My practice is informed by my experience of movement through multiple environments. By recording fragments of my journeys through drawing, both in real time and from memory and photography explore a personal vision of this experience. I build collages from my imagery as source material for paintings in order to create new and impossible landscapes. I hope to convey a sense of continuance and a personal intimacy of the experiences in these paintings.

Through these impossible landscapes, I explore the landscape in motion and my sense of this being one of the most common landscape experiences in modern society. Using my own perceived understanding of this experience I aim to represent this juxtaposed reality, an environmental reality, which is dystopian and encapsulates my own personal experience of travel and place.


When I first started this project my dissertation was still fresh in my mind, I was really interested in the subject of landscapes. I began by picking out the landscapes which I have recorded throughout my life, the Snowdonia mountains became the most interesting to me so I began there. As the work progressed I began to question how I could portray a modernised landscape, I thought about how in modern society we most see the landscape. The many road trips me and my boyfriend have been on inspired me to think about the landscape seen through a car. Specifically, the trips going from my home county of Shropshire to my university City of Cardiff. The trip is long and takes you through rural hills, I was thinking about how the car window abstracts your view of the landscape and you only see just fragments of these landscapes as the car travels. I made many sketches and took lots of photographs which were showing static images, these images helped me to move on with this project.

[1]  Drawings    &     Drawings

I realised I was being too controlled and struggled to ‘loosen up’ when painting. I knew I wanted to make a landscape which portrays many scenes, not just one static image. After consulting my tutors, I made the decision to create collages from the images I had been doing along with cut outs. It was a really fun part of the project and allowed me to not overthink the process too much and just do as I felt. I made the decision to paint with oils from these subsequent collages which created a juxtaposition of scenes, motifs and just general experimentation.  I wanted to use oils because it was still quite early on in the term and I wanted to try it out and hopefully expand my knowledge of paint in general, because of oil paints intensity of colour it inspired me to think more abstractly about my colour choices.

[2]  Collages

The oil painted landscapes I was creating were experimental and focussed mainly on colour and form, they are surreal and dreamy which was something I wanted to portray as the landscape seen through a car window is continuous and abstract. Using my drawings and photographs I was piecing together a landscape which conveys many trips and feelings I felt whilst travelling. By this, I have shown my feelings through intuitive colour choices which are often bright and joyous.

As this progressed it was time to think carefully about the degree show and what exactly I wanted to present for it. I decided to order 6 wooden boards, I wanted to use wooden boards as I felt it was the best foundation to use for mixed media. I chose to use 6 because I wanted an even number and because of the time I was given to finish it felt doable, I wanted these boards to sit side by side and show an elongated surreal landscape portrayal. I also decided that acrylic would be the best medium to use because my skill with oil was not as strong, and I didn’t want drying time to alter my work. I thought about what motifs I wanted to portray on these boards and which figurations seemed most important to me, the ongoing hilly landscape was something which I wanted to carry on throughout these boards. I wanted these boards to act as a series so on some there is an ongoing theme of telephone poles and foliage seen as I am taking these trips.

As I was painting these boards, I decided to create 3 daytime landscapes and 3 nighttime landscapes. This helped me to differentiate the boards and show how the landscape changes as your vision changes in the darker hours. I was struggling to create something I enjoyed looking at and decided it was time to take a trip home for inspiration, this really helped as I was able to confront the feelings of ‘going home’. I was looking around at home and I pinpointed imagery which stands out most to me about home, my dad’s iconic blue shed became a point of interest to me along with my mum’s abundant pots in the garden. I was thinking about how I could incorporate imagery of home within these landscapes, I thought about how I could use my imaginations of home alongside the actual landscapes. By combining the percieved and the imagined I was now creating more abstracted portrayals of landscapes which show the multiple visions, through the car passenger window and through the eye of the mind. This led me to feel more confident with what was going on my boards and gave me a fresh idea, from doing drawings and taking photographs I was able to incorporate these onto my boards.

[3]  Imaginations of home

As the degree show was built and I was given my space after doing all of the jobs to make sure the space was clean and tidy and ready for my work, I began putting up the wall cleats for my boards. I wanted to use cleats as they are strong and give the painting a slight elevation from the wall, this helped introduce a dreamy and surreal experience when walking through the show. I was wondering how I could enhance this further, I noticed that the elevation from the wall gave a shadow from the board itself. I experimented with facing my paintings towards the wall to see if the colours could reflect onto the wall behind, cadmium yellow was the strongest and gave a warm glow and I knew that this was what I wanted for the show experience. I painted the back of my boards yellow and concentrated on the actual putting up stage of the degree show.

