Interview with Church Times
I. Books…anything by Rev. Dr Martin Israel which I read again and again, they are extraordinary spiritual guides. Also “Painter as Critic” Selected Writings by Patrick Heron. At the moment I am reading The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath a great reply to Richard Dawkins.
2. I have two children whom I worry about every day. My son has just come back from his gap year travels, and my daughter is 18 and just starting at university. I shall miss her terribly because we are very close, and who will I watch Desperate Housewives with now?
3. As a child art played a huge part in my life but sadly I was discouraged from following it as a career when I left school. Instead, after gaining a degree in Theology I became a Religious Studies teacher
4. Ten years ago I made the decision with support from my husband, to give up my part-time teaching job and to start a degree in art. Then three years ago I supported him in his decision to give up being a school chaplain after 15 years and become a parish priest with the accompanying fifty percent pay cut! This was a leap of faith for us because we still had two children at home and an artist’s income is so insecure.
5. Of course my biggest regret is not going to Art College when I was 18…on the other hand if I had gone then I would not have ended up doing this amazing commission for Blackburn Cathedral, or have met my husband etc. I think my life experiences have very much influenced my religious art.
6. I would like to be remembered as the first female artist to have ever been commissioned by a cathedral in this country for the permanent display of contemporary paintings of the Stations of the Cross.
7. Patrick Heron’s philosophy of art has not so much influenced me but rather confirmed the approach I take to my own paintings e.g. “the quality of vitality in art is something very closely connected with risk and pure doing.”
8. All Martin Israel’s sermons had me on the edge of my seat…I was so lucky to be able to regularly attend his church in London in the 1980’s.
9. I dislike anything in the Bible which is then used by people to discriminate against others
10. It was in 2006 when Blackburn Cathedral, which worked so hard for sponsorship for the most significant contemporary artistic commission in any church in the land, was not even short listed for the ACE Award. I am still angry now because I think there was a terrible bias against a cathedral in one of the poorest parts of England. This cathedral deserves recognition for as Canon Chris Chivers say’s “when you have walked the journey in Blackburn Cathedral you will leave having discovered a little more of what it means to be human in an age where inhumanity must not be allowed to win”.
11. Firstly when I am curled up next to my open fire with my husband and a glass of wine and secondly when I have sold another painting!
13. Anywhere with views and quietness.
14. Yes at the furthest point on the Lleyn Peninsular in Wales where you can see Bardsey Island. We camped there in 1995 for three weeks in fabulous weather…it is the place I most wish to go back to and is my heaven on earth.
15. I do my hobby as a living!
16. Canon Chris Chivers who is Canon Chancellor of Blackburn Cathedral. He is a most gifted and open minded inclusive priest and I never have enough time to talk with him when I visit the Cathedral.