Paula Rego by Eamonn McCabe

Paula Rego began painting as a young girl at home in Lisbon. She came to school in England in her teens and went on to study art at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. However, much of her work refers to her childhood memories from Lisbon and her Portuguese roots. Rego has consistantly used paint and printmaking techniques, as well as collage, but drawing has always been the foundation of her practice. Her drawings are where she plays, sketching freely and swiftly, testing out ideas or visualising thoughts as they come to her. Drawing was an escape route into her imagination and later, as an adult artist, she used what she calls ‘imaginative scribbles’ to get herself started when she became creatively stuck. The relationship with Curwen started in 2002 following a meeting with Stanley Jones in London. Rego had been dissatisfied with her attempts at lithographic prints and, with Stanley’s encouragement, she started editioning at Curwen. The first prints were based on Rego’s interest in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. This was to form the basis of a series of 25 prints to be shared between Rego and the Marlborough Gallery. Her working method was to develop ideas in her studio and then take the drawings to Curwen to be translated into lithographs. She pursued a process of experimentation, trying all the various forms of lithography, from stone, to zinc and aluminium plate; sometimes combining the processes together. Choosing the colours was also a demanding process in which careful consideration had to be achieved before leading through to the final proofing stage.