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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

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - INTERVIEW - Sor­rel Wills

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

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