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


Summer show: 1 of 6

And suddenly it's time for our summer exhibitions. I can't believe how quickly this has come around again, and also it makes me realise how quickly these summer shows will keep coming and going in the blink of an eye. Here I am with (from left to right) Pamela Harrington, Maggie O'Brien and John Bampfield. The link to their work is here.

We were blessed with a great turnout of guests for the event who enjoyed the artwork on display as well as the fine evening with the high tide view across the bay to Bryher. Polly and I were joined by Ruth on the right and Max as seen below. Our assistants for the show play a vital role in helping to keep things running smoothly and it's good to know that they will be here for every opening night of the summer exhibitions. Thanks ladies!

My pink glitter shoes were pretty much the star of my own show, made all the better by the fact that they were a recent bargain at £5 in a charity shop with all the labels still intact. Brand new, rose gold, glitter shoes - I really couldn't have dreamt that one up could I? My dress is also another brand new find, from H&M (again via a charity shop) and doing me proud to go perfectly with these fancy shoes. My necklace is from Magpie Vintage see their website here for the most wonderful collections of vintage pieces reworked into contemporary styles. I'm wearing my gorgeous Michael Kors watch as usual with my rose gold Kate Spade bangle. My pink ring was a gift and the sparkle ring is from a charity shop.

Thanks for joining me again and I do hope you have a wonderful weekend. See you on Sunday!
Anna x

Created by bo design