My earliest memory connected with painting dates from when I was
about 6 and my mother pinned on the wall a picture I had painted at
school. It was of a house, with a tree at the side and I'd glued
dots of red confetti onto the tree to represent apples. How strange
that many decades later, I often use paper collage in combination
with water-based paints in my work.
By the age of 10 I knew that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up
- except for a somewhat self-deluding period when I dreamed of
becoming a ballet dancer, even though my physique was totally
unsuitable! However, my love of ballet, and dance in all its forms,
has infused my painting throughout my life and for that reason I
chose to study stage design at the Central School of Art when I left
school. Even then, I still went to ballet classes one evening a week
for the sheer love of it.
Then, for three years in my early 20's I
lived in Paris, drawing dancers back-stage and in classes and
rehearsals, designing and making costumes as a freelance while
studying life-drawing at La Grande Chaumiere.
Again, I continued to
go to dance classes with emigree Russian teachers. I designed and
made costumes for a student performance and, as a result, was
commissioned to design a ballet for the Grands Ballets du Marquis de
Cuevas. But the ballet never materialised. The young choreographer
fell foul of the ballet-mistress and left the company, and the
project was shelved. Shattered, I came home to London and worked for
one of the leading theatrical costumiers of the day, which was
demanding but huge fun - until I was expecting my first child. A
theatrical costumiers is no place for a pregnant woman!
I had married a fellow-artist and fondly imagined that we would lead
a life of Bohemian bliss, both painting of course. But the demands
of motherhood meant that I did not paint for 16 years. However, my
years of dance training came into its own, for I began to teach
ballet and ran my own school for many years. Naturally, I designed
and made costumes for all our school shows which compensated in some
measure for not engaging in any easel-painting. But the inner
compulsion to paint cannot be ignored for ever, and in my early 40's
I took up my brushes again, going to adult education art classes to
regain my lost technique.
Sadly, divorce a few years later meant that I had to become the family breadwinner, and I began a second career as an aromatherapist. Before long I was so fully occupied practising, teaching and writing about aromatherapy that painting once again had to take a back seat.
Running a successful aromatherapy school didn't leave much time for painting, but I made the most of whatever free time I had. I joined the Free Painters And Sculptors and exhibited with them, in group and solo shows. Retirement blessed me with free time and I made the most of it! By now I was living in the wonderful Devon town of Totnes and I've continued to exhibit regularly in Totnes as well as Exeter and London. My subjects are drawn from myth, poetry and dreams and I'm a member of the Society For Art Of The Imagination. Since Millennium Year I've added sculpture to my repertoire, thanks to two wonderful teachers: Lucianne Lasalle and Maria Moorhouse.