'I started with the two figures, who happen to be my older son and his girlfriend. I’ve painted him many times since he was a baby, but it was the first time I have painted her, and in her face I wanted to get that sense of 15th-century Flemish portraits, the simple, light-filled features, and serene, slightly distant gaze. But when I just had the two figures, it wasn’t enough. I felt bored. Who cares about another painting of a young couple on cleverly painted sheets. The emoji cushions seemed so fantastically foul, and yet visually completely satisfying. It was scary when I plunged in and put that first bit of bright yellow on the canvas. But it rescued the painting. I like the contrast between the emoji expressions and the models’ subtle, human faces. It’s terrible.
My subject matter is all locally sourced, easily accessible material for moulding a world. The author Kate Atkinson said, "Writing for me is quite a plastic form, a kind of mental sculpture … it acquires its character and depth as it goes along." Painting is a bit like that for me, a kind of malleable space that slowly becomes dense and rich and sweet, like a fruit cake.'