Browsing the art shelves in my local library I was surprised and delighted to find a monograph on the Cumbrian painter Sheila Fell. She was a protégé of L S Lowry who supported her and bought her work. Her career as a painter was remarkable for a working class girl - her father was a miner. Determined to break away from life in Aspatria on the Solway where she was born she won a scholarship to Carlisle College of Art and then went to London to study painting at St. Martins.
This must have taken tremendous determination as she was virtually penniless. She met Lowry after one of her London exhibitions when he bought two of her paintings. He became a lifelong friend and thought her the best landscape painter of the 20th Century. It was Lowry who encouraged her to send in to the RA. "You must join the RA Miss Fell they are a nice bunch of fellows and they make a wonderful cup of tea." Lowry urged. She was one of the youngest painters to be elected ARA and duly became a full RA and served on the selection committee.
Her inspiration was always the Cumbrian landscape where she grew up. ""I want to live till I'm 104. I've promised myself I will. It's what keeps me going when I worry if I'll ever have enough time to do all the paintings in my head." she told an interviewer. Ironically the remark was broadcast the day after she died after falling downstairs at her flat.
The link opens up a feature about her on the BBC Visual Arts Archive which carries a recorded item for download to 'Real Player'
Another link of interest posted by a member on Art and Artistry is:
Sheila Fell: a-passion-for-paint