The Ten Minute Interview







Being an artist is more than a full time job for Sherree. Before she ever makes it into her studio she spends hours out on location with her camera and sketchbook preparing her portfolio of source material, or finding the perfect spot to set up her easel for an afternoon of painting en plein air. But like all of us she needs to kick back and relax, and recently she was asked to answer a rapid fire list of as many questions as could be fitted into ten minutes about what she does when she isn’t painting and what she thinks about, well, anything and everything really. Here’s what she revealed…

Who or what do you listen to on the radio?

Mostly I enjoy documentaries, particularly historical subjects. At the moment I’m interested in American history the social side rather than political though, the gold rush, the pioneer homesteaders, so I’m always on the lookout on Radio 4.

What do you like watching on television?

I’m really not a big TV watcher, although I did make an exception for Lettice when she was on Britain’s Got Talent!

Whose portrait would you most like to paint?

I would have loved to have painted the late Wilfred Thesiger. He was an amazing man, traveller, writer, photographer, advisor to princes, war hero, and I think his extraordinary range of experiences told in every line of his face. 

Who or what makes you laugh?

I laugh very easily, so lots of things and lots of people – particularly I would have to say my husband and my mother. (And as mentioned above, ‘The Book of Mormon’ - a lot!)

Which public figure do you most admire at the moment?

Prince Charles.

What is the most beautiful place you have ever painted?

My first impulse is to say the South Downs, but the scene that always takes my breath away is the Henley Regatta. The first time I went I was so dazzled by the colours of all those elegantly dressed ladies in that gorgeous setting, the whole thing perfectly lit by the high summer sun. We hear a lot about all the harm we cause the environment, but sometimes we manage to work with it to create something really worthwhile.

What single work of art do you find the most moving or intriguing?

‘Hopeless Dawn’ by Frank Bramley; the whole story is there, love, grief, loss, sympathy and consolation, even a hint of religion. He was a member of the Newlyn School, of which my favourite artist Stanhope Forbes was a founder member.

What is your favourite piece of architecture?

I have a real penchant for those regency terraces. One of my favourites is the Royal Crescent in Cheltenham which was built as lodgings for visitors to the spa in the early 1800s. It’s the well-crafted cast-iron trappings such as the railings and lamp holders that make it even more special.

Least favourite?

Concrete blocks, or any building with plastic windows.

Would you prefer to be on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ or ‘Celebrity Big Brother’?

No contest. It’s ‘Strictly’ all the way for me. I harboured an ambition to be a ballerina for many years and love to dance.

What’s your current book at bedtime?

‘Testament of Youth’ by Vera Brittain. I knew a little bit about her – that she was Shirley Williams’ mother of course, and that she was criticised for hr pacifist views then famously vindicated by being named by the Nazis as one of the first people they would arrest as soon as they invaded. But the memoir was published in 1933 so deals with the aftermath of the First World War rather than her later notoriety, and what life was like for a woman forging a career in a very different world.

Do you cook and if so, do you have a signature dish?

I do cook but mostly family meals – things like shepherd’s pie!

What’s your favourite tipple?

Champagne. Naturally.