tr 7am: I live by the sea so the first thing I do is listen out for the waves...is it a rough or calm day out there?! I am not an early riser by nature, (I would much rather work untill the small hours) so I will grab one of my notebooks or a sketchbook and right away I will be thinking about what I am working on, while my partner Marc brings me my first coffee of the day. Marc swims in the sea, every single day but it has to be really tropical weather for me to go in!
8am: I meet my old school-friend Dani Church who rows the Southwold Ferry, two to three times a week for a walk or a run around Southwold harbour, promanade and old railway track. It is a fantastic run and it keeps us fit and happy. We will have a coffee and breakfast at the Southwold Harbour cafe or have a coffee on the boat. I keep my camera in my pocket and my sketchbook in my bag so if I need to sketch the boats or the seagulls, I can. In the Spring, I will stay on the ferry boat for another hour or so, just beacuse it is so magical and I get some of my best ideas on the Ferry boat! My family home is in Ferry Road Southwold, my bedroom overlooked the dunes and so I spent my childhood down the beach and harbour and it is my favourite place to be. I met my partner Marc who is a painter, down the harbour as he used to paint in one of the old fishing huts.
9.30am I will check in on my gallery in Southwold just to make sure everything is okay and looking good. After 20 years I have a great team that keep the gallery open and running well, so that I can now go back to my studio and paint. When I first opened the gallery with no money and very little work, I used to paint on an easel in the gallery and sell off the easel. I then lived and worked in a small room above the gallery but it finally became too distracting and I hardly got any work done for visitors. I have had a seperate studio for 15 years and it works well. Now when I go into the gallery I can have a chat with my customers and enjoy it.
10am to 2pm: A quick shower and I am in my studio ready to work. I mess about for a bit first, sorting out my music and my paints and picking up canvases and working out what I have to do next. My studio is now an old squash club, complete with four squash courts, converted changing rooms and the mens urinals which is now my office! It is pretty perfect. We just painted everything white and got on with working. The space is great as it allows me to work in several large spaces and work on several projects at the same time. I have a ceramics studio (Squash court A) and a screenprinting studio (Squash court B) but I am mainly in my painting studio, (Squash court C)
I am not particulary tidy and I have canvases all over the place, but it works brilliantly for me.
2pm I will sometimes stop for a late Lunch, mainly prawns from the harbour and an avocado, depending on how I am getting on. If all is going well, I will just stop for a quick coffee and carry on. I am at my apsoulute happiest when I am working. Even if I am struggling with whatever I am working on, I just like being in my studio and being surrounded by colour and pattern and new ideas. Rarely is a new painting better than I imagined, most of the time it never matches the vision that I had in my mind, but that is what makes me get up and want to do it all over again the next day, just better. If I am working towards an exhibition of ceramics and paintings I will go between the two studios throughout the day, checking on the kiln and the different stages of the ceramic making process. If I am working on a large sculptural installation I will call in some extra help and have another old school friend come in and help me organise and manage my time so I get everything finished to deadlines.
7/8pm Marc will knock on my studio door and tell me dinner is ready. We normally take it in turns to cook but recently he has been doing it all, which is lovely as I get to paint for longer. We eat simple meals, often fish from the harbour. Our lives revolve Southwold and the harbour as we are either drawing it, painting it, running around it or eating from it! I first moved to Southwold Ferry road when I was 12 and fell in love with Southwold harbour immediatly. My bedroom overlooked the sea and my first proper studio, aged 15, overlooked the marshlands and the harbour. It was life changing. I had always been creative as I grew up with my mother as a potter but I knew when I grew up in Southwold that I wanted to make a living as an artist.
9/12pm I have sketchbooks, books, laptops and lists surrounded by my chair in the evenings. Marc and I will watch telly or play records and I will potter about when I need to, I can turn the kiln on or check on a painting or work untill 3am with Queen on full blast if I want to and no one will mind. (The walls are two foot brick thick and act as perfect installation against sound!)
I generally suffer from bouts of insomia but when I have had a great day in the studio, I will sleep more soundly. My mother died when she was only 44 years old and I was 15. I am now 45, so I am very aware of the tick tock of time. Her death devastated me and I dont think I have ever really recovered from that. I lost my father and my family home only a few years later, by the age of 22. It was a very black, bleak time and my work saved my sanity. If I can create work that people enjoy living with and produce a few really good paintings to leave behind, I will be happy with that.
I want to enjoy and make the most of every single day and I dont feel I have any time to waste.