You are self-taught, correct? Can you tell me what brought you to art-making? And what keeps you there?
Largely self taught, I was thrown out of the needlework class in Grammar School, being told I would never make anything decent or wearable in my entire life…I was placed in the art class so I wouldn’t waste time. Unknown to the art teacher, I did art at home sometimes with my grandfather, who was artistic himself… from then on I just did what came naturally and I sold a couple of paintings in Germany in 1978. When [my] girls were small I just used to have art as a hobby more than anything else. Then I picked up the paintbrushes again when my girls were older in 1994.
I shall be 60 on the 8th March. [OE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!]
[Making art] is…just something that I’ve got to do…Since moving to Corsham I discovered Artplode on Twitter and from there I was introduced to Jerry Saltz and he has liked my work from what he saw last May. He has been brilliant and his kind words of encouragement keep me going. Getting recognition from such a world-reknowned art critic is wonderful even if it was unexpected. He has bought two of my artworks, “A Badger” and “Wooden Bridge at Wallington in Hampshire.”
Tell us about your subject matter–what inspires you about what you are painting, and what kind of expression you are trying to achieve? Are there works by artists that you love and that inspire you?
I have a wide range of subject matter, from the local landscape and wildlife to the Renaissance era. I want to create pictures that people will recognise and which will be familiar to them. Some people don’t always appreciate where they are and take their surroundings for granted and then look at it in a different light when it’s recognisable in a painting.
I sold small oil paintings in Braunschweig, Germany in 1978 to a local florist for DM50 which is about £12.50 in today’s money…now my work is for sale through my website, it can also be seen on the Wiltshire web and through Artplode. What I prefer is for someone who is willing to buy my art for privacy; I keep what they pay confidential and leave it to them to obtain their own insurance whilst their newly bought artwork is being shipped to them. The website is my shop window but prospective buyers can make an appointment to come and see the art in my home/studio where they can personally view the work.
What words of wisdom would you give to younger artists? And is there anything about the art world that you would change?
Words of wisdom for younger artists: “Belief.” Younger artists should believe in themselves and not be put off. Some people will love your work and others are maybe not so keen. What I would change about the art world: I have come across a gallery which has a waiting list of over two years and without formal qualifications, will not exhibit my work. I believe that art is there to be seen by everyone not just the select few. And where private viewings are available to selected people the day before an exhibition is opened to the public–this doesn’t help people who are not part of that circle. A new collector may not have an equal opportunity of buying an artwork because of this. That is what I would change. What I would like to see is for more opportunity for artists who have not had formal art education…to be accepted on their own merit and ability. For the art world to be more broad minded in that respect and maybe not so elitist.
-Interview by Amy Fusselman