Anna meets...Maggie

I want to introduce my dear artist friend who by rights ought to have been featured a long time ago. Maggie O'Brien spends most days in her studio dressed in paint splattered overalls (not as a fashion statement) and the frustrated fashionista in her would often ring to ask me to send her a photo of my outfit of the day. We have a common bond, Maggie and I, in our love of charity shopping, and the joys of that unique or vintage find. She did in fact act as the catalyst to me starting my blog. Maggie nagged me to step out into this world where others shared their outfits of the day too. My thanks go to her for igniting the spark of this idea and for her encouragement in those early days when I was so unsure about how I was doing. I trusted Maggie and am really grateful that she prompted me as she did.

Maggie has very kindly agreed to answering some questions, so let's see what's she's got to say.

Q How long have you been a full-time artist? (What did you do prior to this?)

 After studying for a degree in English I worked in press and public relations for various organisations including The Metropolitan Police. I had a place at art school when I was 18 but never quite had the nerve to go.Once my children were born though I began painting again and eventually got the chance to do an art foundation course at Central St Martins as a part time student in my 30s. A degree at Camberwell and an MA in drawing at Wimbledon followed during which time I ran private painting classes to support my studies. The wolf was at the door though so it was back to work at the Home Office for a few more years until my husband got the chance to take early retirement. We up sticks and moved to Cornwall. The landscape bowled me over and I began to paint like my life depended on it. The rest is history...

 Do you prefer to teach or paint?

 Paint! I love teaching and get a great buzz from helping students gain confidence and find personal ways of working but the need to paint and draw runs deep.

Q Is there another career you might have followed?

A  I still love to write. I keep journals and hanker after writing a novel one day. It will have to be in another life though -  there isn't enough time or creative energy in this one to be both a writer and a painter! I also always think I would have loved to have been a florist - I adore picking and arranging flowers.

Q Describe your perfect holiday location, and if it's real or imaginary.

I have just been to a tiny, unspoilt village called Kelakoy on the Southern Turkish coast. Only accessible by boat and on a protected peninsular it felt like an Island and was almost impossibly beautiful. The old village house we stayed in had a large shady terrace and the most glorious views. A student I met this summer lent me the house to paint - and paint I did! I got up at dawn and worked in the mornings before it got too hot and the paint dried before it left the palette. The afternoons were spent reading, swimming, snorkeling and pottering around in kayaks hoping to spot a turtle. In the evenings we explored the Lycian ruins all around us, hunted for fossils and ate fish caught by the local fishermen. Pretty damn perfect!

How do you like to unwind? 

My husband will tell you I'm useless at unwinding! I like to be active so I guess things that have a purpose do it for me - gardening, picking and arranging flowers - even turning out cupboards and arranging things in the house! I walk the dog every day and have some of my best painting ideas on the coastal path.

How do you describe your style of dressing?

I don't think I have a style as such though I tend to favour casual, unstructured, clothes and layering.. why wear a couple of items of clothing when you can have fun with six! I'm not a great one for tailored clothing, I don't possess a 'smart ' jacket or skirt but I love putting clothes together and I can happily veer from boho to glam or monochrome to full on colour depending on mood and occasion. In fact, that's another great unwinder - playing with clothes...It's all a bit daft really because I spend most of my time in a pair of overalls!

Favourite place to shop?

Charity shops in posh locations! A great find is so exciting and forces you to be inventive in getting it to work in your wardrobe.  TK Max is fun too - again, you never know what you are going to turn up on those crammed rails.

Q What food can't you live without?

A Cheese probably! A good old English cheddar would be the hardest thing in the world for me to give up.

Maggie comes to the island twice a year to teach painting within the landscape (for details of these holidays see here). To see her work in my gallery click here. These shots are from her visit in September. Here's the happy group with their teacher on their last evening prior to the celebratory dinner. 

Anna x



  1. She sounds wonderful!!!! Hurrah for this wonderful lady! And yes to posh charity shops although I did go to one in Parson's Green, London that was charging £50 for a Kate Spade t-shirt!

    1. Maggie is very sweet lady and a kind friend. She seems to do very well in the London charity shops - I think it's all about knowing which areas are worth visiting, and I suppose she lived there for years so she's pretty savy. And ouch is what I say for a £50 t-shirt!
      Lovely to hear from you Kezzie x


  2. What a lovely stylish lady! I absolutely loved her earrings in the first photo. How nice that she gave you the nudge and support you needed to start your blog. There's nothing in the world like a good friend!

    Have a great week


    1. Maggie always looks stunning on her opening nights at the gallery. She really has her own sense of style and I do often covet her clothes. And yes, you're so right about friends - Maggie is a diamond!
      Have a lovely week too x

  3. Having spent a fun jackpot day of thrift shopping with my friend and Zumba teacher I love hearing that Maggie know just which charity shops will yield the most attractive deals in both style and price!! Sounds like you two are a very complimentary pair of friends!
    Do you have some of Maggie's art work in your gallery? It would be fun to see a few pieces. This is a woman who has had a very full life and managed to combine family and career seamlessly by doing family first and then pusuing her art passion later in life (?)
    Thankyou for introducing your lovely friend Maggie.

    1. Maggie and I have trawled the shops in Corwall together and it's all the more fun when you're thifting together that's for sure. I thought that her life would make for an interesting read. I've now added a link to her work in my gallery in the final paragraph for you to see - she's very talented, but is also a really popular teacher as she's such a people person.
      Thanks for all of your input again Judy.
      Have a wonderful week x

    2. Oh! her paintings are really lovely and clearly that changeable quality of light, color and mood of sea and sky captured her imagination and passion.
      Her name sounds very Irish...?
      I am mostly Irish and Scottish so it's always fun to know.

    3. Yes, Judy it's lovely work. Maggie has Scottish roots and her husband's family is from Ireland - well observed!

  4. Cheers to Maggie, and a thank you for encouraging our Anna in her blog pursuits!

  5. How fun! I adore a woman that is chasing her bliss.


    1. Maggie does really well in striking a healthy work/life balance, and I think experiences a fair bit of bliss en route!
      Thanks Suzannne x


Created by bo design