1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
An artist, maybe one day… I was discouraged from envisaging art as a career, so I thought I’d have to find another job and see art as a hobby.
2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
From when I could first hold a pencil – it was always my innermost wish.
3. Were you good at art at school?
I was the ‘good drawer’ at junior school – other children would ask me to draw things for them.
4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
I remember being fascinated by the watercolours of old Mansfield by A.S. Buxton, in the town museum. The first art gallery I visited would have been in Nottingham Castle – which has a fine collection of paintings, including contemporary works. In 1971, I remember going to see Bridget Riley at The Hayward Gallery – the gallery attendants wore sunglasses!
5. Which artists do you most admire?
Lots: John Singer Sargent and William Nicholson for sheer mastery of oils; Joan Eardly for atmosphere; Barbara Rae for poetry of composition; Joan Mitchell for grace; Edouard Vuillard for narrative content; David Hockney for honesty and draughtsmanship; Anselm Kiefer for scale and drama; Cecily Brown for female perspective. And many more.
6. Which talent of theirs do you covet?
A talent for determination, for putting their work out there.
7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Can I have a sculpture? The Javelin Thrower in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. If it has to be a painting, then one of Winnifred Nicholson’s delightfully capricious cottage windows.
8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
John Piper, Tate Liverpool. Lightness of touch.
9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work? If so, in what way?
The hedgerows and meadows I first began painting outdoors in Nottinghamshire. They are familiar.
10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
To begin with, the Tatra Mountains, Poland, in snow.
11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others? Is there a reason why?
Hooker’s green and Prussian blue. They give a powerful depth for vegetation.
13. How often do you produce a new picture, on average?
Depends on size. About once a week, minimum, sometimes daily.
14. What’s your studio like?
My current one is sadly too small. Crammed with canvases and rags.
15. How do you relax?
Making new canvases, with a glass of wine.
16. What’s your most treasured possession?
A box of gifts my children made for me.
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
Not really art related, but 40,000 years ago somewhere in Europe to meet a Neanderthal. If you want an art-related response: Bloomsbury, early 20th century.
19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
To make a series of large pieces, a whole room lined with hedgerows and meadows, with natural daylight bulbs and recorded birdsong. Viewers would have to take their shoes off. Talking would be prohibited.
20. How would you like to be remembered?
Briefly, with fondness.