Millie Davies


I am mostly lead by the medium rather than an initial concept and this often means that the outcome of the work is undetermined. Of course, there are thoughts behind my work before I begin a piece, but it is very important for my process, that I do not dwell too much or over anticipate how a painting might turn out. My secondary school art teacher once told us not to panic when starting a painting and to just “cover the white!” of the canvas, so not to be too precious, which I always bear in mind! I also like to make sure I’m in the right mindset before working on a piece, otherwise I usually don't create what I’d like and try not to be overly critical with my paintings!

I am very interested in the relationship between mindset and environment. I am influenced by the environment of where I come from, The Lake District, and often base my colour palette around the landscape. I find making landscape-based paintings of an environment in which I am separated an interesting concept; and I like to consider how it might affect the work, given the change in setting. I’m also very inspired by the natural textures in every-day environment. I often try to recreate a decaying wall, or something rusting! I find how materials decompose really fascinating and that filters into my practice. I nearly always paint on wood. Then I use plaster for texture, a mixture of emulsion, acrylic and oil paint.

As well as being influenced by environment, I focus on decay and giving materials a kind of agency. In every painting I like the materials to have rejected, merged or dripped on their own, which I believe makes the piece almost less “affected” by brushstrokes or human hand. As a result, a piece becomes a kind of depiction of materials reacting with one another on a fixed surface.

Goldsmiths has enabled me to have more confidence in my practice, so as a result of this, I have been able to really throw myself into painting as a medium and have fun with it. I suppose the scale and ambition of my paintings is something that has changed. I would always like the opportunity to collaborate. It would be nice to get people together painting or just throwing materials around! I would like to do something perhaps away from a gallery environment or “goal”, creating disposable works which are more about the act of creating than the finished result.

I am hoping to create three large-scale textured paintings but it’s hard to envisage at this moment in time. I am planning to spend a bit of time within different landscapes and really think about what it means to be physically present within them, and this should inform the work.