In 1993 Vanessa attended a 9-month programme at Lorenzo De Medici, School of Art, Florence, Italy studying figurative drawing and painting, then continued to live, work and paint in Switzerland until January 1998 when she obtained an 18-month sponsorship to attend The New York Studio School of Drawing Painting and Sculpture. Vanessa then won scholarships from the school to complete the three-year program, including a 4-month exchange in autumn 2000 to the Ecole de Beaux Arte, Marseille, France.
After graduating from the Studio School in spring 2001, she was accepted to take part in the Studioscape Residency Program run by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on the 91st Floor of the North Tower of the Twin Towers. The residency was tragically ended on September 11th, which then forced Vanessa to return to Scotland where she continues her own practise as well as teaching drawing and painting from her studio.
Predominately a painter for many years with my main focus on animals, I have always had a love of sculpture and construction. Gradually moving away from oil painting over the past couple of years my subject matter is still influenced by wildlife but now using a variety of media including wire, plaster, resin, wood and metals.
My work is about the assembly of elements and seeing how they work together, drawing influence from colours and textures within my environment. Sometimes it can be as simple as a piece of wood I find while out for a walk that can trigger an idea for a piece. Light and shadow also play a big part in my process. Starting by making a wire sculpture which I often part cover in plaster I will then go on to make a series of drawings and paintings with light casting shadows from the sculpture before I go on to set the sculpture into resin or plaster. One work evolves into several new artworks. With the various media I use, there can be several different textures within one piece, I hope to encourage the viewer to move in and touch the work and experience these textures.
I am excited by the way my work has evolved over the past few years as I challenge myself by exploring and experimenting with new materials which most recently includes welding. The final result may not always be as I had originally intended however by working this way my creative process is continually developing. The process is just as exciting to me as the final outcome.
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