Growing up on the East Coast of Scotland, with a keen interest in history, storytelling and her own family’s heritage, Gillian creates drawings and paintings to explore connections with the people who have come before and the land that inspires her. The places in Gillian’s paintings are reminiscent of things she has seen and are often an abstracted essence of areas that inspire and are partly imagined.
“I have found a deep connection with the place where I live and work. The edge between land and sea is particularly inspiring and there are themes that resonate deeply. The way the weather has shaped the land, the ebb and flow of the tide, the wildness and unpredictability of nature or the mark of humanity on the landscape for good or bad. The colours and textures of a place can be a starting point for creating work that is truly a story of humanity’s unique connection with our surroundings. One that can be explored in an intuitive way and echo our own unique nature as much as the nature and landscape that I see.
I love the details that we see in a landscape. Particularly where houses and villages and harbours are rooted in and belong to the surrounding hills and coastline. Built in such a way that they appear to have always been there. Structures and shapes that mark the edges between land and sea. There is a sense of history, perhaps a melancholic way of reminding us of what has long since passed, what we have lost in many ways.”
Gillian’s work layers of muted colours and textured paint to build up on her surfaces the same way she feels memories accumulate from the past and over our lifetime.
Her work touches on a history, half remembered, stories told and adapted over time. Gillian often feels that rather than painting or drawing on a surface she is excavating an image, a person or a place, revealing something that has been there for a long time. Her process is one of applying layers and scraping or erasing away, leaving something that is built up and removed until the final image appears.