Stella Mackie was a very independent woman from a very young age. She was strong, determined, creative, funny and extremely quirky! She was also very attractive and her carefree attitude got the attention of many a gentleman, not to mention marriage proposals!

Although her marriage to my grandfather was short-lived, she was determined to be strong and provide for her young son Ronnie and so worked hard to make a name for herself as a talented and sought after after portrait painter.

I'll always remember the many quirky things she used to do when we were kids, like showing up at my parents' dinner parties as the grubby old cockney cleaning lady, making a big fuss and fooling everyone there as to her identity. Chasing my brother around with a very scary witch she had made using felt and plastacine that I will never forget! Stella had a quiet confidence about her and an inner strength that I've rarely seen since.

My own path as an artist when I reflect back on my life and memories as a child is serendipitous and I thank my grandmother for somehow instilling in me and perhaps subtly inspiring me to follow in her footsteps.