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I started my career with Duncan Grant as my main influence. I met him when I was 17 and he was in his 70s. I learnt from him the love of painting, how it can be your companion throughout life. The love and commitment he had is still a major influence on me today.

I went on to study under Kokoschka, at the Chelsea School of Art and finally at the Slade. I was 30 when I had my first London exhibition, which Duncan Grant attended. It took place at the Haldane Gallery in Bourne Street. The gallery no longer exists.

I have practised as an artist all these years because it is a necessity to me; it is the way I can express myself. It allows me to engage with and explore myriad sensations and thoughts, and to do so in my own particular visual language. This visual language has developed over the years, through working in the studio, through exploring materials, and above all through looking at art, which I have done assiduously since a teenager.

I also love to read. I read anything I can get my hands on to do with the theory of art and its history. This is both a hobby and a passion.

My practice is an attempt at understanding the natural world and being aware of its moods, rhythms and seasons. I have painted the same place, my home in Northern Ireland, for the last 55 years. Watching the sky, drawing in the woods and wandering in the landscape armed with my sketchbook, I am still surprised by the ever-changing combinations of colour and forms. They become more wondrous and complex with each year that passes.

We are proud of our prized cows and at different times in my life, I have drawn and painted and made exhibitions of these fine beasts. They have taken over the role of the studio nude. They are my models. I love to observe them in their natural rhythm, all rising to graze, moving in groups when it rains, resting and chewing the cud, never confused, irritated or unsure what to do.

I return to my studio filled with these visual observations. I then paint from memory in order to free my imagination.

I also have a studio in London. It is in London that I spend time in museums making copies, visit art galleries and have time with fellow artists.

My latest exhibition is based on Constable and his period working on Hampstead Heath. I have followed in his footsteps, painting small oils on the spot and making drawings which I have worked up in the studio. The great excitement was the studying of clouds and learning about Constable's commitment to the (then) new science of cloud naming. His studies have enhanced my understanding of his paintings.

The Heath used to be full of cows and Constable used them to introduce focus points in his paintings. It is now possible that these gentle herbivores will once again roam Hampstead Heath. I'm hoping they will, and that they will call their pastures Constable Paddocks. I hope that they will inspire other people to paint and to draw these marvellous creatures.

Lindy Guinness, artist

The artist's exhibition 'The Importance of Place' is at Browse & Darby Ltd in London until 26th April 2019.