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I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and have continued to draw, sometimes obsessively, ever since.

Born just after the war, paper was still in scarce supply but my mother discovered a cheap and plentiful source in the form of unprinted newsprint. I would use up to 100 sheets a week, usually sitting up in bed to draw, when the light should have been out. I even drew, unchecked, on my bedroom walls and round the margins of all my books.

The subject matter was wide ranging, from the ballet dancers seen performing Coppelia at The New Theatre Oxford to my design ideas for building the Pyramids.

perth studioWe lived on the northern edge of the Berkshire Downs and I have always been drawn to the outdoors and to wide open spaces. I spent 10 years living in Western Australia, working and travelling in some of the remotest desert regions in the world, and after returning to England I lived for 12 years in a remote Suffolk cottage. The garden had no fence, opening straight out into the fields, with the ever-changing East Anglian sky as my horizon.

I now live in West London near the river but return to paint in Walberswick and along the Blyth Estuary each summer.

My Painting Life

Although I have always drawn, and studied art up to A Level, I did not follow art and design as a career. I was largely dissuaded by my parents and instead studied to become an engineer, to the great disappointment of Enid Hardy, my art teacher at Oxford High School.

My life as an artist has necessarily been crammed into the spaces allowed by a full-time career, although having no children has given me more time to indulge my passion than many women artists.

heather dunwich 1I continue to attend weekly life drawing classes, relishing the discipline of concentrated observation and practice while exploring different media and methods. I have had wonderful teachers, including many members of the RWS and the NEAC such as Francis and Jason Bowyer, Arthur Neal, Paul Newland, Jane Corsellis, Sarah Spencer, Alex Fowler, Charles Williams and the late much missed Karn Holly.

As well as courses at the Slade Summer School in Drawing and Painting I have taken courses in Design for the Stage, with Motley Theatre Design School and Central St Martins. This subject has always interested me, exploring the relationship between the spoken word and the practicality of physical realisation of theatrical ideas.

Watercolour has always been my medium of preference because it offers such incredible versatility and breadth. I love the sheer range of subtlety and depth which can be achieved and the ability to catch fleeting moments of changing light, particularly when painting ‘en plein air’.

Having lived abroad and travelled fairly widely I am inspired by the differences in light in different regions of the world, from the lilac shadows of the Jordanian desert, the red dirt of central Australia, the blue snow shadows of the Canadian north to the ever glorious light and wide skies of East Anglia.