piece of my mind: with Tess Newall

This month we have the beautiful decorative artist Tess Newall answering our questionnaire. With a background in set design, it makes sense that her delicate florals and bright Bloomsbury motifs are the prettiest around. She even counts Ceruado, Beata Heuman and Laura Jackson as fans. Tess is currently cocooning in Sussex, enjoying some fresh air in the midst of this madness...

what is your current state of mind?

It feels like a kaleidoscope, as I'm trying to choose colourways for a collection of painted mirrors...

if you could own any piece of art, which would it be?

Furlongs by Eric Ravilious. It was painted very close to where we live, and it's the harvest at the moment. I wish the farmers still made those lovely big haystacks. 

in another life you would have been...

An art therapist. It makes a lot of sense to me that words are only one abstraction of a feeling, and art can be a helpful medium of expression. I did a foundation course at Goldsmiths, and I often wonder "what if" I'd pursued it.

who is your real life hero and why?

The anthropologist Jane Goodall (I studied anthropology before art). She worked in Africa as a young woman in the 60s, revolutionising a male dominated field, and still campaigns for animal and environmental issues aged 86. What a woman. 

who is on your quarantine playlist?

Joan Baez

which piece from your home would you save in a fire?

A giant flower press that Alfred made for me last summer. I'm planning to make some wallpaper for our daughter's room using what's in there.

 what have you learned about yourself these last two months?

That I need time alone to think and feel free. I've been going for early morning swims in the sea before the rest of the house are awake.

what is your most used emoji?

The peach! I find it very satisfying.

what is your motto?

You can't read all the books. Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about all the things we could do. But you just need to focus on one track, make the best of it that you can, and remember to savour moments as you go along. 

who or what has taught you your greatest lesson in life?

My granny Jo-Jo; to find joy wherever you can, and not take yourself too seriously.

what is your idea of perfect happiness?
Cooking on a fire in the French countryside, with a camping mug full of red wine and a plateful of cheese. Bliss.