Responding to a student questionnaire, the artist wrote: “I listen to music as I paint: I love the musical space as it breathes and floats. At times the equivalent can be rather like painting on the sky or on water, keeping company with Sibelius and Ligeti, or inspired by the sublime music of Schubert and my beloved Bruckner. Sailing above the musical thing is the release of colour – which is a passion. The primacy of colour is everything to me in painting, and that is what I respond to in recent art history, the works of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Bonnard, Matisse, Miro and the Americans. I remember looking at Rothko when I was a student. I’d never seen anything so wonderful. As someone said, the paintings appear to be lit from within.
"I find places of pilgrimage and worship very powerful, no matter what the reason for their existence. Equally, as with other painters, I am fascinated by Memento Mori. Of course death can also be celebrated as in the wonderful Festival of the Dead in Mexico.
"A childhood passion for the work of Francisco Goya and a parallel fascination and horror of the Spanish inquisition has never left me. The plight of the victims reverberates through history into our own times. Death in all its forms remains much the same.
"There are things that I celebrate simply because they are what they are; glorious in their own right. Prayer rugs and prayer flags, the Pacific Ocean, so familiar from my childhood in Tasmania. Tribal art, the vast Australian landscape, much of it scorched by the elements, or the fascination of other landscapes destroyed by retreating armies. And all those Cerberus-like guardian figures from myths and legends."