I’m grinning from ear to ear! I’ve had a busier than usual week which has resulted in a hugely positive result for me – I have been warmly welcomed in to a wonderful gallery called ‘The Frame Gallery’ in Odiham, Hampshire. Their list of artists is impressive – I’m honoured to be among them!
Every year since I began painting in 2011, I have set myself goals. My first goal was simply to make time to paint every day if possible. The following year, I aimed to take part in a local art club exhibition and every year since, slowly but surely, my goals got bigger, and so has my success as an artist. When I set my first goal, I didn’t even consider myself an artist, but this creativity has been building up inside me since I was a little girl, and now (thankfully) is coming out in bucket loads! My goal for 2018 was to achieve professional gallery representation outside my local area – its only April and I’ve done it!!!
I am constantly learning and I look to other artists who’s work I admire for inspiration. When possible, I attend workshops by those artists because even though I may not use the same mediums, or work from the same subjects, there is always something to be learned which can inform my own practice. More importantly, relationships are formed and these create an important support network. Being an artist can be an isolated existence when you work alone at home. There is often a niggling voice inside, questioning everything you do. Having friends in the same situation can be comforting during a ‘confidence wobble’, as can talking to more experienced artists who have ‘been there’ and come through the other side into success.
Some of my favourite artists who’s workshops I have attended over the past few years are Vic Bearcroft (pastels), Jean Haines (watercolour) and recently, Lisa-Ann Watkins (coloured pencils). You can see just how varied their artistic styles are. I predominantly use acrylics for my painting but everything I’ve learned from all the workshops using different mediums has definitely had a positive impact on my work.
Vic has been a wonderful mentor who introduced me to the world of exhibiting in wildlife art exhibitions. I still attend his workshops when I can as he’s a fantastic artist and teacher, and we’ve become good mates. Lisa has become a great friend and we are frequently in touch, bouncing ideas between each other and offering mutual support. Jean Haines has just become my super hero! I’ve attended 3 of her workshops over the past 3-4 years as I absolutely love her work. Her whole style and approach is completely different to my own, but as an antidote to my frequent use of earth-toned acrylics on feathers, I often enjoy splashing vibrant water colours around on paper – not the same as Jean’s work, but definitley inspired by her.
Last week at Jean’s most recent UK workshop (which I was incredibly lucky to attend because they sell out like hot cakes!), I plucked up the courage to show her a couple of my feather pieces – and I’m SO glad I did! Jean loved them and offered to put me in touch with her local art gallery. The rest is…well, not history, its my BIG EXCITING NEWS!!! I made an appointment with the Gallery, and I took along a selection of my painted feathers to show. To my delight, the gallery asked to keep all of them to display!! Words cannot express my excitement – I’m one step closer to reaching for the stars!! So now this blog post has come full circle back to the opening paragraph.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have this support from such an amazing and influential artist – Thank you Jean Haines, so very much! Likewise, thanks to Vic and Lisa who have both been so supportive along the way too. It’s one thing being determined and having goals and dreams but to have support from peers and professional artists can make all the difference – and this is what my dreams are made of! While I’m on the ‘Thank-you’s’ I’d like to thank everyone of my family and friends for your support – Hayley Jones, you’ve been my rock right from the start, THANK YOU ALL!
As cinderella once said, “A dream is a wish your heart makes”.
Dream big and folow your dreams! I hope one day I will be in the position where I can help emerging artists on their journey. Happy Painting Everyone! (Yes, I’m still grinning!!)
Here are two of the paintings which can now be seen at The Frame Gallery, Odiham, Hampshire.