1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
A Welsh Guard – my dad had done his National Service with them and I liked the red coats and bearskins. That, or Dr Who.

2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
When I was a teenager I wanted to be in a famous punk band. I did a foundation art course to fill the time. When the band didn’t make it and I didn’t get into art school I did lots of jobs like repairing steam engines and building site work, but almost without thinking I drew all the time. It kept me sane.

3. Were you good at art at school?
Not as good as my brother.

4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
On foundation we went to see a Surrealist exhibition at the Royal Academy and I thought Salvador Dalí was great. We also saw an Abstract Expressionist show which I hated. Now I don’t like either.

5. Which artist do you most admire?
Can I have two? Rembrandt and Picasso. Both huge innovators with oil paint as well as with their imagery.

6. Which talent of theirs do you covet?

7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Rubens’ full size oil sketch for Descent from the Cross. Not only is it one of the best compositions in the history of art, but in it he uses all of the skill he once used studying dimply, naked female flesh, to portray the effects of crucifixion on a body; there is rigor mortis setting in to one of Jesus’s arms, dried blood on his wounds and his face has a deathly blue grey pallor.

8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
Bill Viola’s video installation Martyrs in St Paul’s Cathedral. It is both visually and emotionally quite visceral in its effect. In some ways it’s hard to watch. I am an atheist but I love work that challenges and moves us in this way; art that manages to be beautiful as well as unsettling.

9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work and if so in what way?
London. Wherever I go, when I come back to London I find its energy and spirit so positive and exciting. It also has the best galleries and museums of anywhere I’ve been.

10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a residency in San Francisco or New York.

11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
I love Greek myths and religious stories – they show us how we have tried to make sense of the world. One of my recent series of paintings was a deep dive into my rather difficult teenage years and my family story. While elements of that my filter through for years to come, I am now making paintings that celebrate life and friends and being out and about in the world again.

12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others?
I think colour is all about relationships. Often a horrid sludgy grey will turn out to be the most beautiful colour you’ve ever made because you’ve put it next to a block of a bright reddish pink for example.

13. How often do you create a new picture, on average?
I work on three or four at a time: I have several easels and I go from one to the other, moving if I get stuck or have a better idea. That process will take maybe a month or six weeks to complete a series like that. I tie myself in knots whenever I try to work on new ideas and it takes many months before a successful painting emerges. Then I can produce a whole run of them pretty quickly. Some I overwork almost on purpose so I can see where the boundary between finish and spontaneity is.

14. What’s your studio like?
I’ve recently moved to Bristol from the village in Somerset I lived in for 22 years with my family, where my studio was a room I had built inside a big old barn in the middle of the countryside – very rural and remote, but beautiful. I wanted the mess and energy of city life around me and I wanted to work in a studio with other artists again. Turns out I could only cope with rural isolation for so long…

15. How do you relax?
I’m getting quite good at tennis. But music, travel, reading – all the usual stuff. Galleries, museums and I should mention swimming. I LOVE being in water, snorkelling, scuba diving.

16. What’s your most treasured possession?
A little clay model of a dinosaur I made in my first year at secondary school.

17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Game of Thrones. Thought I’d hate it but I loved it! So I suppose it’s TV.

18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I think I’ll use your time machine to try being a hunter gatherer.

19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
I have been talking to some curators about a museum show either here or in Antwerp with the autobiographical work form my last show plus some new paintings.

20. How would you like to be remembered?
I think I only really care what my daughters will think of me.

Richard Twose, There was a cherry tree flowering over near the railings, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm