Local artist Frances Morris is one of the few remaining 'born between the bridges' Enniskilleners. She was born and grew up in Water Street where her mother Molly Breen was a dressmaker. Her early days were spent in her mother's sewing room surrounded by beautiful fabrics and colours which she believes may have influenced her love of bright colours and patterns. Here she talks to The Impartial Reporter about how the natural world has inspired her paintings, what she loves about her studio in the heart of Enniskillen town and what art means to her.

JC: What is your artistic background?

FM: From a really early age my time was spent drawing and painting and I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I won a scholarship to the Belfast College of Art when I was seventeen and my four years there led me to specialise in fabric design and printing and ceramics. I especially remember my life drawing classes with the Belfast artist John Luke whose paintings and murals have had a special influence on me. I qualified in 1965 as an art and craft teacher and taught in Belfast and then in Stockport (near Manchester). In 1978 I began to exhibit my work, first porcelain ceramics, then my flower paintings and finally my Irish landscapes.

JC: Is there a specific place that you work or do you have a studio?

FM: I returned to live in my home town in 1997 when I opened my studio in the Buttermarket Craft and Design Centre. From my small studio in the corner of the Buttermarket I can fast forward to my gallery and studio in the old market house. Here there are four rooms in total where I have room to paint and show my paintings prints and photographs. The years since then have seen an enormous business expansion with exhibitions in Belfast, Galway, Dublin, Manchester, London and as far afield as New York, not forgetting my annual shows in my Buttermarket gallery.

JC: What artistic medium do you use and what inspires your art?

FM: For my landscapes I always use very fine cotton stretched canvases and acrylic Liquitex paint. My work is very fine and detailed and the Fermanagh landscape with its flora, sculptured drumlins and patchwork fields come to life on these canvases. Donegal is also a favourite location of mine but wherever I go in Ireland I am always on the lookout for that special view. It has to have that magical ingredient which makes it inspirational enough for me to want to paint it. At the moment I really like to paint dramatic skies. Autumn here in the west is great for the rich coloured skies, winter for the stark trees and spring for the fresh green flora. People say that my paintings are uplifting and joyous which gives me great pleasure to hear.

JC: What does your art mean to you and how would you describe your artistic style?

FM: I am often asked which is my favourite painting and I can only say that it is the one I am just working on or the one I have just finished . I get completely involved with each individual scene. I will only work on one painting at a time, each one will have a different feel and character but always it can be only be recognised as a 'Frances Morris.' My style could be described as contemporary landscape. My work is part of my every day life and I could not contemplate ever 'retiring.'

JC: What are you up to when you aren't making art?

FM: I look forward each day to meet and have conversations with my friends and customers in my studio here in the Buttermarket. It is great to be able to work in such pleasant surroundings, not in isolation as some artists have to. I have spent a wonderful few days visiting Achill Island and just recently I travelled the Wild Atlantic Way through Donegal, right up to Fanad Head. I have had great inspiration for new originals for my Summer exhibition which I am already looking forward to.