The 48-year-old artist lives in Antrim with her son and daughter. She is the recently elected president of the Ulster Society of Woman Artists and her exhibition Life and Precious Places is at the Oriel Gallery, Clotworthy House,Antrim, from April 19
What is your earliest memory?
I remember swishing through long dry summer grass in my new purple corduroy flares. I felt great in them. It was sad to grow out of them.
Who is the most important person in your life?
Naturally, all my nearest and dearest know it to be them, unreservedly. I’d say that Claude Monet is the best current artistic answer I can give (it changes regularly). Everybody knows his famous work and it has inspired me greatly.
Shock us — tell us something surprising about yourself.
I spent five years designing and making fine bone china coffee sets which I loved as I felt passionately that they really added to people’s enjoyment, either in using these objects or even just to collect them. However, although I love the smell of coffee I am allergic to the stuff — even the decaf gives me the jitters.
What is your greatest fear?
I can’t bear heights too well. My partner was somewhat surprised to see my fear after I agreed to climb Slieve Donard with him last summer. I burst into tears three times as we neared the top as I couldn’t see where I had just walked as the summit of the mountain levelled out. People asked if I was okay and I said, ‘Yes! I’m fine! It’s just fear’, through the sobs. Embarrassing. I’m pleased I did it — now that I have pictures I don’t have to do it again. Ever!
What makes you most happy?
Painting makes me very happy when it is going well. It is so completely absorbing that all worries get crowded out. The creative process can be as good as a satisfying result. Walking in nature is fantastic for feeling happy. And my children doing the dishes without being asked improves my mood no end.
And your biggest regret?
Painting is such a joy that it may have been a good thing to have pursued it more seriously earlier in life but there are no “do-overs” so I may as well be content with how things already are.
How do you chill out?
Spending time with the people I love. I like to cook for family and friends — although the true chilling-out part of that is when all the stressy parts of the cooking are out of the way and you’re enjoying the food and the company after the cooking.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your life?
Time flies by and there is much to appreciate along the way — so keep remembering to notice the good and listen to and do what your heart really tells you as it makes you happy.
The book, the song and the film that means the most to you and why?
The first book that comes to mind is Pride and Prejudice as I love the wit and language. I read it first as a teenager and that was the perfect age for me to read it. My rescued cat is called Mr Darcy as he was aloof at first and no one liked him, but now we all think he is wonderful because he trusts us. I like to paint to Joni Mitchell. She has written any number of amazingly perceptive songs and Circle Game is a favourite. The line in that song, We’re captive on the carousel of time, you can’t argue with that. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favourite films as it is so stylish, and the music reminds me of Christmas which is when we tend to watch it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
Nothing. We are on a journey in life to discover who we really are. All strengths and weaknesses have their value to teach us about ourselves. A preview evening for Life and Precious Places, a collection of oil paintings by Sorrel Wills, is on this Tuesday (April 17) from 7pm at Oriel Gallery, Antrim. The exhibition continues until May 26. See Sorrel’s work at www.sorrelwills.com