''Art is not my hobby, it's my passion. My raison d'être. It defines me.
It's not so much the way I choose to make a living - rather it chose me, it gives my life purpose.
Engaging, mindful, challenging, rewarding, frustrating and exhilarating - it's the constant which keeps me connected to my childhood dreams and grounded in the present.
It keeps me excited about the future and what it may bring next.''
I’ve painted and sketched since early childhood and my favourite place to draw was the garden, amongst the old fruit trees and raspberry canes.
I was lucky to grow up near the coast in a family with a long association with the sea, and I am proud to say that my paternal great-grandfather was a bowman for the RNLI, Poole. I spent hours at the Old Fisherman's Dock, watching the fishermen mending their nets whilst my parents got the wooden dinghy ready for a trip to the beach or around the harbour islands.
As a student, I studied for a degree in Visual Arts & Geography at Lancaster University and I worked as an illustrator and graphic designer in studios in London and Dorchester. My dream job was illustrating the natural-history information boards for Dorset County Council, which were displayed throughout the county. As I wasn't allowed to sign my illustrations, I used to draw a particular little bird as my signature - but this idea completely backfired when I was asked to create a board on the Jurassic Period!
Having children opened up a whole new world to me. A need to paint my children's portraits grew into a passion to paint on a larger scale and to paint whenever and wherever I could. As a thank you to two of my children's infant schools, I voluntarily painted jungle animals on the hall windows in one and frogs in a pond in a reception and corridor in another. I also designed & painted scenery for several combined secondary school productions as well as a floor to ceiling beach mural on an office wall.
Outside of work, I sold my paintings via galleries and exhibitions and I entered Open Art competitions.
The full list is here: events:awards but two highlights from those 'juggling' years were: Winning the New Forest Art Competition, 2015 (youtube) and being one of just 50 artists in Artists & Illustrators Magazine's 'Artist of the Year 2017' at the Mall Galleries, London. It fulfilled an ambition to exhibit in this prestigious gallery, and it was especially moving that the selected painting was of the old fruit trees in my childhood garden.
I’m mostly inspired by coastal and figurative subjects, as well as the wayside flowers which I love seeing at the side of the road near my home. I find them so uplifting when I pass them. I usually paint these flowers in impasto paint applied with a painting knife on panel and I was delighted to be invited to write a blog on my process for Jackson’s Art, which you can read here.
Over time I was intrigued to see how these joyful impasto paintings would look on fabric, so I found a UK company to make beautiful, faux-suede cushions from my floral & coastal artwork. They are currently stocked by Seasons Green, the stunning seventeenth century gallery & artisan gift shop at Corfe Castle, Dorset. Seasons Green also have a selection of my original paintings, totes and cards.
New Beginnings March 2020
I gave up a job, just as Covid hit, so that I could finally paint full time. I'm painting in oils applied with brushes on gessobords, and acrylics applied with painting knives on cotton canvas panels and stretched canvas. At the beginning - while we were all home-based - I started my daily painting adventure with a series of home-inspired artworks, including garden views, the contents of my kitchen cupboard and favourite photos from previous travels.
April 2020: I was really grateful to have my lockdown painting 'Through the Square Window: Lockdown Day 20' selected as the winner of Artists & Illustrators magazine's 'Artwork of the Month'. Pegasus Art asked me to write a blog about this painting and my art (May 2020) which you can read here.
June 2020: I am delighted that my painting 'The Flower Stall' was selected in 'The Artist' category of 'The Artist and Leisure Painter TALP Open 2020'. It's such an honour to have been included in the top 70 works in this professional artist exhibition.
July 2020: More amazing news, I've won Painters-Online's (Leisure Painter and The Artist magazine) ‘Flowers & Grasses’ monthly competition! Big thanks to POL, Art Safari and Winsor & Newton for providing this fantastic opportunity.
August 2020: I'm feeling very privileged that I was invited to submit some of my coastal images to dress an empty shop unit near Poole Quay. Generations of my family, including my great-grandfather, would have known this area so well, as they lived and worked here. I am very grateful to Poole BID, the landlords, local businesses and agents who made this possible.
October 2020: I was delighted to find out that BOTH my submitted paintings were selected for 2020's ING Discerning Eye Exhibition - which is normally held at the Mall Galleries, London but this year was online only.
Beverley Knight chose 'Better With or Without?' and Mervyn Metcalf selected 'A Shadow of My Former Self'.
Both paintings can be seen in my portrait gallery.
2021: I now have a second outlet for my paintings and cards - Winifred's 1929 in Broadstone, Dorset. I tend to paint in series of floral, coastal and figurative works and I've recently noticed that most of my subjects are bathed in sunshine.
I hope this makes them happy and uplifting paintings to look at - and that you enjoy looking at them as much as I love painting them.
October 2021: The Start of my Current Urban Series: 'Painting the Town'
I started with a single painting of a high street shop, which rapidly grew to a series of eleven images.
Following requests to make my series available as a calendar and prints, I am delighted to say that I have done both.
My 2022 calendars sold out but due to the success of my first ever calendar, I plan to produce another - with a much bigger print run - for 2023.
Mounted and unframed A3 giclée prints (featuring nine of the shopfronts in a 3 by 3 square) are available via Winifred's 1929, Broadstone, Dorset. Individual shop giclée prints can also be ordered there (image size 8 x 8 inches - with a white mount to fit a 12 inch frame). Winifred's, Healthy Habits and Diana's Patisserie are the first three in the series to be available.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who has purchased a calendar and/or giclee print - your support and encouragement has been very much appreciated.
Please like and follow my dedicated facebook page for up-to-date updates.
My work has been selected for exhibition at the following galleries & Open Art Exhibitions:
The Mall Galleries, London: ING Discerning Eye Exhibition
The Mall Galleries, London: Artists & Illustrators Magazine: Artist of the Year
Patchings & The Artist Magazine: Artist of the Year
Menier Gallery, London: Coloured Pencil Society Open
RBSA Gallery, Birmingham: Coloured Pencil Society Open
Lynhurst Centre: New Forest Open (Winner)
St Barbe, Lymington
Southampton City Art Gallery
Mottisfont, NT Nr Romsey
Walford Mill, Wimborne
Upton Country Park, Poole