Sylvia Levine did not begin to paint until 1956 at the age of 43. She lived in Bristol, in the southwest of England, and attended some life painting classes at Queens Road to “stimulate her imagination” according to art dealer Alex Gerrard. At the outset of her painting activities, she went to the local art supply shop to purchase materials. The store clerk said, “You’ll need one of these,” and handed her a flexible palette knife. She discovered that she preferred the palette knife to brushes, creating pictures with thick, richly textured impasto. Also, having forgotten to buy canvas for her painting, she improvised by using the cardboard from a cereal box, and continued to use cardstock for many of her pictures, eventually switching to masonite as a support.