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The process of creating a picture


Does having children interfere with the artistic process?
Paula Rego Artist
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Having children is... is marvellous and... and I... I find that the old saying, oh, I think it was Cyril Connelly who said: ’The death of art is the pram in the hallway’, is a load of rubbish. Because, okay, it’s all right, it’s a problem for the... for the men, really. I think for the women, they... well, it is a problem for the women, because they have to do all the house chores and everything, but if there’s some form of help, you know, or the children can go to nursery, or... or somebody can come in and help or... or something. But what I’m saying is that, having children does not in any way interfere with your imagination. You’re imagination about what you do, goes on the same as... as when you were eight years old, whether you have children or you don’t have children. And I don’t think having children does away with the imagination at all. And, you know... you know, we love children. I love my children and my grandchildren, but it’s — touch wood — it’s never stopped me doing pictures. Or concentrating or... or letting yourself...? Well once you’re hooked, you know, I mean, it’s important to get a routine. It’s important to get... to create a habit. It’s important to have... to come to work properly, you know, and... and... but... but it’s not difficult to do, once you get a... the habit. Because once you get the habit, you’re desperate to come to work anyway. So it’s not that, it’s only maybe at the beginning, when you’re not quite sure, but after a certain age, you know, you... you come to... to the studio, because what else are you going to do, except shopping? I mean, I love that too, but, you know, yeah.

Portuguese painter Paula Rego (1935-2022) became part of the London Group in 1965, was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989 and became the first Associate Artist of the National Gallery in London in 1990. Her work is strongly influenced by folk and fairy tales, especially those of her homeland.

Listeners: Catherine Lampert

Catherine Lampert is an independent curator, art historian and Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts. She was director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1988-2001) and has been a model for Frank Auerbach since 1978. Her recent projects include exhibitions of Rodin (Royal Academy 2006) and Lucian Freud (Dublin, Denmark and The Hague 2007-2008) as well as a book on Francis Alys (Turner Libros) and a catalogue raisonné of Euan Uglow's paintings (Yale University Press 2007).

Duration: 1 minute, 55 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2007

Date story went live: 17 July 2008