1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
When I was a child I wanted to be an archaeologist and I actually worked on archaeological digs in my summer holidays from age 11 to 15.

2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
It was having my work shown in a national exhibition of children’s art and studying Edvard Munch at A Level that made me realise I wanted to be an artist rather than an archaeologist.

3. Were you good at art at school?
I was good at art at school but I didn’t think so at the time.

4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
The first exhibition I remember being taken to on a school trip was a Pre-Raphelite show at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

5. Which artist do you most admire?
Edvard Munch.

6. Which talent of his do you covet?
I very much admire Munch’s talent for making work that has both a universal appeal and a highly personal meaning.

7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Edvard Munch’s 1922-24 version of Starry Night from the Munch Museum in Oslo.

8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
The Paula Rego Retrospective at Tate Britain in 2021 was a survey of seven decades of inspirational work. I love that Rego’s work has a picture book aesthetic and yet many dark undercurrents.

9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work and if so in what way?
I grew up in the North East and that region still influences my work today. The forests, lakes and dramatic coastlines of Northumberland often appear in my work. My interest in adverse weather conditions and in changes in the light and how they alter the mood of a landscape also stems from this region.

10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
Norway, Canada or Iceland.

11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
Landscapes and often the fleeting weather conditions that can transform them are my main subjects, but the works are always about an emotional response to the landscape rather than a representation of what the landscape looks like.

12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others?
Two colours appear more frequently than any others, Viridian Green and Alizarin Crimson. I find them to be very versatile and a mixture of the two makes a lovely grey which I often use.

13. How often do you create a new picture, on average?
To allow for drying time in the oil paint I will work on a few paintings at a time and finish one every two to four weeks.

14. What’s your studio like?
Unlike many artists I don’t work well in chaos! I have a lovely light and organised studio at Wimbledon Art Studios.

15. How do you relax?
In nature or at the cinema.

16. What’s your most treasured possession?
My car.

17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Violet and rose creams.

18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
New York in the 1960s.

19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
I am planning to do a summer school in New York.

20. How would you like to be remembered?

Steph Smith, City Trees (Study), oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm