I was born in 1948 into an artistic family. My French grandfather lived and worked in Provence, my grandmother was a well-known wood engraver, and my mother and two sisters also paint. So for me it was the natural thing to do and it has always been part of my life. I remember from an early age the intoxicating smell of turps, and the atmosphere of an artist’s studio, and even then I could see that she inhabited a world of her own which encouraged me to create mine. It soon became the underlying reality in my life, and the thread that I return to in any situation, it seemed the obvious choice to go to art college and at 18 I managed to scrape together the “O” levels necessary to do a pre-diploma year at Hornsey Art College which I found confusing and demoralising, so when I was rejected for the painting degree, I was almost relieved.
After that I went to India, fell in love and came back to live in a small isolated cottage in the moors near Lancaster and had 2 babies. To remain sane I took up painting again but for my own pleasure this time. Away from the pressures of tutors and other students I started to develop a style that was mine and by the time all 4 kids were going to school I was ready to start painting full-time. I met Richard Di Marco in Edinburgh and he introduced me to a gallery in London and I continued showing paintings in London for the next 15 years. When we moved to France in the early nineties I realised that the style that I had evolved was becoming cliched. Instead of taking an image in my head and then finding a way to put it down in paint, I wanted to discover the image that is hiding somewhere in the canvas and allow the paint to show me the direction.
My inspiration has always come from my own life, the little everyday situations and the predicament of human existence in a strange and beautiful universe. My influences range from early Italian painters (Giotto, Fra Angelico, Botticelli) to Turner, Poussin, Bonnard, Vuillard, the Japanese artists of the floating world; and more recently Jackson Pollock and the contemporary Chinese artist, Zao Wouki, and the photographer, Francesca Woodman.
For me a painting is successful when I am pulled into it and have the feeling that it’s the painting that is looking at me, at once the observer and the observed. After 1998, my painting became a lot less figurative, while still using techniques that I evolved in the last 25 years: building up and rubbing away layers of paint, allowing the painting to indicate where it’s going and then finding out where that is. Since 2010,the work has become even more abstract and much bigger (200 x 200) and is about finding the point at which any quality transmutes into its opposite, inside/outside, empty/full, light/dark, easy/difficult, big/little and far/near.
Courtesy of the artist’s website.