Deborah Levy’s work inspires a devotion few literary authors ever achieve

Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian:

Last August, the author Deborah Levy began to sit for her portrait. The starting point was a selfie – eyes penetrating, lips sensuous, head topped by a tower of chestnut hair. The artist, her friend Paul Heber-Percy, used Photoshop, then a pencil and tracing paper, to reverse and multiply the image of her face, until he had a drawing, neatly laid out on a grid, that satisfied him.

Then it was time to paint. He liked to work in the mornings, in hour-long bursts, in his tiny attic studio. When Levy came for sittings, he’d bring the painting down to the dining room, and the two of them would drink tea or wine, and talk. Not that these were sittings in the traditional sense, but “times I could observe her without feeling self-conscious”, he said.

Sometimes they’d discuss Levy’s new novel, August Blue, which she was finishing; but mostly it was “everyday things – friends, the news, exchanging recipes, how to unblock a sink”, said Levy. But, Heber-Percy told me, nothing about these conversations was really everyday. She is the sort of person who makes the mundane remarkable.

More here.