Why I Love to Paint

My first memory of making a painting was an oil painting of Pegasus, even though looking back now it wasn’t a very accomplished piece of art I was quite proud of it and my Dad thought it was ace. 

I was born a Lancashire lass but grew up and spent most of my adult life in the Isle of Man. 

In 1983 I attended the IOM college where I trained as a classroom assistant and it was this that ignited my passion in art. A good percentage of the course was art based and I just loved every minute of it, from designing and making  friezes in the local hospital to completing a thesis on Manx Celtic crosses. Once I graduated from collage a spent many fabulous years working with primary school children and making art with them two or three times a week, for me this was complete bliss. At home I would mess about with arty projects like papier-mâché; making objects with beads, button, shells or any materials I could find to use, I always had something on the go. 

In 1999 a change in career and personal circumstances saw my art put on the back burner and it really wasn’t until 2008 that I stated to paint, I made a small studio space at the back of the garage and I set to work painting the Islands beautiful landscape. I had pop up exhibitions and exhibited in some of the Islands galleries. 

2010 was life changing for me. With my kids all grown up, my partner and I sold our house on the Island and bought a run down old farmhouse in France to renovate. We had eight acres of land to grow our own vegetables and rear our own animals; we had sheep, ducks, geese and plenty of chickens, three border collie dogs and lots of puppies, so I hope you can form a picture of a place lost in time and steeped in French traditions. We made friends with locals and worked hard at trying to learn French but it was the expat community that became our family and it was within this community that I met an artist running an art group. After a long hot Summer I was asked to take over the running of the art group; it became so successful that I had to run two a week. I also obtained a permit to sell my art at the markets so through the Summers I would travel from village to village setting up my table and easels and sell my little canvases of local scenes and of cows and chickens. 

After five years in France we moved back to the UK and settled in Warwickshire, I continued to paint on the kitchen table or in the garden shed. I exhibited my work at the 501 gallery in Leamington Spa and the Moreton Gallery in Moreton in Marsh in the Cotswolds. At this time I was working full time selling new homes and feeling very frustrated that my dream of becoming an artist was slipping away. I held onto my dream by going on workshops with some great artists; Paul Wadsworth in Cornwall, David Tress in Pembrokeshire and Lewis Noble in Derbyshire to name just a few, these workshops not only gave me direction and new skills but they kept my dream alive. 

In March 2019 my partner and I married and moved to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, I’m closer to my family here and it’s given me the opportunity to put focus back on my art.

I’ve had a studio built in the garden and I now paint most days, as my life has changed so has my painting, I am still painting landscapes and sometimes I paint sheep instead of cows but they are much more exciting and abstract. I love to pack up a bag with some paper and a few mark making tools and head off over the fells with my two border collie dogs. My marks and paint are an emotional response to the landscape, I work in an intuitive way making lots of marks, covering them up and unearthing them, I use collage too to build up an exciting and interesting composition, I love my work to have life, energy and colour. I am always trying new techniques and finding different ways of applying the paint. The world is a forever changing place and I want my art to always be new and respond to it in a unique way. 

This year I have been awarded a place on the art& RAW Talent Award; it’s a mentoring programme which nurtures emerging artists and finishes with a three day show at York Racecourse 23rd – 25th October 2020 

In November I will be off to Cornwall to take up a weeks residence in a unique workspace; I’m hoping this will bring a fresh new edge to my work and new opportunities.