Changes in my work began as soon as the mid 80s, and arose from practicality, time, health, location and finances. After finishing the Picker Fellowship at Kingston, Surrey, in 1986, I did take on a large ACME studio in London's Hackney Wick area for a while, but that was the last time I rented a studio; the need to earn a salary meant entering full-time employment, which in turn meant I was paying rent on a studio I didn't have time to use. I had already discovered I preferred working in the privacy of my own domestic environment; during my MA year at Chelsea nearly all my supporting work was made on paper in my flat, so even during that productive period I was only going into the studio to create large canvasses.
When the European touring exhibition Germinations 4 ended in 1988 my works, including Do's and Don'ts (the large 1985 painting shown above, left) were delivered together with works by the other 3 selected British artists to the Royal College of Art for collection. I simply didn't have the wherewithal to collect mine, and so they were abandoned at the RCA. The same fate met a lot of my other large works at the time. It sounds sad, but it was impossible for me to move 8ft canvasses on their stretchers around London, and in fact my interests had already moved on and new work using different media was already underway. I realised if I wanted to keep my work around it had to be portable.
Although my paintings had received great critical acclaim, I always considered my drawing skills to be superior. As a school-girl I worked during the school holidays in my father's architectural studio in our family home alongside a couple of other draughtsmen (that room is now my bedroom). One of Dad's contracts was to prepare drawings for oil-rigs for Redpath Dorman Long (I hope I have that right), and I was given the tasks of filling in the details for handrails, safety barriers and lifts on the rigs, plus roof tiles and stones on plans for houses. I was already using precise Rotring technical pens in art classes at school, the same pens which were used on the architectural plans on Dad's huge drawing boards fitted with articulated rulers which snapped to accurately to position. With these tools it was possible to create incredibly fine cross-hatching and parallel lines.
Travelling into the City on the tube every day, however, was absolute anathema to me and when a job as a graphic artist was advertised in a print shop just a few minutes walk away from where I was living in Belsize Park I jumped at it, and was accepted. Oh, lucky me. I met the Hampstead world of film-makers, actors, artists, poets, authors and psychiatrists, all great out-of-the-box thinkers who welcomed me with open arms. I landed all their commissions for design work and was exposed to so much - people working in series on acetate sheets for film, poets who drew mad things, and expressed philosophical ideas - it was endless. I even worked with the legendary Storm Thorgesson on some of is Pink Floyd artworks. I had just known there was a different world out there beyond art school and a dirty painting studio, and I had walked straight into it. As a result of all this graphic design my early drawing skills were revived, together with a growing interest in line-work for its own sake.
From that point on, it was a question of finding my own voice in drawing. I returned to my first love of Rotring pens, and missing the textures of oil paint, I found ways of recreating texture using only ink pens. My health improved, my sinuses got better (and my nose got smaller!) by avoiding oils and solvents, and similarly the Crohn's eventually came under control together with learning the modern understanding of diet.
My painting sensibilities and skills in colour, light and closely-toned harmonies haven't gone to waste, however. I channelled them into my illustration work when I began working under the pen-name Binky McKee; the two images below are good examples, no longer painted in oils, but created in Procreate on iPad from hand-made textures - much more sinus-friendly.
One day Dad was looking at my new drawings, and said: "why do you draw like that?" He would probably have preferred to see an architectural plan or a drawing of his favourite spaniel. I told him my technique was all his fault because of those oil rig handrails and lift shafts back in the 70s!