"Thought bubbles, as used in comic books, are an excellent and evocative visual device. I often include them in my most recent figurative paintings. I sometimes wish they really existed,(although that could well cause yet even more conflict!) In the comics, I'm not sure I really appreciated the genius of these little text boxes sprouting out of peoples’ heads and faces, making human interactions seem much simpler than they actually are. I use ‘Speech bubbles’ too, but in a more subversive way, in that I do not usually insert what someone is saying in their bubble, rather I write what they are not saying, or I write something in and then scribble it out, or mess it up so it is vague or unclear, and only hints at what was said. Erasing and scribbling out is an act of positive markmaking. I think these defaced and vague communications are so much more like real life. I suppose that somewhere in there is an underlying message about the unreliability of, and fugitive nature of all human communication, but I cannot be too sure about that. Although ‘portraits’ are far too specific, I am fascinated by faces in general. They are all slightly different, yet universal. I look at you, or me in a mirror, and see everyone. I improvise freely during the painting process, and try to allow the painting to suggest my next move. It does actually feel like a process of teasing out, or collaboration rather than a solo performance. It feels like jazz. I am a lifelong amateur musician too, and there are strong similaries between my painting process and the playing of music. My subject and style have varied over many years (for years I painted unpeopled landscapes), but the process of making art, has always been more important to me than the resulting product, which has led me to believe it a biological imperative, rather than a cultural one. I think that doing something to something in order to make something special, is a human behavioural need."