Nov 15, 2007

Ophelia Redpath: Artist, Writer

Ophelia Redpath is a painter and writer. She was born in Cambridge, England, where she still lives. Her career as a painter spans over 20 years with exhibitions in over 100 shows in Britain and overseas. Clive James says she "is the most brilliant artist of her type currently working in Britain.". She is presently at work on her second novel, as well as a very funny collection of memoir styled essays and a new series of paintings.

What is, for you, the height of misery?
When things don't seem to change and efforts appear to be in vain.

Where would you like to live?

In a village near a nature reserve where all my friends happen to be my neighbours.

Your ideal of earthly happiness?
Being alert to the intricacies of everyday life and drinking heavenly soup. (In a village near a nature reserve, where all my friends happen to be my neighbours!)

For which faults do you have the greatest amount of indulgence?
Not facing official-looking envelopes..But I'm hitting this on the head with a sledge-hammer.

Who are the novelistic heroes whom you prefer?
Oliver, Ralph Touchett, Doc in "Cannery Row", Harry in "Bliss".

Who is your favorite historical character?
King John (in "1066 And All That")

Your favorite heroines in real life?

Dian Fossey, Shami Chakrabarti, Alice Millar. All women who value living things, can encompass human complexities without reacting violently, and can perceive and face threats while remaining independently apolitical.

Your favorite painter?

At the moment, and for many years, Paulo Uccello.

Your favorite musician?
Joni Mitchell.

The virtue you most prefer in men?

The virtue you most prefer in women?


The virtue you prefer?

A mixture of the two.

Your preferred occupation?
Reading material about wildlife and ecosystems and thinking about how human beings fit in as another species.

Whom would you have liked to be?
David Attenborough's research assistant (with the brain of a naturalist).

The principal trait of my character?

A propensity to fear the worst, which affects my understanding of reality and other people.

The quality you most like in a man?
The ability to enjoy wholeheartedly.
The quality you most like in a woman?

What I appreciate the most in my friends?

Loyalty, fun, closeness, their individuality and stories.

My principle fault?
Difficulty living with strong emotions.

What is your favorite occupation?
Same as preferred occupation.

My dream of happiness?
Being confident in the knowledge I am able to deal with life's difficulties and still enjoy what it produces.

What might my greatest misfortune be?

Lack of confidence.

What would I like to be?
Myself, with the confidence.

In what country would you like to live?
A hybrid of Britain, France, Spain and Italy:
Britain for village fêtes and disinterest in clothes.
France for stalking the vineyards.
Spain for the mountain lizards.
Italy for watching children playing in piazzas in the evenings.

The color I prefer?
At the moment, the juxtaposition of dark cerise and bottle green.

The flower I like?


The bird I prefer?

My favorite prose authors?
Charlotte Brontë, Peter Carey, Arundhati Roy, David Sedaris, John Steinbeck, Salman Rushdie (only Midnight's Children), Jane Austen, Jilly Cooper, Raymond Chandler, Paul Scott, Terry Pratchett.

My preferred poets?
Brian Patten.

My favorite composers?
Byrd, Scarlatti, Bach, Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells, Benjamin Britten, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Joni Mitchell.

My favorite painters?
Paulo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Van Eyck, Vermeer, Holbein, Brueghel, Degas, Lautrec, Modigliani, Samuel Palmer, Spencer, Michael Sowa, Joe Hargan.

My heroes in real life?
David Attenborough, Jared Diamond, Robin Dunbar. All people who are devoted to the study of life on earth.

My favorite historical heroines?

Elizabeth I.

My favorite names?
Sally, Margot, Kitty, Adeline, George, Arthur, Fred, Gerrard, Theo.

What is it you most dislike?
Paperwork, solitary confinement, concrete cities, rudeness, plastic, lack of common sense, unkindness.

Historical figures whom I scorn the most?
George Bush, whom I'm looking forward to being historical.

The military feat that I admire the most?
Dambusters! (Which shows I haven't thought about it at all!)

The reform that I admire the most?

I'm waiting for one which takes really tough measures with those of us who consume obscene amounts of everything.

The gift of nature I would like to possess?
The ability to conquer fear and keep learning.

How I would like to die?
To be killed quickly by a lioness and fed slowly to her cubs.

The present state of my mind?

Daunted by, yet hopeful for the future.

What is your slogan?

I don't have one, but if I did it would be "stay interested and learn."

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