Art with words

For some years I have incorporated the act of writing into my artworks. I say `act’ because the text is very much a product of the movement of my own hand on paper, on canvas, and in concrete, wood and stone.

I use ink a lot. I have worn out my much-loved Parker fountain pen, through several repairs, and now unrepairable! (am seeking another!) I use sticks, fingers, strips of cardboard, home-made quills, old-fashioned nibs … whatever can make a mark that is interesting, intriguing, and communicates a feeling, an idea.

Three Drawings

` Written on the body' Three drawings

And why text?

Because the written word is so much an expression of our humanity. We make marks to tell others who we are. From the simple scratchings of early humans to the sophisticated designs of illuminated manuscripts, the pictogram words of Chinese, and the extraordinary abstracted designs of Arabic carved plaster, writing is universal in its themes, yet deeply personal and idiosyncratic in its execution.


I have discovered the fragile, translucent beauty of Unryushi paper (a fibrous mulberry paper from Japan), and use that often, with inks and washes. In my artworks I use text/script as the main element to build a design, so that the text is largely illegible, but creates the composition, and suggests meaning.

`Monday 24th.'

What do I write?

The poetry of Emily Dickinson, a diary of my days, political thoughts and musings, stream-of-consciousness . . .

`Thoughts, strained before pouring'

Now, I add colour to create paintings, carve in wood and stone, incorporate other materials, like glass and papier mache. In this age of digitisation and the keyboard, for me, writing with the hand is a necessary expression of who I am.

Painting `Pondlife' 'Pondlife`

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