I have always been an artist and a storyteller. I tell my stories through my paintings, using a cast of characters that I have created and letting them run wild across imaginary scenarios and landscapes.

 

Using colour and symbolism, my paintings tell stories that are optimistic and inviting – although some of my works most definitely have a darker side.

 

I draw for inspiration on quite a broad range of contemporary socio-political themes. I’m hugely moved by themes such as the destruction of the environment, animal welfare, isolation, social alienation and alcoholism.

 

I’m also drawn to the afterlife and the journey of the soul, and am equally inspired by mythology and folklore.

 

And it’s not just the human journey that interests me. I’m also thoroughly absorbed by the animals that accompany us along the way, and they feature largely in my work.

 

Animals represent a sort of primeval purity, each signifying some admirable strength or desirable virtue. I admire the deer for his fragile agility, the lion for his restrained strength, and the dog for his loyalty and friendship.

 

I have always been comfortable around animals and my house is home to more pets than humans. They live in the moment and are more in harmony with nature than their so-called owners. I find endless inspiration in how they grace our world with such serenity, such loyalty and such unerring ability to pick me up when I’m down.

 

I paint using loose, oily layers, and I scrape off as much paint as I apply. A key part of my process is to choose what to keep and what to erase. I also welcome the accidental - and I love to exploit the random.

 

I look upon painting as a spiritual rather than just a worldly activity. Cool, spiritual blue always finds its place beside burnt umber or orange. The colours love each other.

 

My work is abstract expressionist and my influences are Van Gogh, Gauguin, Wassily Kandinsky, Edvard Munch, Saud Al Altar and Jean-Michel Basquait.

 

I paint from my studio in an old and characterful house, and find it has a very positive effect on my work. I imagine the stories and secrets the house could tell - and the imprints left behind. I try to capture these – along with my own childhood stories – and give them a new life on canvas.

 

I am constantly motivated to achieve a synthesis of thought, feeling, intuition and logic in my work - and to ultimately tell stories that can stand the test of time and the test of true integrity.

© Erika McColl 2018