I've always enjoyed art, particularly drawing, as the medium allows me to control the speed of work and create great detail. At school I was one of the more creative students and although I may have struggled to transfer my imagination onto paper, learning various techniques and applying them came naturally. I went on to develop those skills even further at A-Level college. Based in the textiles department, I experimented with paper-making, silk painting, batik, lino printing, felt-making and screen printing. However, drawing and painting were my comfort zones and I often drifted back into using those materials.
Slideshow of artwork retrieved from college portfolio (1990 - 1992)
At university I studied Art and Education as part of a teaching degree, although life, as it often does, took me in a different career direction. I fondly recall, however, spending most of a sunny day in my halls of residence bedroom in 1994, full of the excitement of youth, ready to take on the world, painting a close-up of a cat with a tiny paintbrush, and finding the peace I hadn't realised I'd missed since I moved away from home.
Fast-forward twenty-something years, and, having worked in retail, administration and office environments for the majority of that time, I felt I had seriously neglected my creative side, and was the worse for wear because of it. My inner artist was crying out to be released so I started doodling and dabbling, just getting those creative juices flowing once again. It wasn't until a close friend, who had an eye for artistic talent (*blushes*), commissioned me to create a painting for her home. It was to be entitled "Butterflies on Buddleia". It took about 6 months to think about, and around 3 months to finally complete, but I did it! The background was watercolour, with the detail of the butterflies and leaves being masked off and drawn in coloured pencil - a painstaking task but also a labour of love.
As most artists will tell you, they agonise over the response of the recipient: is it good enough, is it what they want, have I met their expectations? But these fears were unfounded and the positive comments I received fuelled that passion and started me on the road to build my confidence and refine my techniques.