[4]  Back of boards

Initially, I wanted my boards to sit flush side by side, butted together to create an ongoing continuous landscape. After doing this, I realised that the wood had warped slightly even after I had made frames for the back. As frustrating as this was, it made me rethink the amount of gap space I wanted in between each board. I decided a small gap would be best and the most unnoticeable, this also led me to notice the edges of the boards which I had neglected. I thought about how I could hide the messy and scruffy edges, because of the intensity of colour I decided a muted light grey would look the best. This really did make a difference, they began to look more professional and I actually preferred the small gap decision.

[5]  Final show 


[1] Peter Doig creating dreamy and surreal landscapes, experimental and evoking inspiration for the start of the project.

[2] Gillian Ayres exhibition being confronted with large scale abstracted paintings inspired me to think about the exhibition set up.

[3] Gerhard Richter keeping my photographs and drawings in order, so they are in categories/chronological order and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

[4] Barbara Rae abstraction of colour, inspiring me to enhance my colour choices.

[5] Jonathon Casella thinking about the presentation of the boards for the show, the shadows and reflections.



“It is true that imagination lies at the heart of our existence. So much so that we would not be human without it.”     Richard Kearney (1998)

As my project moves forward I realise that I am focusing on the imaginary as well as the perceptual, I am combining the two to create collaged landscapes which hold subconscious imagery as well as figurative imagery. By looking through the eye of the mind we are able to see our imaginations, this concept of imagination has played a key role in my landscape portrayal. My creativity has been a result of collecting items and imagery through my own experiences of travelling through the landscapes and juxtapositioning these elements alongside actual representations of the landscapes. This creates contrast and comparisons throughout the landscape, as it is a large body of work the viewer can take the time to question it. By including imaginations and memories within my work, it becomes more than just a landscape. It becomes a personal journey in which I take in my adult life, from moving out from my parents in the countryside to becoming my own person in the city. This concept of creating impossible landscapes through the use of my imagination has altered my overall aesthetic of painting, this is for the better as I am now conveying altered and impossible landscapes which explore my personal intimacy of experience.

“Every individual imagination is charged accordingly by the symbols of society which surround it – as it, in turn, recharges these symbols with its own creativity”  – Richard Kearney (1998)

What role does memory play in art?

  • Using memory in art , creates impossibilities
  • fabricates the truth, allows you to play around with your imaginations and memories
  • memories and imaginations run high when travelling in a car. I’ve always told myself to never fall asleep in the car, anything outside of the window can inspire you.
  • Salvador Dali /

“The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.[15]Since imagination involves many different brain functions, such as emotions, memory, thoughts, etc., portions of the brain where multiple functions occur—such as the thalamus and neocortex—are the main regions where imaginative processing has been documented.[16] The understanding of how memory and imagination are linked in the brain, paves the way to better understand one’s ability to link significant past experiences with their imagination.”

[40] Gerhard Richter – Atlas

In Gerhard Richters ‘Atlas’ series we are shown a tremendous archive of various pictures since the moment of his creative breakthrough in 1962. From snapshots to magazine cut out’s, Richter has acquired these images as they have caught his eye or through means of inspiration. The archive holds over five thousand photographs which portray his life at that moment in time and subjects he relates to, whether it by kitschy tourist New York cityscapes, bad family portraits or romantic sunsets expressing all aspects of nature.

“The Atlas comprises over five thousand photographs, drawings, diagrams and proposals which constitute the foundations of Richter’s practise as an artist.”  – Iwona Blazwick 2003

Gerhard’s archive shown in a grid format presents to us his ideas, processes, life and times of the artist himself in sections with the occasional diagram or plan of how the artist himself see’s these images in a studio space. An intimate perspective on the artist’s thoughts and what inspires him as an individual. Often these collected images acted as a basis for a subsequent painting, a painting which holds more truth and is illogical as opposed to the static photograph. It is clear from this series that the collection and preservation of these images is an important part of Richter’s artistic strategy. An example of this is ‘Parkstück’ 1971, based on panel 155. The relationship between panel and painting is clear, his use of abstraction in his brushstrokes conveys truthful movement within nature.

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Gerhard Richter ‘Parkstuck’ (1971)
Gerhard Richter ‘Atlas’ [panel 155 – parkscapes]

“He looked to photography for a way to release painting from the political and symbolic burdens of Socialist Realism and Abstract Expressionism.” – Helmut Friedel

Below are images of selected pages from Richter’s ‘Atlas’. Natural landscapes alongside man-made landscapes.

