Cranston is a storyteller of sorts, without a clear story to tell. He draws on a variety of sources, in particular his own personal history; questioning the veracity of memory. This autobiographical activity is combined with passages culled from literature, anecdotes and jokes, second hand accounts, images from cinema and observations of life. Cranston often works directly onto hardback book covers, all bought from the great Glasgow bookshop, Voltaire and Rousseau. The format of the books connects the paintings to literature and storytelling, which Cranston sees as a universal impulse and need beyond art. It is important that they are second hand books with a history, a patina of activities, faded, and stained. His work is not pre-conceived but emerges through the manipulation of materials - paint, varnish, collage - and the suggestions that this activity provokes, layering and re-working the images until something essential coalesces. Drifting between the conscious and unconscious - images and motifs recur and echo throughout the work. As Liza Dimbleby has written in a recent essay "the images that are encouraged to surface are sometimes taboo; sex and solitude, death, nightmares - the ultimate questions, not without a sly humour"