After painting exclusively from the model for several years, I suddenly felt compelled to paint a series of Arctic and Antarctic landscapes. When I dream about the high latitudes, as for whatever subconscious reason I do quite often, I see a place bursting with life—whales, seals, birds.

Yet when I came to depict the scenes that so enchanted me, I found myself more interested in capturing something else entirely: a portrait of a vanishing world. Vast ice shelves lie there with all the authority of the thousands of years it took for them to develop, yet they are eroding at an alarming rate because of the impact of humans who have no direct experience of these places. Including me. In these polar paintings I’ve used a deep red ground that only seems paradoxical. It creates depth yet evokes the flat, eerie polar light and engenders a feeling of threatened permanence.