WHERE IT ALL STARTED
In the box room - that’s where!
As I am pretty much self-taught and there is no formal fine art qualification to speak of, we’ll skip the ‘I was good at drawing in school’ bit and fast forward to when it really starting happening in around 2011 when, at the ripe old age of 44, I enrolled in some oil painting classes. Well, would you believe it - I took to it like a duck to water. Very chuffed with my middle-aged self, I decided to show off my latest efforts on my social media and to my surprise people were asking to buy them.
I mostly painted in a realism style back then and just about anything was fair game if I felt I could paint it. By 2014, I had a steady flow of commission work along with creating my own pieces which usually sold before the paint was dry. Happy days.
As I began to create more art and my social media following expanded it wasn’t long before I outgrew the tiny box room and claimed a corner of our conservatory for my ever-growing hoard of supplies, my easel and myself. In 2017, my conservastudio was born.
By this stage, work was being published in various art magazines and in 2015 my painting, Ena Harkness, won Artist of the Year for Flowers and Gardens at the Society For All Artists and exhibited in London.
As I continued to paint and take over more and more of the conservatory, my style was of course evolving and I wanted to experiment more with other techniques; palette knife painting being a favourite.
I began to do my take on abstract florals and began to evolve my own style.
Again, they sold pretty much straight away.
WHERE IT'S AT
The conservatory, that’s where!
I now have all of the of the conservatory as I was running out of space!
It does look rather tidy, doesn't it?
Rest assured it's usually a tip, with paint everywhere.
Where did the coasters spring from? Well, like most people, the onset of Covid in 2020 affected many people’s jobs and that included my husband who got laid off. Working in the oil and gas sector, this industry ground to a halt overnight.
I had seen acrylic pouring done and was fascinated but didn’t want to create big paintings, so thought I would try out something much smaller, – coasters and as I am continually learning my craft (it never stops), so it was with this technique, too; I gave it a whirl and in doing so, another string was attached to my creative bow - I was addicted.
My premiere sets were given as gifts as I wanted to gauge reaction. They went down a storm and people were asking me to create coasters and placemats to match their home furnishings and I decided to branch out with co-ordinating items such as vases, cheese platter/serving boards, trays and tea-light holders.
Placemat sets are on a commission basis only.
The textured florals are a mainstay and my recognisable style is evolving nicely. These creations have proved hugely popular and I still undertake commissioned work but only if I can see that a picture is going to translate into a great painting – so your bog-standard traditional-style portraits are out, I’m afraid. I will, however, consider most subjects for painting but only if it feels ‘right’.
The more I have learned over the years, the more particular I have become when it comes to taking on commissions as I do not want to just copy the image onto canvas with paint and brushes; I want to create a great painting and for that, I have to take lots of other factors into consideration before agreeing to it.
WHERE IT'S GOING
Just call me Mrs International
Many paintings are in private collections peppered around the globe.
Well, I am supposed say that I’m headed for the stars and all that…
But, in all honesty I am happy to continue to learn and hone my craft to produce the best paintings and create the best bespoke homewares for my customers that I can, and to let my creative business evolve organically the way it has to date.
Having now taken over part of the garage as well as the conservatory, we have plans to convert the said garage into an art studio with its own entrance so it is separate from the house.
As a self-taught, versatile creative with acrylic pouring, palette knife painting and fine art already under my belt, I am happy to continue on the same artistic path I have travelled on since that first little easel held it’s initial canvas in the box room.
Who else do you know that creates palette knife floral paintings, coaster sets with co-ordinating vases and tea-light holders alongside working on fine art commissions?
If you are new to me and my art, welcome aboard and enjoy the creative ride.
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