Miriam McClay

It’s sometimes elusive, but balance is fundamental to what I do. I am a mum of 2 and a full-time art teacher in a secondary school with Arts College status. The spaces I find to do my own art are precious but, as my children grow, the time available to me to make art is growing too. I have been teaching for 16 years and now more than ever I want to develop my own practice.

I seem to be drawn to the landscape more and more, but my response is not a detailed record of what I see as time is not always readily available to go out sketching. And so my landscapes are remembered, suggested, recalled abstractions.

At the start of the process it is important for me to just play with materials, dissolve the connections of prior knowledge (if that is at all possible) and experiment, applying a more visceral approach. A starting point of the work might be a chaotic action painting or a random explosion of marks and textures created through monoprinting. As I work with the results the ‘instant’ gives way to a search to find a more considered and harmonious composition and it is at this point that my work seems to naturally guide itself towards landscape. Creating an outcome that can sustain the viewer’s interest is a priority and indeed a direct contrast to the earlier ‘letting go’ approach. I enjoy layering different techniques and materials together with the intention of both adding richness to the work and providing a foil for the vitality of the early marks.

It is important to me to explore my ideas across a range of techniques including painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, felting and textile work. This seems to create an environment where one technique informs the other in a kind of art symbiosis.

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