hostile stereotyping of Islam following terrorist acts committed by Muslim extremists could be seen to cast an uneasy shadow over the veiled characters in the painting. Despite the use of bitumen, a viscous, shiny black tar like liquid, to paint the women's chadors (full-body cloaks), no sinister undertone is intended.

Ramadan takes its name from the sacred month in the Muslim calendar that is observed with dawn to dusk fasting. The setting is the plaza in front of Cairo's Abdin Palace, where women gather to worship on colourful carpets, in early morning light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Lagoon III in nine stages

     
     
     
     
     
 

 

 

Blue Lagoon III, 2015. Vang Vieng, Laos. Oil on canvas 150cm x 185.5cm 

Blue Lagoon takes its name from a traveller hangout in Laos, Asia. Once known for backpacker debauchery; at its peak, more than 400 people a day would use lorry tyre inner tubes to float down the Nam Song river and take ill-advised risks on makeshift swings, slides and zip lines. In 2011, after twenty-seven tourists tragically died while partying on the river, the Lao government stepped in to close the illegal bars that had lined the river and fuelled the partying. 

Today the scene is less hedonistic and far more tranquil; Blue Lagoon III is one of a series of paintings that explores the theme of backpackers engaged in recreational activities among the natural beauty of Asia.

While drawings undertaken on location in 2004 were useful, the composition for the painting was based on found imagery. Magazine cuttings and pictures from the Internet were used to make a digital collage using Photoshop, which was projected onto canvas. The main challenge was achieving the right balance between representation and abstraction. The painting has an unworldly feel yet also aims to maintain a believable sense of atmospheric perspective.

  

  

 

 

  

 

 

Preparatory drawing 2016