‘I paint because there is nothing in life I would rather do.’
In her younger days, Grace Gardner was described as ‘delicate’. So I expected to be greeted by a figure of frailty when I first met the artist at her home near Falmouth. As a young woman in Chicago she had been admitted to a tuberculosis sanatorium just as the bombing of Pearl Harbour took place, plunging her country into the Second World War. The outcome of long months of treatment in those days was far from certain. Grace and her fellow patients, conscious of their vulnerability, were plagued by fear about their possible fate at the hands of the Germans or Japanese, should the United States be invaded. Though she was discharged after nine months, it would be a further five years before her health was fully restored.