Jane Seymour reveals how her love of painting has got her through some tough times and why she jumped at the chance to be in BBC1's Celebrity Painting Challenge, which starts tonight at 8pm
From Bond Girl to successful Hollywood star and busy working mum of four, Jane Seymour admits she loves a challenge, and isn’t afraid to take risks.
But the British born legend, most famed for her roles in Live and Let Die and long-running US series, Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, has had her fair share of heart-ache and been forced to navigate some emotionally devastating times with four failed marriages.
It was following the collapse of her third marriage that she found solace in art and developed her love of painting.
“Painting became like my therapy”, says Jane, 68, when she speaks to TV Times from her seaside home in Malibu, “It was part of my healing process. When I’m painting, I feel a calmness.”
Although “calm” was far from how she’d describe her experience taking part in the Celebrity Painting Challenge which sees six celebrities go head to head to learn a whole range of techniques from mentors Diana Ali and Pascal Anson under the watchful eye of presenter, Mariella Frostrup and discerning judges, Daphne Todd OBE and Lachlan Goudie.
Here TV Times talks to Jane Seymour…
TV Times: What appealed most about taking part in the show?
Jane Seymour: “I always love an excuse to be back in England and I’ve been painting for most of my life so I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn new things. Plus I love a challenge and anything that takes me out of my comfort zone.”
TVT: When did your love of painting begin?
JS: “I’ve never had any training but it started properly 28 years ago when I went through a really terrible emotional and financial crisis (after Jane’s third marriage ended). Painting became part of my healing. The next thing I knew it almost became my profession. I’ve had several shows and exhibitions in America and have been the official artist for the Olympics for America three times. Drawing and painting is like my meditation.”
TVT: Which challenge did you find trickiest?
JS: “I was looking forward to having a fun chilled time on the show but infact I had a very dramatic situation going on because I thought my home was about to burn down! We started filming at the time the Californian fires took hold and the flames came right up to my front door. Thankfully my gardener managed to save my house but it was incredibly stressful. I honestly thought I was about to lose everything and there I was in England painting a self-portrait. Not surprisingly when I looked at what I’d done it was a picture of a woman, gritting her teeth, desperately trying to hold it all together!”
TVT: How did you get on with the fellow celebrities?
JS: “It was a fantastic group and it was lovely to make some new friends. Whenever we had any down time we’d all sit around a big table and start doodling and drawing together. I loved Josie and it was fun to spend time with Lawrence because he’s a master of design. He could do any challenge thrown at him!”
TVT: Whose portrait would you love to paint?
JS: “That’s a tricky one! I’ve painted a couple of my co-stars in the past, Christopher Reeve (best known for the Superman films) and Joe Lando (from Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman). I’ve done lots of watercolours of my children and grandchildren and quite a few self- portraits. I’m happy to paint anyone who will stand or sit still for long enough! In the series we have to paint someone well known who posed nude. I’d never painted a nude before so that was definitely quite a challenge.”
TVT: Who are your favourite artists?
JS: “I love Chagall and the impressionist artists like Monet and I love Degas too because I used to be a dancer so I love all his ballerina paintings. For portraits it’s hard to look beyond John Singer Sargent, I think his paintings are extraordinary.”
TVT: When it comes to your career, you’ve worked non-stop, what do you think the secret to your staying power is in such a competitive industry?
JS: “I’ve been fortunate with roles but also I’ve played so many different characters, I don’t get type-cast, I wear a lot of wigs and I’m often unrecognisable. I’ve also never had anything strange done to my face. I made a choice not to have any surgery so my face actually moves which is always a plus!”
TVT: You’ve said before you like doing comedy?
JS: “Yes I’m doing a comedy right now with Michael Douglas, the second series of The Kominsky Project playing a grey-haired older lady. Michael and I have known each other for years but when I turned up on set in costume he actually introduced himself because he didn’t recognise me. That’s when I knew we’d got the look right.”
TVT: Which UK dramas do you like and are there any you’d love to be in?
JS: “I watched Bodyguard, I thought that was fantastic. I find it hard to commit to watching whole series but I’m so proud of our British TV and film industry, it’s not surprising we win so many awards around the world. People are always telling me I should watch Coronation Street.”
TVT: Would you ever be tempted to be in Corrie?
JS: “Absolutely! I think it would be great fun to be in a soap. I’m hoping to be in England this summer for a new show that’s in the pipeline so fingers crossed. My next big plan is definitely to work in England.”
Celebrity Painting Challenge starts on BBC1, Thursday April 4, 8pm