Why I paint

I’ve been painting as a means of being present – without making a lot of noise. I was a latecomer in my original family, the 3rd of three daughters, and I arrived after the war when all was pretty hopeless. So, although I had a lovely family, I guess that I ‘got it’ straight away that I’d better be a bit quiet, certainly not demanding attention.

But we all want some of that: attention. So I used the colour pencils I got for Christmas, and tirelessly drew my environment. My mother collected the results of my endeavours and created a picture book for my father, who was himself a prolific abstract painter. That was quite rewarding in itself.

And so I am painting to this day.

What people see who like my work is mainly an impressionistic multi-layered approach to abstraction and natural scenes with dappling light. I claim that I want to create something beautiful, pleasing to eye and heart, nothing off-putting. I am politically aware, but I do not use canvasses to express that the world is in a ghastly state. We all know that. Maybe we need to do whatever we can to make it a slightly healthier place. I try to do that.

People say they can wander about in my paintings, always discovering new things – regardless whether they look at an abstract or a non-abstract piece. I like that.

Atmosphere is an important notion to me. I would say that atmosphere is felt when we are given a chance to take in more than one detail, when we sense the interplay and connectedness between all that we see. This is my journey when I paint, let us say, some undergrowth, a little part of a woodland with light coming through the branches, dappling greens and yellows and browns on the foliage, the bark of trees, a rhythmical dance of twigs, also a dance between fore-and background, closeness and distance, light and shade.

In an abstract painting the same principles come to the fore. What takes preponderance, what stays in the background but creates nonetheless a togetherness, how does rhythm enter a two-dimensional picture, and how do I achieve vibrancy? Movement is important to me, as it expresses the aliveness of things. And atmosphere is just that too – the breathing of life in all its forms.