Artist Patricia Martinelli has many talents. Inspired by the arts from a young age, Patricia currently specialises in painting but also has a diverse background in acting, noting past performances in theatre productions, television programmes and her own solo comedy show. Here she tells The Impartial Reporter how her work as a painter has evolved from her theatrical experience, how she loves painting in the sunshine of the Mediterranean and how her late husband, artist Jeremy Henderson, was a great influence on her life and work.

JC: What is your artistic background?

PM: I was born into an Italian family with a strong influence in the arts. Two cousins are both artists in Tuscany and my mothers cousins, one a poet the other the painter, Voltolino Fontani 1920 to 1976, who was the founder of an artistic movement called Eaismo. I would spend long summers in Livorno as a child and a teenager. Eventually my heart followed my love of the arts and I went on to study Fine Art at Northampton Art School and Sussex University. Moving to London in the 1980s, I entered the Academy Of Live and Recorded Arts where I studied dance and drama, becoming a professional actor performing in theatre, television and radio. I have appeared in TV series' such as 'The Bill,' 'Bread' and 'One Foot in the Grave.' I also produced a short solo comedy piece which I toured internationally. My comedy show happened during a time when alternative comedy was at its height and my fellow performers Eddie Izzard and Julian Clary were all on the scene. I never stopped painting, sometimes my performances paid for my paints. My work as a painter has evolved from my theatrical experience.

JC: What inspires you art?

PM: I have been influenced by my Mediterranean background, my theatrical experience, painters and writers. Initially my interest was figurative, and I have pieces reflecting this still hanging in an important and special Soho Bar, but then it became narrative, using still life and objects almost as characters on a stage. Painters that I feel have had some influence would be 17th and 18th century Spanish still life painters such as Juan Sanchez Cotan and Melendez as well as others, Goya, Kathe Kollwitz, Mimmo Paladino and De Chirico Howard Hodgkins, for his great colours. Playwrights have also influenced my subject matter including Pirandello, Ionesco and Beckett. I spent many days with Jeremy in his Brick Lane studio surrounded by so many influential artists of that time. We would bump into Gilbert and George every so often as they promenaded around Brick Lane. Jeremy had an enormous influence on my work during that time.

JC: Where do you do your art?

PM: I would love to work in the sunshine on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, when I can I visit this special space in Spain. Most of the time I work from my studio in the Old Barracks, Boho. I crave light and on a good day I will paint outside.

JC: What is your most ambitious piece to date?

PM: All my works are ambitious, taking time and thought.

JC: What medium do you use?

PM: I work mostly in oils on canvas or paper. Oils are wonderful and love how I can move the paint around the canvas so freely and creating layer upon layer showing the time. I also use watercolours and charcoal.

JC: What are you working on at the moment?

PM: I've been working on a series for the past couple of years called 'Objects of Sentiment,' using objects that reflect certain emotional times in my life and that relate to my late husband the artist Jeremy Henderson. Objects that stay with me and are too precious to throw away. Sentimental toys from my daughters childhood and happy times. My paintings can take a short time or years. 'Time and space, Tempo e spazio' is a series of work I made over a period of years. Some works starting while Jeremy was well and then finishing after his death.

My most recent work which was exhibited in Belfast at The Hallows was 'Bits of Blue Card.'

When Jeremy Henderson was commissioned to create the enamel for The Clinton Centre, he used bits of blue card to make small studies on for the larger and final piece 'Manuscript.' The sketches of 'Manuscript' can be seen at The Fermanagh Museum.

JC: Do you exhibit your work?

PM: In the late 1980s and 1990s I exhibited in London at the Southwark Gallery, Soho, and others. Since moving to Fermanagh I have exhibited at Castle Coole Basement Gallery, Fermanagh Museum and the Clinton Centre. Parvis would have represented me in Belfast in the 1990s. I've had pieces in the Hallows Gallery, Belfast and Bushmills.

What I enjoy most is having an open studio in Boho.

JC: What do you do when you aren't painting?

PM: Most recently I've had to lay down my brushes as I have been planning and curating my late husbands work. Jeremy Henderson passed away ten years ago this year and his memorial showcase is now running at the Fermanagh Museum. The show was opened by the artist Neil Shawcross. The works I selected all have a personal connection. The show is called 'The Private man, The Public Artist.'

After 20 years of living in London I met Jeremy in a wine bar in Soho. We were married a few years later and moved into his family home in Lisbellaw. We had very happy times painting and sharing a studio in the house. Jeremy produced a show for an exhibition in London. Then I produced a show for an exhibition in Belfast. It was a very productive time. Our daughter was born in the home too. Jeremy Henderson was a great influence in my life and my work. He is very much missed.

JC: What does art mean to you?

PM: It can give me freedom but it can also make me feel trapped. I am happy though to live the life.