This inspired me to archive my photographs and drawings which have accompanied me throughout this project, it has been really helpful as all the imagery is set out in sections/categories and is all in chronological order. Below I have inserted photos of my version of ‘Atlas’;

atlas 1

atlas 2

atlas 3


atlas 5

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[39] Basil Beattie

I wanted to include Basil Beattie’s large gestural abstract paintings as a reference for my work because I feel his use of colour and line could correlate with my own work. The below image of his abstract painting named ‘Magic City’ makes me think that he has used his abstract style to create a cityscape which is impossible and uncontrolled. Similarly to my landscapes, he has used block colours which could be large scale buildings found in a city. His thick black lines mimicking triangle and circles are repeated which could be a representation of repeated buildings found in a City. The minimal use of colours and blank areas shows an exploration of space and forms which evolve around the painting.

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Basil Beattie “Magic City” 1987

This painting caught my eye because of the technique in which the paint has been used, the scraping effect is really effective as it gives a sense of movement. The colours are organic making me think that this piece is based on natural forms, the black paint isn’t too bold giving the shape more of a three-dimensional effect. The shapes had been repeated and stacked on top of each other, giving a growing sense.

“The work was like ‘nature’ not so much in appearance but in the manner by which it was made, where gravity and the consistencies of paint were fundamental in the forming of the image.”

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Basil Beattie “Witness V” Oil and wax on canvas (1992)

The last two paintings are made much later than the others, the use of colour and lines are really exciting and boost vibrancy. The colours contrast each other creating a sense of depth, the squiggly lines he has adopted in these paintings give a feel of an unrestricted freedom whilst painting.  This is a technique I wish to adopt whilst creating my more natural representations on my boards, to promote a more uncontrolled use of paint.

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Basil Beattie “Untitled (detail)” 2011


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Basil Beattie





[38] Gillian Ayres

Today I visited Cardiff National museum, from the 8th April – 3rd March there is an exhibition celebrating the works of abstract artist Gillian Ayres. The show presents some of Ayres more privet works and more well-known pieces as a pinoneer of abstract expressionism. The exhibition focuses on her relationship with Wales through her career as a painter from the 1950s to the 1080s.



Gillian Ayres “Cumili” 1959





Gillian Ayres “Lure” 1963


“Across this period Ayres was a regular visitor to Wales and her experience of the mountains of Wales had a powerful influence on her expression of the ‘abstract sublime’. This connection to Wales was strengthened when Ayres lived and worked on the Llŷn Peninsula between 1981 and 1987. This period coincided with a particularly productive phase in her career which will be explored in this exhibition.” 

Cardiff National Museum

Her technique whilst painting includes pouring paint on canvas straight from the tube, scraping and mixing colours and generally using paint in a liberal manner. This expressive exploration of colour and space is widely recognisable in her large-scale abstract paintings.

I decided to add her as a reference for my own work because even though our styles differ as my own is a lot more controlled, there are similarities in her use of colour being vibrant and abstracted and the shapes she paints. I also wanted to include this reference because Ayres responds to her feelings and emotions associated with place through her strong use of paint onto the canvas. As you start to depict Ayres large-scale abstract paintings you can see suggestive forms which could be more figurative natural forms, such as flowers and organic shapes like circles. Ayres titles her paintings after they are finished, this allows her to fully understand what she is painting before having any biased opinion when she starts.

Some sneaky photos I managed to take at the exhibition;

her use of studio/ground work done prior to creating a painting has similarities with my ground work made at the start of my project, she makes sketches out of oil pastels and also does collages which outline the shape.



the paintings are a reference for my own use of colour and expressive use of paint.


[37] Keith Tyson

Tyson works on different pieces simultaneously

He uses a very gestural practice and keeps a diary of ideas and thoughts which would turn into drawings around his studio, eventually transforming into a painting.

His cloud series may seem whimsical but when looked at closer we can see that the clouds hold historical significance, for example; the clouds above the twin towers on 9/11. Clouds are always there, but human force creates clouds as well as nature.

“Cloud Choreography: Clouds in your Coffee” (2009) Mixed media on aluminium, 122 cm diameter

Cloud Choreography: Time Travelling With the Clouds (72 paintings of clouds that floated above significant events in history) 2009 Oil on aluminium, 198 x 382 cm

In his nature paintings, Tyson uses sheets of aluminium and certain chemicals which hold hydrophobic effects. So they react differently dependent on gravity, air, water ect.. Meaning the artist has very little control of the paintings final image. So they aren’t artworks of nature but nature itself creates the art.

‘Nature painting’ (2015) mixed media on aluminium