Lawyer-turned-painter's world of make believe is hit with celebs

PUBLISHED: 15:50 08 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:44 07 September 2010

Artist Annie Newman

Artist Annie Newman

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

BY Tan Parsons MERMAIDS, superheroes and dragons are the stock in trade of a Highgate-based painter whose clients include some of the UK s biggest celebrities. Annie Newman is an artist and interior designer who works in Highgate and Hertfordshire, and he

BY Tan Parsons

MERMAIDS, superheroes and dragons are the stock in trade of a Highgate-based painter whose clients include some of the UK's biggest celebrities.

Annie Newman is an artist and interior designer who works in Highgate and Hertfordshire, and her clients include David and Victoria Beckham and shoe designer Jimmy Choo OBE.

She also lists Arsenal football legend Dennis Bergkamp and his wife Henrita Ruizendaal among the A-listers who have used her services. She paints abstract art for both children and adults, but she especially loves losing herself in the imaginations of her younger clients.

"A lot of parents are very happy to indulge their children these days. Girls want to have their rooms decorated with princesses, mermaids, butterflies and fairies, while boys like superheroes, cartoons, footballers and dragons," she said.

"When I finish their bedrooms the children always tell me they can't wait to sleep there - it's fantastic immersing myself in the images they want."

Being discreet comes with the territory of having celebrity clients, so Ms Newman was not at liberty to disclose the exact nature of her work in her most famous customers' homes.

She said: "It's very nice working with high profile clients, and mine are all absolutely delightful. Of course I have to be discreet, but also very intuitive - I always try to visualise what it is they want and to make them feel safe and comfortable.

"My dream is to work for Kylie Minogue - I'd love to decorate her home. I think she's been incredibly strong the way she has dealt with breast cancer and I think she's a great role model for women."

Ms Newman was herself diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, and the experience has shaped the way she works.

"I think the search for that hope is really at the centre of my work. I do a lot of happy painting for children. I try to paint from the heart and let the brush do its work."

Ms Newman was educated at the Stella Maris Convent in Devon, where she developed her love of painting but, like her siblings, she went on to train as a lawyer.

She said: "The rest of my family are all lawyers. My mum thought I was joking when I told her I was going to be a painter. I suppose I'm the rebel of the family. I started to paint people's homes professionally 10 years ago when I was working as a PA to a very rich Arab Sheikh living in north London.

"He knew I enjoyed painting and he asked me to sort out his home. I think he was pleased with the job I did and I've been doing this for a living ever since."

Anyone wanting more information should visit www.annienewman.co.uk or call 07946 047 959.

Ms Newman is also holding free face-painting sessions for children on February 23 and March 22 between 2pm and 4pm at Highgate Library in Shepherds Hill. All donations will be given to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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