Ishvara d'Angelo
the artist

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!

Ishvara d'Angelo
Ishvara d'Angelo

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.

Artist, Sculptor, Author
© Ishvara D'Angelo 2011