In January ’08 I visited friends in Ljubljana. It was my first visit to Eastern Europe, and I loved the idea that I was in the same part of the world as my ancestors. The photographs I took from the castle, looking down into the town, became the inspiration for a series of paintings in oil which I called ‘House in the Forest’. One of them was of a house far below, down a wooded hillside, and as I began painting on my return to London, it felt as though I was somehow tuning into the inherited memory of crisp cold days in a Lithuanian village, where my forbears lived simpler, harder lives, surrounded by nature. How far removed from the urban life I lead today! I can’t help imagining my life as it would have been 125-odd years ago; I am more likely to have been working in the fields, or wrapping up cheeses for customers in a dairy, than painting pictures. A life like mine in London today would have been a wonderful dream in those rigorous times.

I love painting little houses – to see them click here