Interview with Lesley Anne Ivory
Lesley Anne Ivory is famous for her cat portraits and Wentworth Puzzles made with her designs are very popular, such as Agnetha and Her Kittens or Gabrielle and the Art Nouveau Poster We were lucky enough to get an insight into her work with an interview:
What inspired you to become an artist?
My mother was an artist, so I grew up in that environment and I still have my mother’s portfolio. I adore cats, so they were a natural choice for me to paint. I have had many cats over the years; they are all very wonderful with such memorable personalities.
What materials do you use to create your artwork?
I start out with pencil drawings, after that I use watercolour and gauche. I like to be able to choose what I paint. I’m very careful when composing my scenes, to choose the right ‘purr-son dramatis’. It can take days to work out a composition and select the right cat.
Are there any artists who have especially influenced you?
Everybody! I’m not sure is I can narrow it down. Is it okay to say everybody? I really like Mary Delany’s work, with her intricately cut paper flowers. I really admire detail. I specialised in miniatures. I like Thomas Berwick too, for his attention to detail.
How do you feel about seeing your image on a Wentworth Puzzle? Does it seem strange to see your work adapted in this way?
Not at all. It feels very at home. I was brought up with puzzles. My grandfather was especially keen on jigsaws and we all enjoyed helping him: - but only as long as we didn’t put in the last piece. He reserved that for himself, and would be most upset if I got there first. In some ways puzzles can be more difficult than paintings.
Do you do puzzles yourself?
I don’t get much time, so it really is a treat. I’m currently working on Cats on American Festive days, which is very involved. It is nice to see my cats on jigsaws when I do make them. Agnetha (who features on Agnetha and her kittens) was my eldest son’s cat. Gabrielle (who features on Gabrielle and the Art Nouveu poster), I had since she was a kitten, along with her mother Muppet and Grandmother Gemma. Now I only have one cat Amulet (aka Moo-Moo), who is very protective. She would be offended if I got any more cats.