First thoughts when Ffern approached you about responding to a fragrance, alongside the poem ‘Snow’ by Louis MacNeice which inspired it?
I thought working in response to a fragrance was an interesting challenge, particularly as I am interested in memory, and fragrance is so important to how we form memories. Both the fragrance and the poem by Louis MacNeice evoked very particular atmospheres which I wanted to capture in my piece. I tend to think about atmosphere in colour, so I had quite a strong mental image of the palette I would use before I knew what kind of scene I was going to paint: rosy pinks and hot oranges, contrasted with cool minty greens and icy blues.
How did you approach the painting?
I knew that I wanted to incorporate the imagery of the window in the poem by Louis MacNeice into my painting. I think about windows a lot in my work: as a pictorial device, a barrier between inside and outside, a symbol for freedom and constraint. I also wanted to capture the sensory nature of the poem – the sudden clash of the interior and exterior worlds, one so rich and warm and one so freezing cold, being experienced all at once. I made several pencil and oil sketches in order to find my way to the final composition, testing out different images and colour combinations. I also incorporated fragrance ingredients and imagery from the poem into the patterns for the border around my painting: rosemary, peppermint, flames and orange and bergamot inspired the shapes and colours I used.