I didn't train formally in art, preferring to focus on the sciences until I left formal education. I always loved working on the detailed illustrations of flora and fauna during my Biology studies, and this is where my interest in painting started.
I paint in a little shed in the woods near my home. It's lined with Laura Ashley wall paper and filled with reference books, jars of shells and photos of fish, fruit and vegetables. I also have a secret supply of Galaxy chocolate and dried figs. I work in the company of my paint splattered radio, but also flip through my iPod. It is fortunate that I'm situated in the middle of nowhere as I do play it rather loudly.
Our vegetable garden was born out of our rather uneducated and idealistic desire to produce everything we needed to feed our family. There are several months of the year when we're entirely self –sufficient, but it's become more than just a “plot” in many ways. It provides me with fresh, lush (and not always "beautiful") vegetables and fruit to illustrate.
The garden is laid out in very accessible beds, with some smaller for trials of new vegetables I'd like to introduce, both for painting and eating. And a great offshoot is that our three children have become very interested in having their own fruit and vegetable patches for growing, eating and selling their own produce for pocket money.
In terms of painting, there is nothing more inspiring that harvesting seasonal vegetables and fruit to paint. I just have to remember to shake off the mud from my boots before I go tramping from the vegetable beds straight into the studio. The colours are so far removed from the sometimes tired and bland selection found in a supermarket.
As a book illustrator much of my work remains between the pages of cookery, natural history and gardening books, but I do exhibit too. Right now I'm part of an exhibition at The Porthilly Gallery in Cornwall (www.porthillygallery.co.uk). Having been brought up on the north coast of Cornwall I find the other side of my illustrative work is very much orientated towards the seashore and its flora and fauna. I have an absolute passion for illustrating marine life, both in the context of cooking and conservation.
Anna Koska’s website: www.annakoskaillustration.com
Follow Anna on twitter: @Gremkoska