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Country Life

My Favourite Painting Trevor Pickett

‘As a child, I crooked my neck from the Victorian, iron roof-light that was about 15in by 20in. My bedroom was in the eaves of our terraced cottage on the common at Sizewall. At night, it was lit by the Orford lighthouse. Seeing this Ffiona Lewis painting brought back those memories of my Swallows and Amazons childhood. For my 50th, friends clubbed together and bought me a pair of her paintings-one of the lighthouse, one of Martello Tower. I realised how spoilt I was when I found out the value of this gift. The paintings make me nostalgic for cycling, walking my dog and swimming; my heart was, and will always be, on the Suffolk coast’

Both my parent’s have been incredibly supportive and also my paternal grandmother, who bought me my first studio easel,’ writes Ffiona Lewis. Her father is a retired GP and she was brought up in south Devon near the Dartington Hall Arts Centre.

Through regular visits to St Ives, she was befriended by Henry (‘Gilly’) Gilbert of the Wills Lane Gallery. He introduced her to such veterans of the St Ives art colony as John Wells, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron. ‘Gilly was the first to show my work and we had many a splendid lunch where he encouraged and rallied my confidence and career.’ She still shows regularly at St Ives’s Belgrave Gallery.

She studied architecture at the Polytechnic of Central London (1984-90) on qualification, supplementing her architectural jobs by working as a motorbike courier and in the Paintframe and Props departments of the national Theatre. The work enabled her to pay for short courses at Central St Martins School of Art and to rent a studio in a vacated school in Battersea.

She committed to a painting career in 1999, when the Redfern Gallery offered to represent her. Her 10th Redfern show is scheduled for May/June 2019. Today, she divides her time between London and Suffolk.

‘This coastal scene, an oil in gesso paper, formed part of a series I painted based on my sailing adventures round the British Isles. These are what I term ‘glimpses’, everyday moments set up each morning by listening to the BBC’s Shipping Forecast. The lighthouse illustrated is at Orford Ness, which proved to be homecoming to Suffolk.

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