This is my life: artist Joanna Habgood
I’m very excited about to show you all the first ever This Is My Life on Muddy. I love these kind of features, seeing how interesting people plan their days, and how they juggle work and home life, how much of themselves they have to give to succeed professionally. Hero, from Muddy Bucks and Oxon, is also gloriously nosy so she went over to visit artist Joanna Habgood at home to get the skinny.
Jo Habgood (above) is just lovely – a mum, art teacher and now emerging artist in her own right. Based in High Wycombe, she is represented by the EyeLike gallery in Beaconsfield.
Welcome to her day.
7am: I get up, showered and dressed and have a cup of tea – it’s very important, I can’t function without one! I lay the breakfast table for the kids, shoo them along, and at 8am I drive them up to school. It’s only a three minute drive away which I know sounds ridiculous but it’s a really steep hill!
8.15am: I get back home and slip into my painting gear. It’s like a uniform – I have three pairs of scuffy jeans and three tops to choose from, as acrylic paint doesn’t come off easily, then I make another cup of tea,and make sure the house is tidy and I’m organised for my teaching work – I can’t concentrate on my art unless everything else is in place, it’s like I need permission to create. Then I walk across to my tiny studio opposite my house, and put on some music to get me in the mood. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are my all time favourite band, and Fleetwood Mac too, but I’ll also listen to Radio 2 – I’ve given up on Radio 1 since Chris Moyles left!
9am: I start working (with another cup of tea in hand) and will keep going until 12pm if I’m teaching that day – I work in the afternoons at a Beaconsfield school apart from Fridays when I have the whole day to work on my own stuff and Eyelike commissions. If I’m in the mood – and I really do have to be in a good mood otherwise my work is very dark and more like therapy than art – I’ll just work through until school pick up, I can get incredibly involved in my work. I am very experimental with my work, I love to use texture and layering, scraping techniques and whatever else comes to hand. I mostly work with acrylic paint these days, I found oil took too much time and took too long to dry. Maybe I’m not very patient!
4pm: I’ve collected the children, and have to ditch all art to do the mum stuff – tea, homework, clubs, showers, reading. The kids are 8 and 13 so they also stay up in the evenings until 8pm and 9pm so I don’t tend to work evenings generally. It’s my time to switch off.
8pm: Exhausted! If I’ve been teaching I really am ready to collapse, as it’s like being on stage all day, being on form for the kids, trying to inspire them, being around constant noise. I love teaching, but by the evening I’m not in the mood to paint. There are exceptions, like when I have a commission I have to get done. I’ve been known to have art works out on my granite kitchen surface, and I’m madly varnishing into the night – it’s the best place for a really flat surface and no dust, that’s what I tell my long-suffering husband.
9.30pm: Neil and I will watch the TV together, it’s our one hour of total relaxation. We’ll often order a local Eat Thai (they’re amazing, I totally recommend them, we use them so much we’re friendly with the owner!), then settle down to Silent Witness, or Game of Thrones or Not Going Out. It sounds a bit boring but it’s so hard to find the time and energy. I did go to the Royal Standard in Knotty Green the other day with some of the mums at school though, so I do make it out sometimes!
10.30pm: I go and read in bed (by which I mean fall asleep). I don’t like to read anything too racy or depressing so I really like Sophie Kinsella. The light is off by 11pm and I drift off to sleep, dreaming of paintings to come.
For private commissions, contact Jo via EyeLike Gallery, 18 Gregories Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 1HQ Tel: 01494 677566.