Small works are a counterbalance to large works – in that the process of working is completely different. My larger works (mostly derived from “real” sources such as landscapes and seascapes) have to be initially drawn on the spot, coloured and then scaled up in the studio. The scaling up is a test, causing you to go from “live” sketches and photographs to larger preparatory drawings and compositions – these larger drawings are where the “tightness” of the composition often fails. The colour relationships have to be spot on, seemingly instinctive, and, for me at least, must come directly from the source material. Each colour represents an object, view, or shape encountered on the journey – they are seldom realistic. Classical music or opera is the only accompaniment – as any other music alters the tempo at which I paint.
Small works on the other hand are faster and I can listen to jazz when I make them. The source material is randomly selected, often coming from cut out images collected over a period of time. I choose these images merely because I like them – I have no idea what they may be used for and store them for future reference – accessing them as the work evolves. The subject matter may be equally random, often coming from text, words or phrases. I limit myself to the number of images used, a maximum of ten and a minimum of two. I push the images around on a blank piece of paper, to test the composition, and then begin.