Originally from N.Ireland, I now live at the foot of the South Downs outside Brighton in West Sussex with my husband. I have three grown-up sons by my first husband who died in 2003, a stepson and step-daughter, and five grandchildren.
I enjoyed teaching English in secondary schools, until I retired in 2013 giving me time to be creative. Literature has been a constant for me, for the way in which it challenges and enriches my view of life and just for the sheer beauty of the words.
My paintings and drawings are primarily an emotional response to a subject rather than what I see. When I paint, I become absorbed in memories, colours and favourite motifs such as birds, chairs, lamps, ceramics, flowers, hares, the moon, snow and rain, – all things deep in my sub-conscious, sown in my Irish childhood. These are frequently otherworldly, as I feel enveloped in another world when I work, just as I do when I read poetry and novels. Favourite writers include Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Mary Oliver, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Gaston Bachelard and Niall Williams.
More recently, I have become interested in books which evoke the poetry of landscape. Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Landmarks’ and Alexandra Harris’ ‘Weatherlands’ have been treasure troves of anecdote and linguistic gold. While reading them, I was stimulated to write and from that writing, new ideas for painting and drawing are emerging.
I like to reflect on nature as it tips from the cusp into something else – flowers to seeds, blossom to pods, stones to tiny shavings of dust. I think of the seethe and hum of nature as I work. The precariousness, fragility and little astonishments of life are what appeal to me.