Linda Hardy Back

I live in Matlock, in the Derbyshire Dales , and work full time at a country park in North Nottinghamshire.

My grandfather, who spent all his spare time making things (“Knick-knacking” as Grandma called it!) taught himself canal barge painting at the age of 80. That sparked my interest in folk and naive art, and proved it’s never too late to learn something new.

I started painting in my fifties, just for amusement and – never having had any formal training – am still experimenting – sometimes mixing acrylic paints and coloured crayons, sometimes painting a background then cutting out paper figures, colouring them and sticking them on. Being an animal lover, cats or other critters feature in most of my pictures, as do heritage buildings – a part of the English landscape that I really enjoy.

I love looking at naive art because it’s joyful, playful and makes me smile. In a world full of troubles it’s an escape into a simpler, more magical world. My favourites – besides the wonderful Henri Rousseau and Grandma Moses – are the naive painters of Haiti and the Caribbean. Those vibrant colours just sing! I’m glad the ABNA is helping to bring naive art to the attention of the wider public.