Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I continue to be inspired by Pascale Chandler – for her incredible handling of paint and use of a constantly fresh drawn line but also because she taught me more than just the application of oil on canvas – she taught me how to look at the world around me, how to see that potential subject matter can be found everywhere and often in the most unexpected and mundane of places.
Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
I admire the work of Neil Rodger for his meticulous technique in portraying the human form and the quality of light that seemed to bathe all his paintings.
Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
I was fortunate to visit the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London last year – it exhibits the 55 paintings that have made the final cut. Of those the top three are announced and of course the winner. In that one space it showed 55 different ways of painting the human head – all wonderfully diverse in scale and technique.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Inspiration comes most often from my direct environment – the house in which I live and the people I have shared the house with. My fascination with painting the human form started with my three daughters – who have been convenient and patient subject matter since I began my artistic practice. I try and collect beautiful things and set up still life stories on every surface taking numerous photographs that I catalogue and dip into on a regular basis. I also photograph plants, flowers and trees and some of the recent protea studies come from photographs taken by my brother on his farm in Umzumbe.
Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
I work from actual printed photographs that I often cut and crop and splice together. I also lay down thin layers of arbitrary colour on the white canvas before I begin the initial drawing – makes the surface less intimidating and precious somehow.
What do you like most about being an artist?
The thing I like most about being an artist is that the work I do is something I love. I feel very lucky. The thought that my paintings live in people’s homes and provide joy will always amaze me.
How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
I don’t often experience a block but there are days when one piece seems to be heading in the wrong direction – I do always work on a number of pieces at the same time so will move onto something else and give that one a break. If a particular work isn’t going well some of my best pieces are over paintings so I normally turn the canvas upside down and start fresh – using the surprises in the under painting.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I think being invited to join a curated show of female artists (Pascale Chandler, Dee Donaldson, Grace Kotze, Janet Solomon, Marianne Meijer, Louise Jennings) at gallery 415 in 2013 was quite an achievement – I felt extremely honoured to be in that company.
Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?
I think to be working successfully in the arts feels like making a difference – proof that the world needs beauty and joy. Proof also that even with our lives on social media filled with images of people a face or body depicted in paint on canvas can still be so relevant.
What are your plans for the coming year?
I will be part of a three person show with Jennie Castle and Louise Jennings at restock gallery in Funchal, Madeira – we are working on a collaborative piece called FUSION – Orchidacea
I am also working on a small show around the theme ‘makers making’ – working with images of people using their skills from ceramic artists to fashion designers