Describe your average day.
I have a tendency to be a little lazy, I do love sleeping! So, I set my alarm for 7:30am to make sure I don’t lie-in. I have a coffee and do some brain training, through an app on my phone, to ease me into the day. I then check my facebook page and email to see if I’ve got any orders from my Ebay account.
As I’m providing greeting cards as well as limited edition prints of my work, I print off any of the orders I’ve received, package them ready for postage. Then I start painting any commissions or greeting cards I have to complete.
If I have more than one commission I tend to work on all of them at the same time (if that makes sense!) I find that if I spend time concentrating on one, when I break off and come back to it, I can find things that need changing or improving. It’s been very strange painting my christmas cards in the blistering heat of the last few days!
What jobs have you done/do other than being an artist?
I was trained as an embroidery designer and then started a small business providing designs for the textile industry, for 10 years, until all the design work went to the Far East (being much cheaper than we could provide them!). I then went into teaching business and IT as a main grade lecturer in Further Education. Since being made redundant I have taught in prisons and done various jobs.
I’ve always thought of starting a business providing commissions of peoples pets. I did a few commissions whilst working full-time, though the time I needed to complete the paintings meant a distinct lack of sleep.
Initially, I felt that I was only capable of painting animals, however, I was asked to paint cars and people. Scary though it was, and definitely out of my comfort zone, I managed it to a reasonable degree and came to love painting everything!
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I recently painted a collie called Basil. He had passed away the previous week and his owner’s daughter asked me to paint him as a surprise for her mother. I felt very emotional painting him, he was the most gorgeous dog and it was such a shame that he’d gone.
The painting took 3 weeks and I posted it, hoping that Kat’s mum would love it. I always find it nerve-wracking that the portrait will be how they expect/want.
This was Kat’s response;
Thank you so much for getting in touch and thank you so much for the incredible painting that arrived safely this morning. It is absolutely fantastic, my parents are over the moon with their surprise.There were lots of happy tears.
I hope it was ok to do so but we have shared Basil’s paint and links to your page on our Facebook page for all our followers and visitors to the farm to see. We will be in touch very soon as we would really like you to do some of our horses for us.
Kind regards for now and thank you once again
I know it probably sounds a bit twee but I’m so glad they liked it; it is very important to me that my customers do.
Is the artistic life lonely?
I am quite comfortable in my own company. I listen to the radio or music whilst painting. The only problems I do have is I get the wobbles that I’m going to make a success of the business. My partner has passed away so I find it difficult sometimes to make business decisions without bouncing them off him before doing anything. Luckily I have some very close and supportive friends that help and support me.
How do you work and what media do you use?
Erratically!! In Watercolour.
Do you rage against the machine or use computers to create your artwork?
I taught ITC so am ok with computers – though I think things in that area are going ahead in leaps and bounds that I’m getting left behind! I use a Mac to print off my greeting cards and limited edition prints with an A3 printer.
Which other artists inspire you?
I love Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein, Dali, Kandinsky, and Giger
What is your dream project?
I’m not sure this is a dream project but, I would love to have a house in the country, with land. This would let me have animals, a veggie plot and a studio so I could spend my days looking after the animals and veggies and paint all day. It would have to have broadband though!!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Mum told me if I couldn’t decide what to do, don’t do anything.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My goal is linked to my dream project. Again, I don’t want to sound twee but I love to paint for people to enjoy my artwork. I don’t want to make millions; just enough to be comfortable.
What superpower would you have and why?
I’m not sure, I think I would like to have 20:20 vision without glasses or contact lenses, but that’s not a superpower. Perhaps transportation; being able to travel from one place to another instantly. Then I could visit my best friend for a cup of tea and a hug in Vancouver!