YORK Open Studios participant Malcolm Ludvigsen is also exhibiting his plein-air landscapes at Osbourne's at 68, Gillygate, York, at the same time. "This restaurant on Gillygate hosts exhibitions every couple of months, and they also serve an excellent lunch, as well as homemade cakes," says the prolific painting professor.

"I do like having an exhibition with a captive audience, obliged to look at my pictures while devouring lunch and eating cake. It may seem excessive doing York Open Studios and an exhibition at the same time, but I have a house full of paintings and it's good to get some off my hands for a while, and there are more than enough left over for Open Studios."

All the oil paintings at Osbourne's at 68 were painted outside in the open air, directly in front of the subject. "This, I suppose, is my speciality and it's what I like doing, but it's fraught with danger and unexpected difficulties," says Malcolm. "I thought I'd experienced everything that could go wrong: I've had canvasses blown away and swept off in the tide; I've been mobbed by horses; cows have tried to lick the paint off my palette.

"I've been stung by horse flies – you should never paint in a meadow wearing shorts! – and dogs have cocked their leg over my painting box three times, but last week something new happened."

The rain was bucketing down in York, but the internet weather forecast said, surprisingly, Scarborough would be sunny and quite warm. "So off I went to Scarborough for a day's pleasant painting in the sunshine, but when I got there it was lashing it down, a gale-force wind was blowing and it was cold. What I'd done was look at the weather in Scarborough USA rather than Scarborough UK! Anyway, not to be outdone, I found a rain shelter facing the sea and did a painting from there, which turned out rather well and I'm quite pleased with it."

York Press:

Professor Malcolm Ludvigsen: encounters with Stephen Hawking

In Malcolm's "previous life" as a theoretical physicist, the professor's work brought him into contact with Stephen Hawking. "The recent death of my colleague Stephen Hawking has led many people to ask about my encounters with him," he says. "Working in similar fields– relativity, black holes etc – our paths crossed on several occasions, particularly at conferences and seminars.

"The last time I met him was at a conference on the Greek Island of Salmos. After the conference dinner, where large quantities of Greek wine were consumed, he actually joined in the Greek dancing, swirling round and round in his wheel chair to the claps and cheers of everybody.

"The first time I met him was at a conference in Brussels in the early Seventies when we were both new graduate students and he still had his own voice, though very slurred. I remember asking him about the work he was doing but all I could understand in his reply was the word 'time' which he kept repeating. I kept nodding my head thinking he was saying something profound until I noticed him pointing at his wrist! It was with considerable embarrassment that I realised he was just asking what the time was."

While on the subject of time, Malcolm is to give an evening course of ten lectures on that very subject at the University of York in the autumn term, organised by the Centre for Lifelong Learning. "The course is called The Nature Of Time and is about what modern physics tells us about time and its properties and it'll be open to anybody willing to pay the fee," he says.

Malcolm will open his studio at 34 Belle Vue, a cul-de-sac off Heslington Road, on Saturday and Sunday and April 21 and 22 too. His exhibition at Osbourne's runs throughout April and May; opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday; 11am to 4pm on Sundays.