I love seeing the thread that runs through an artist's work. It is highly visible with the paintings of Cherry Hood. You might know her from her Archibald Prize win in 2002 - her portrait was of pianist Simon Tedeschi. This year's portrait of fellow painter Michael Zavros (pictured, top) made her a finalist for the third time. She has also made the final selection in the Dobell and Doug Moran prizes. She is currently exhibiting at the Tim Olsen Gallery - until September 26.

Which five words best describe you? Solitary, focused, obsessive, loyal, open-minded.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since? My first job was as an illustrator for a packaging company after art school, (first time around) then I married had a son, divorced, travelled extensively in Europe studied in Italy, married again, travelled extensively throughout Asia as well as UK again, divorced, married again to my present husband who has two sons who lived with us. Travelled and lived in UK for four years. Returned to Art school NAS for 3 years, then undergrad and Hons at Sydney Uni’s SCA. Then Masters – wrote my thesis whilst living in Greece on and off for one year.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That being an artist is not just about making stuff it is all ideas, psychology and a certain life philosophy.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Finishing my Masters Degree.

What was the starting point for this exhibition? A move to the country 6 years ago.

What’s been your best decision? To move to the country.

Who inspires you? Reading what artists say inspires me as much as what they do. Gerhard Richter’s writing is very accessible and prolific so I guess he is the biggest influence. One I often return to reinforce my ideas.

What are you passionate about? Art and the land, especially sustainable farming.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? One of the most exciting moments was meeting with Nora Heysen after I had won the Archibald, I was totally mesmerised by her as she was someone I had admired and whose paintings I had grown up with. I would love to have known my great grandfather Sam Hood, he was a photographer and I have recently inherited a huge quantity of his work and writing, paper clippings and memorabilia so I am getting to know him in a way.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to be the best custodian of the land I live on.

What are you reading? I just finished Source by Janine Burke. Now I am reading about how to breed and grow better sheep.

images courtesy of cherry hood