Best laid plans
So my plan was for this blog ,as it says in the subject, asking local artist the same questions and get a flavour of their style and help promote them locally. Why I thought it would ‘fit’ into one blog, I have no idea. Here is plan B where it is a separate blog per artist.
What inspired you to become an artist, and how has your journey evolved over time?
I have loved art and drawing from a very early age. Both my Grandparents were good at drawing, my Grandad taught me how to draw a steam train at just 5 years old. Sadly he died when I was 6 but my Grandma gave me a collection of weekly drawing magazines they collected from the 1920’s. They covered all aspects of drawing and I loved copying them as a child. I still have all the magazines. After I finished my A Levels I knew I always wanted to be an artist. I did a year Art foundation degree course and then a 3 year Scientific Illustration degree which I loved, mainly drawing and painting animals. Jobs were quite limited for illustration at that time so instead I got a job locally as a Graphic Designer at a local Advertising company. After just a year my career at the company went in a totally different direction and i went down the managerial route and ended up being the Production Manager of the admin and design team. My artwork was put on a back burner for a number of years, occasionally doing portrait commissions for friends. When my boys were young, I was looking for Artwork for their rooms and I was a bit underwhelmed by a lot of the artworks on sale so I decided paint my own canvases for them. Facebook was growing and I posted the paintings, which trigger commissions – before long I was regularly doing people portrait commissions, then quickly got into pet portraits and my little side line business started to grow. I loved the idea of my artworks on printed products so I started to draw a lot of animals again and found a lady who printed my art on products. There was so much restriction in this as I had to order in bulk and I couldn’t personalise anything. So I bit the bullet and bought the equipment to print everything myself. I set up an Etsy Shop where I sell my products. All this was done in the evening after work when my boys were asleep. Then Covid hit, after being furloughed and returning to work, I realised that I could no longer do both jobs and left my job of 27 years to become a full time Artist! Very brave but my best decision to date.
A year later I found that there was a weekly Art group called Colourwheel Fylde Coast across the road from my house in Ansdell. I contacted the lady who ran it and said if they ever needed any help let me know, she invited me to the classes and not long after asked me to teach a new evening class. This was a new art challenge which I have absolutely loved and since September last year I have been teaching at all 3 classes, which have approximately 85 artists! This has helped my skills evolve as we teach every medium and a wide range of subjects.
Can you tell me about your creative process? How do you approach starting a new piece or project?
A lot of my work is now commission based so I have to liaise a lot with the customer in order to get the very best images – this is such an important stage. Getting the initial drawing accurate is so crucial so I spend a lot of time drawing the outlines, getting the proportions right before I start on the detail. I love drawing detailed artwork and I am a perfectionist. I take a lot of photos of my work throughout the process – sometimes it’s easier to see from photos where something isn’t quite right.
When I am working on an artwork that I am going to teach, I have to think very carefully about each stage of the drawing/painting so I can show the students different techniques on how to achieve the outcome. I am still learning lots of new techniques along the way.
What themes or subjects do you find yourself drawn to in your artwork, and why?
I am always drawn to animal subjects. A lot of my artworks show the relationship and bond of a parent with their offspring. I try to capture the intimacy, whilst portraying the strength, beauty and power of the animals.
Could you share a memorable or significant moment in your artistic career that has had a lasting impact on you?
There are lots of wonderful moments when customers receive their artworks and are overjoyed. I do quite a few portraits that combine photos of loved ones which have passed away with other family members and the reactions to these have been so lovely and often emotional. Teaching for Colourwheel art classes has had a big impact on me, its combined my 2 passions – motivating and encouraging people and my love of art. I wish I had discovered this earlier.
Are there any particular artists, movements, or styles that have influenced your work?
I follow so many different artist am I’m inspired by many artistic movements, so this is a really difficult question for me. I think Art is a very personal journey, every piece of art you see is different and every artist is individual, that what makes drawing and painting so special. Art is about finding your own Artistic Voice.
Where can people find your work/contact you?