Culture vulture

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Heather Naish sketches out her life's inspiration

Artistic influence

The Spanish abstract expressionist artist Antoni T...pies, because his works have a fantastic surface texture. He scrapes and gouges and it's pretty abstract. That has had a big influence on my work, which is very gestural.

Best exhibition

Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in Holyrood House, Edinburgh, which I went to see early last year. Although I am not a portrait painter I was struck by the sheer beauty, delicacy and detail of his portraiture. They made me want to pick up a pencil again and draw. I found myself looking at them over and over again. My husband had to drag me away.

Best resource

My headteacher had a brilliant idea that every child in our school should keep a sketchbook, so I bring in my own, which are jam-packed with notes and snippets from magazines and lots of other stuff to show pupils how they can use them. Mine are a record of ideas, of whatever is of interest at any one time, and pupils are fascinated by them. Sketchbooks are a lovely way for children to record their progress; in Year 6, they can look back at them and appreciate how far they have come. I know lots of other painters and artists locally, and I'm inviting them to school to share their sketchbooks.

Looking forward

To more exhibitions of my own work. I have had several in York and sold about 90 per cent of my work. I want to exhibit further afield, but recently I've been busy writing policies for co-ordinating art and design, and qualifying as a teacher.

Best film

I've seen Bruce Robinson's Withnail and I 15 times and never get tired of it. The characters are so well drawn and the one-liners superb.

Best book ever

I'm a fast reader and have wide tastes. I've read Far From the Madding Crowd five or six times because I adore Hardy's descriptive language and his characters seem so real to me. I like the film (pictured) too.

Newly qualified teacher Heather Naish, 35, paints for half the week and teaches for the other half. She has a mixed Year 1 and 2 class and is art and design co-ordinator at St Mary's C of E primary school in Askham Richard, near York. She was talking to Elaine Williams

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