Graham McBride

My background

Change has been a dominant theme of my life. I was born in Cairns tropical north Queensland Australia but spent my growing up years in the dry, hot and dusty western plains. Entered the workforce, I trained as a metal tradesman working in sugar milling factories on the coast before studying Science and Engineering, working as an applied scientist both in university and co-founding a new technology business. Sometime later I undertook academic research studies on theories and concepts of how environments establish and change. This seems like a complex way to come to painting, but actually I painted and drew for years as a hobby before having the pleasure in allowing it to evolve into a larger part of my life.

My influences and Inspiration

Events or moments would probably say more about what my paintings are about, than anything else. I am intrigued by events or moments that evoke or create change, whether they are by nature or by human instigation. Exploring and pondering, heightens my consciousness and awareness, enabling me to see and understand things in different lights or emphasis.

Painting is a medium I use to capture, express and connect with the world I see around me. More often than not it is my feelings for nature which inspires me, and in my explorations I find myself drawn to expressing particular images depicting ‘tipping point’ moments between order and chaos. Landscape, but more particular trees can be a common motif in my works. It is how trees indicate, express and symbolise place and space that attracts me. I am also equally attracted by their essential fluidity and solidity. Underneath everything is a deep concern about our human relationship to nature, and in Australia to the disconnection with the indigenous peoples who were displaced by European colonisation. I hope this comes out in  my work. I feel that having grown up experiencing the extreme weather conditions of north and western Queensland quite significantly shapes my work.

Travel has been and is a great source of inspiration and stimulation for me, and the variety of settings of my works are indicative of this.

My painting methods

Immersing myself in the act of painting with all its potential, uncertainty, challenges and tactility is an important constant in my life. Balancing colour and masses within my essentially expressionistic style are probably the dominant elements.  The practice of painting can sometimes be like an explosion of energy that seems to bypass normal consciousness; while other times images will slowly evolve through exploration until they come to a resolution or completion. The results can thus vary between being very abstract through to semi-figurative and even to being quite figurative. Hence I don’t like to be too troubled by the variety of style, technique or method I use to paint-I paint in a pace or style and media that seems appropriate at the time using oils, acrylic or mixed media. My training has been through selectively choosing concentrated courses at art schools both in Australia and Britain.

I currently live and work in London.