When did you first become interested in painting?
I’ve drawn and painted all of my life. My mother was a great influence. I think she was a frustrated artist because she had to leave art school when her father went bankrupt.
Did you always know you would become an artist or did you have other ideas?
I knew I wanted to be an artist, but my parents said it was too risky, and so I trained as a nurse at Guy’s hospital. And then I went to art school for a year in Salisbury.
Are you a full time artists and if so, how do you manage your time?
I’m virtually full time as an artist now, although I do work as a receptionist one day a week, but I call that my hobby! I struggle with managing my time. I’m easily distracted. I wrote a blog about this. Writing that made me realise I needed to ditch the paid job, but I liked it so I compromised and kept one day.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everything I see is inspiration. The world, particularly the natural world, can be such a visual feast, can’t it. I suppose family life too is an inspiration. And of course family pets.
How did your interest in garden and allotment and life on the beach develop?
It’s always been there. I try to draw a lot so the things you see and draw help you develop.
You have a very distinctive style, have you always worked in this way?
I suppose I must have. I can’t bring myself to let go of certain principles so that fixes my style. I do alter the way I work occasionally making it less or more detailed and change the mood of colours but…
Are you influenced by any famous artists, if so who are they?
I visited a Van Gogh exhibition at the Haywood Gallery years ago and that made me see the value of drawing. I remember vividly The Potato Eaters, and the way they held their hands. My favourite modern painter is Nicholas Verrall, and he paints the way I would like to paint. I particularly like the way he handles light.
Could you please describe the practical process you go through when making a painting?
I usually start from a drawing I’ve done, or possibly a photo. I plan it in black and white, and then draw it on the canvas which I’ve usually painted a colour which will show up the mains colours of the painting. Then I just get on with it, blocking in the main shapes checking colour and tone and line along the way. I try not to fuss too much, and finish before it’s finished if you see what I mean. It’s left hanging around for a while and then if it looks OK a week or so later it’s finished and I sign it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up at 7.00 to the sound of Radio 5 Live. Cup of tea, and get up. Wear painting clothes! After breakfast I go straight to the studio and try not to think of anything else besides painting. I will paint until about 1pm. I rarely paint after that because for some reason what I do after lunch time is never as good as what I do beforehand. I change my clothes and in the afternoon I will do all the other stuff, keeping up with my internet presence, getting artwork ready for shipping, writing a blog, doing the paperwork, and of course a bit of domestic drudgery. I stop at 6.00 if not earlier. I might do an hour on the computer later on , but leave a computer free buffer before bed.