Before I discovered Iconography I was completely absorbed by abstraction. I always wanted to express my Christian faith in my art practice and I did this with abstract, colour-field inspired work. I was influenced by Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko in particular and the techniques they used – layering; transparency, and rhythmic mark making – to convey the sublime, beauty, and stillness.

For a while I experimented with textiles, hand spinning and hand-weaving, enjoying the tactility of the materials. The slowness and repetition of the traditional processes was beguiling. When I found my painting returning to abstract again I started to think more about conveying meaning and not just emotion. I was experimenting with techniques of layering paint, using repetition and textural mark-making, and exploring colour relationships, creating shallow depths of field and maintaining surface tension.

The approach had its limits and although the results had a spiritual quality to them, and were visually pleasing, the works fell short of carrying meaning beyond a certain depth. I could feel the limitations in my abstract approach and I started to find more richness and complexity in Icons.