I am a visual artist, writer, book coach and artist mentor based in the Orkney islands and working internationally.

Originally trained as a tapestry weaver, my practice has developed over thirty years though writing, drawing, installation, video and permanent works in the public realm, an evolving alchemy of art, science and contemplative practice.

My current work is focused on drawing and painting, shaped by Orkney’s deeply layered human histories and its dynamic natural environment of wind, sky and particularly water.

Inspired by James Joyce’s claim that in the particular is contained the universal, my work invites a recalibration towards slowness, stillness and attentiveness, proposing these as a means to connect us more deeply to our own awareness and our place, and sensitise us to the web of interdependency and water-borne kinship that supports us.

Water permeates everything. We all move between varying degrees of wetness in a world of water: sea, lake, stream, aquifer, cloud, mist, rain, fog, vapour, tears, sweat, piss, in a liquid reality that interpenetrates our own bodies and minds. Water is the element most visibly disrupted by the climate and environmental crisis. Increasing floods and persistent droughts, pollution, over-extraction, ocean acidification and melting glaciers all bring into question our exploitative relationship with this most vital of elements.

In contrast to the quick mutability of water, my drawing process is a slow and meditative practice that results in intricate forms resembling sea foam, cloud forms or wave patterns. Mark-making takes the brief moment of the hand’s movement and holds it still, recorded in the mark that remains. The slow, repetitive method I employ makes each drawing a receptacle of time, a net that gathers up these moments so they are visible in a single instant that shows the timespan of the drawing’s own making.

I often use reflective and iridescent media such as silver leaf and chrome ink in combination with acrylic and gouache to build up surfaces that change, as water does, with each shift of light and angle of view.

The counterintuitive truth that Joyce expresses is that by going deep into our own experience we are able to meet others in theirs. If water can be understood as the connective tissue of the natural world, art can be seen as the connective tissue of the human spirit. By connecting us more deeply to ourselves, and to each other across time and space, art helps us realise how much we share with each other and the natural world we’re all immersed in.

This then, is the paradoxical aspiration of a practice that is quiet, repetitive, often solitary, that bears the hallmarks of an introvert nature, and that responds to an island location many would consider ‘remote’: to connect.


Previous exhibitions include the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (2022), Devonport Regional Art Gallery, Australia (2015), Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2011), Kunstnerneshus Oslo, Norway (2010), CAST, Tasmania (2007), Kasakadenkondensator, Basel (2005) and West Space, Melbourne (2001). Residencies include Banff Center for the Arts (2021), Cove Park (2020), Wysing Arts (2005), IAAB Basel (2004), Tasmanian School of Art at Hobart (2000), Grizedale Arts (2000), Oxford University and the British School at Rome (1999). Public art commissions include The Balfour Hospital (2019), Great Ormond Street Hospital (2005), Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (2005) and Auchterarder High School (2004). My work has been supported by The Scottish Arts Council, The National Library of Scotland, The Royal Scottish Academy, The British Council, The Carnegie Trust, and The Royal Society for the Arts. My first book, ‘The Clearing,’ was published by Little, Brown in March 2020. Public collections include the Royal Scottish Academy, National Library of Scotland, University College London, NHS Lothians, NHS Orkney.