Today I’m welcoming Christine Southworth, the cover artist for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. 

Youre Not Alone 3d inamge (1)

This interview is part of a series of blog posts to introduce my colleagues in this endeavour. The anthology is available for pre-order and will be released on July 11. 

Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.

You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links:
http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnth
http://bookshow.me/B00Y5RCOOE

You’ll find the Facebook page here: 

https://www.facebook.com/yourenotalone2015

And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton

https://macmillan.tributefunds.com/pamela-mary-winto

Hello Christine, please tell us a little about yourself. 

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Art has always been a big part of my life, I studied at art college then went on to have a career teaching art in a secondary boys’ school. Since retiring, I work as a full time artist and printer, with studios in both England and Canada.

I am a mum of two; my daughter is a teacher and enjoys writing and my son is a painter having inherited my artistic talents. I am also Nana to three little granddaughters who keep me busy when I’m not drawing. I live in Lancashire, England but like to travel as much as possible.

When did you first take an interest in art?

I was probably around three years old when I first started drawing. It was in the pre TV days with only a wireless for entertainment; we were allowed to listen to it for half an hour as a treat. In the evenings we would all sit around the big table and do something creative. My father was a carpenter, so he would sit making wooden toys and carving and I would keep occupied reading or drawing. I could always be found either with my head in a book or sketching.

How did you end up designing a book cover?

My daughter is part of the group of writers who were putting together the anthology. She asked if I would design the cover and I was happy to be a part of it. It was a good opportunity to give thanks to all those nurses who cared for my husband. I have always enjoyed using my talents to support charities; during my career as a teacher I was in charge of organising charity events. Most recently I have been working with MHIST a mental health charity that uses art therapy to help people rehabilitate after long hospital stays.

What kind of books do you read yourself?

I am an avid reader. I like books about spiritual journeys and how physical changes can lead to an emotional change. I also like crime thrillers based on forensic pathology.

What is your work routine like – your daily routine and the process? What is your favourite part of the process and which is the least favourite? Do you prefer working day time or at night?

I work from 10am to 4pm at the Neo Artists studio etching. On a Wednesday I run a life drawing class. It is open for anyone who wants to learn and it is non profit, any money made pays for models and the room. Day or night? Time is irrelevant when you’re retired, I work whenever the inspiration takes hold. I like working to a theme, exploring and seeing where it takes me. This last year my theme has been loss of innocence – children in poverty and war zones. The underlying feelings of compassion and hope fitted perfectly with the brief I was given for the book cover.

How long did it take you to get the cover design ready? 

From the time I was given the brief, my part took around a week. I spent a few days thinking about the scheme then drew up some sketches. I then liaised with digital artist Nico Laeser while he turned my sketch into the book cover.

What other ambitions and creative outlets do you have?

Over the years I have worked with many different media, pen and ink, watercolour, charcoal and pastel, oils and recently I’ve returned to etchings. I am a member of the Neo Artists and have recently become a full member of Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and the Society of Women Artists.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have just finished judging an art contest for Bury Hospice which helped raise nearly £10, 000 for a dedicated nurse for the hospice. 20150604_112347

I had four works of art in the SWA annual open exhibition running from the 5th to the 14th of June, at the Mall Gallery, London. My picture from last year’s exhibition has been used on this year’s publicity material.
I won the fine art award which was presented by HRH Princess Michael of Kent, and my etching was used as the cover of the exhibition brochure.”
I have just been made a member of the council for MAFA and hope to use this position to promote art in the Northwest of England.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure?

When I’m not drawing or chasing after my granddaughters, I love travelling and I’m learning Italian. My next holiday will be studying art at the university of Roma Centrali.

I also love spending time out in Canada with my sister. She has a cabin in a forest; it’s just nice to get away from the modern world and be surrounded by nature. This is where I have my second studio.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My friends say they admire my tenacity, I never give up and like to see a job through to the end. This can be a strength and a weakness. I used to drive my children mad, once I got focused on my work I would disappear into my own artistic world for hours on end.

Cat or dog?

Definitely dog. I have always had border collies, slightly mad but affectionate and loyal.

What (not who!) would you take to a remote island?

I would have to have something to draw on or I’d go crazy. If I couldn’t have pencils and paper I’d have to draw in the sand with a stick.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

I would like to dine with Grayson Perry the cross-dressing potter. He’s wild, wacky and a little controversial, but I think he talks a lot of sense about art. I often listen to him on the radio while I’m working. I’d have to set an extra place for his alter ego Claire though.

Thank you Christine!

Christine received the Barbara Tate Award and tends to sell from exhibitions rather through a website.

Her Twitter link is

https://twitter.com/bearprintstudio

Here a couple of guest posts on the artist

http://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/guests/guest-post-by-artist-christine-southworth/

http://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/guests/1000-voices-for-compassion-by-artist-christine-southworth/

SWA link http://www.society-women-artists.org.uk/

This year’s SWA leaflet has Christine’s picture on it – the yellow one at the bottom. http://www.society-women-artists.org.uk/images/2015exhibition/flyers/SWA2015_final1.pdf

MAFA link http://www.mafa.org.uk/

NEO Artists link http://www.neoartists.co.uk/

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