I was always very creative as a child, drawing and colouring at every opportunity (including all over my maths homework)
I was born with Diplegic Cerebral Palsy. One of the effects of Cerebral Palsy is that it can cause a learning impairment which meant that I found school very challenging, especially in primary school, but I had no problem with being creative.
I did not do much with art until I was 18, up until that point I was only really doodling on printer paper with my Poundland pencils.
I really struggled with the high school curriculum when it came to the arts and I really did not have the most inspiring of teachers – I believe his words were “you cannot draw” – charming I know!
So my art journey only really started back in 2010 on a one day Paint a Fairy, watercolour workshop with my local adult education service in the West Midlands. I remember the day well, I turned up very shy and timid (I was back then) wearing my Meatloaf T-shirt and the first thing Sean said was I am loving the T-shirt and the rest is history. I enrolled on his 6 weeks “Learn to Draw” course and that was when I felt my artistic flame ignite. I fell in love with graphite and I have never looked back, this was where I mainly focused on drawing portraiture; my love for coloured pencils and drawing animals came much later on.
I continued under Sean’s tuition until 2017 and we still remain good friends to this day.
In 2014 my grandad brought me my first set of Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and it was not until 2016 I was able to convince Sean to finally run a coloured pencil workshop and this is when I fell in love with coloured pencil. Up until this point, I had a very interesting relationship with colour, I did not want to have anything to do with it; I wore very little colour (my wardrobe was nearly all black clothes) and any new project that involved colour I refused to do and did it in graphite instead, Sean was very good about it all and allowed me to improve on my graphite drawings.
But since discovering the beauty of coloured pencil and rebuilding my confidence, it is now my favourite medium to work in, although graphite will always have a place in my heart.
I did take a little bit of a break from art (although not completely) between 2013-2017 to study an AAT Accounting Qualification to which I am now a qualified member of the Association of Accounting Technicians.
Shortly after I achieved my qualification, I got married and moved to the beautiful location that is Cornwall. I continued with my art on a part-time basis while working part-time in accounts. I found a little class which was run by the lovely Tamsin and it was here that I found my niche in doing Pet Portraiture.
I made the decision towards the end of 2018 to finally become a self-employed artist and honestly it was the best decision I ever made. My planned career as an accountant did not quite work out the way I had hoped, due to a series of unfortunate events meant that I was unable to focus on learning my new job. I quickly learned that it was not the job/route for me, every single day in the office was a battle, it depleted me mentally, physically and emotionally. It was at this point I started to realise the importance of my own well-being not what made other people happy – up until this point this is what I had been doing.
But every cloud has a silver lining! Two days before we made the mutual decision for me to leave the job I got a phone call from a lady asking if I would draw her two horses for her who had sadly passed away; and this was where it all started, the beginning of my career as an Artist.
I must admit I was unsure at first but I was living with my husband and his parents at the time so then was as good of an opportunity as ever, I am a full believer in the universe and that everything happens for a reason; it is fate because deep down it really was something I wanted to do and something I know I am meant to do.
My art journey continues while I am growing and expanding on my abilities to make sure I can capture your beloved pet or loved one. Like every journey, it has its ups and downs but I have stuck with it even through the tough times. People do tend to have a tenancy to tell you to “give up”, “get a proper job” or “it is hard to make a living from art – there is no money in it” But I will say if art is your passion and your dream and YOU believe that you can, then YOU will make it.
It is funny how we are very quick to give up on an idea or a dream if other people do not share the same vision.
Although I can no longer attend my ar group as it dispanded due to Covid I still continue to expand on my drawing skills via Patreon where I follow an amazing tutor called Bonny Snowdon.
I would also like to give my wonderful grandad a mention, he has been one of the people who has always encouraged me to draw. He was very creative, he was able to carve the most wonderful animals from bits of wood; He never pursued it and he wishes he had. He always said to me that “these day jobs will come and go, but art will stay with you for a lifetime.”I will never forget his words. Sadly grandad passed on to the spirit world in 2020, but I feel him with me every time I draw, I know he is still supporting and encouraging me from the spirit realm.
For me, art has played an extremely important part in building me as a person and gives me great pleasure to be able to create drawings of people’s loved ones and beloved pets that bring them so much love and joy.