| 7.9°C Dublin

My cultural life: Gemma Billington, painter

Close

Gemma Billington

Gemma Billington

La Danse by Matisse

La Danse by Matisse

/

Gemma Billington

Painter Gemma Billington was born in Killorglin, Co Kerry, one of 10 children - nine girls and one boy. She emigrated to the UK in the summer of 1980. A mother-of-three, she studied sculpture, painting and photography as a mature student and since has had numerous solo exhibitions in London and Ireland, and group exhibitions in Dublin, London, Kerry and New York. She divides her time between her farm in Berkshire, England and Glencar, Co Kerry, where she is inspired by the landscape. She is a dedicated practitioner of Kundalini yoga, which involves breathing techniques, sets of yoga to keep the body subtle and energetic, and meditation to keep the mind sharp so that one can navigate their way through life being joyful, confident and full of vitality. You can see her paintings at gemmabillington.co.uk and for more on her yoga style, see jaimakundalini.co.uk

Movie: The Field

My favourite movie would have to be The Field, based on the John B Keane play. It draws me into the mentality of the Irish farmer, trying to make a living from the land, the rocky acres that are cleared of stones by hand. I resonate with this hugely, especially during my times in Glencar where I see this whole drama being played out daily by the farmers.

Painting: La Danse with Nasturtiums

Close

La Danse by Matisse

La Danse by Matisse

La Danse by Matisse

I love La Danse by Henri Matisse, but La Danse with Nasturtiums - which is a follow-on - I particularly enjoy, because of the painting-within-a-painting theme. It's at the Met but I saw it some years ago at the Royal Academy and was seduced by this seemingly accidental effect of the figures on the canvas dancing around a real vase of flowers. It diminishes the boundary between the real and the artist's work - the energy literally spills out of the painting and engages me like no other painting.

Book: Wilding

The book that I am engrossed in at the moment is a book by Isabella Tree called Wilding, about the return of nature to a British farm. I like this because I am certain it's the way forward with farming, allowing farming to rewild itself; not all land needs to be a place of conventional food production. I am particularly interested in how the land and nature can nourish each other. I know it's easier said than done, but even if we only have a small back garden or a window box, we could all create an environment for the bees and insects.

TV show: The Happy Pear

I am currently watching The Happy Pear 5 Minute Recipes. Firstly, I love their recipes, but aren't twins Stephen and David Flynn such entertainers, full of enthusiasm and a joy to watch. They walk their talk; I am full of admiration. What they do is clearly their passion and how great is it that they both have the same passion. I feel they have turned the old-fashioned image of vegan food around and display how much fun it can be to be vegan. And they make me laugh out loud.

Design: iPhone camera

This is a difficult one to choose because I love podcast too. My iPhone camera is so insanely quick and I feel it encourages me into looking for the details in nature. My camera is my second way of seeing, it draws me to other details that I would probably not spot without getting a close-up with my camera, so yes, it has got to be my greatest companion when out walking - after my dog Finn - and I spent a lot of time on adventurous walks in Kerry.

Sunday Independent