I’m a Freelance PA, living in the Wiltshire countryside with my husband, Alan. A city girl for most of my life, I moved here in 2015. It is since moving to the country that I have rekindled my love for art and creativity.
When I moved to Wiltshire, I wanted to find out what my new home had to offer, and began investigating groups and courses that were of interest to me. These included yoga and art classes but I also volunteered for a few hours each week at the village gallery.
I wanted to be part of the community and to meet new people, and this was a great way to do this. I’ve always had a love for the arts and studied art at school and gained an ‘A’ at GCSE. I was also passionate about English – Shakespeare, Keats and the wonderful Alan Bennett as well as singing in the school choir. I studied some of the great artists in addition to the set curriculum at school because I was intrigued by them. I remember at a careers fair when I was around 15, I went straight for one of the stalls of a creative company keen to find out how to get into a career in the arts. But, I remember someone saying to me ‘ohhhh, it’s very competitive’ and at that impressionable age I decided that it would be too hard and so took a different direction.
I have always been drawn to photographers, artists, designers, those that work in the arts, because really, it’s what I wished I’d pursued as a career. However, I’m almost 42 and still see opportunity – to express myself through art, writing and photography. My aim is to start a blog in the next few months that gives me a platform to share this with the world. So, as well as volunteering at our local gallery, I signed up for art classes with a wonderful retired artist –Jane Barne. I am also going down to St Ives in Cornwall in the Summer this year to do a pottery course at the famous Leach Pottery. I’ve done pottery classes before, but this will be a full 5 days of learning to throw on the wheel! I am inspired by ceramicists such as Pip Wilcox, Tilly Hemingway and Julia Smith. Having spent my working life in front of a computer I envy the skill creative people have, to immerse themselves in something that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. Since starting art classes locally, I’ve had the opportunity to paint sat in fields with views that go on for miles.
I have also recently invested in my first DSLR camera, so that I can also take photos of things that interest and inspire me. This Spring I will be doing two photography and styling workshops in Bristol run by some inspiring bloggers/photographers, which again, I hope will help me learn to express my own style and inspirations more.That is the key to all this – finding your own style, which I am still discovering as my work progresses.
It was a bit daunting starting art again, and I still get overwhelmed when looking at a blank page. But, I recently entered a piece of my artwork into a local exhibition and sold my painting – my first sale! I was voted in the top 5 from 35 entries. This really helped boost my confidence. It is hard not to compare yourself and criticise your work, but you just have to start. One of my friends, a client of mine recently bought me the ‘One Sketch a Day – A Visual Journal’ book and encouraged me to draw something every day – even it is just for 3 minutes. She is a writer herself, and explained that even though she doesn’t always love writing, she loves the result, and so sets herself the goal of writing something every day. So, my advice is to just start.
If you’re not sure about which direction to take, investigate short courses or one day workshops to give you a taste of the subject you’re interested in. From there, you can decide if you want to learn more, and find out about further courses you can attend. For me, without a doubt, I am most interested in drawing aspects of nature. For example, I love the form of a simple, yet ancient and beautiful fern which grow in abundance where we live. Sometimes the most uncomplicated design or pattern drawn is the most effective, in my opinion. I’m also interested in illustration, and love the work of Gemma Koomen for example; her work is whimsical, homely and often based around nature. I also love the work of Peggy Dean– her botanical illustrations are beautiful. I own some of Gemma and Peggy’s artwork myself – which inspires me in my work.
A fantastic resource that I’ve discovered is Skillshare– online lessons on everything from photography and art, blogging and design to pottery and more. It͛s a great way to get started with learning a new skill in the comfort of your own home. They offer a free trial, and then their monthly subscription is very reasonable.
If you are interested in crafts and the work of creatives and makers, a great audio series to check out is the Makers Broadcast. This series features interviews with some interesting makers.
I am also learning to knit – completely envious of anyone who can knit their own jumpers or socks! There is something about becoming more self-sufficient that appeals to me too. My husband is very much in to nature and making things, and gives me the inspiration to do the same in my own way.
So, I plan to continue to learn and grow creatively, to expand my skills in art, pottery and knitting, and to write more; to start my blog and encourage others to pursue their dream, no matter what path they have taken in life, or how old they are! Visit my blog http://littlepieceofwonder.co.uk/