From a young age, I was always an Artist. As a child I would design costumes, draw pictures, create patterns and designs and paint pictures, never knowing what it might lead to.
In 1998 in England, (my country of origin), I opted to study Visual Art along with Teaching and graduated in 2001 with a BA honours degree in Visual Art with qualified teacher status.
In 2002 I moved to New Zealand and started my teaching career in a remote town in the South Island. I always enjoyed teaching, but my main love was teaching Art and sharing my passion and watching the children become inspired and engaged. I found the general day to day life of teaching in a busy primary school very stressful and exhausting.
I started to paint and draw as a way to relieve stress and my love for creating grew even more.
By 2010 I had quite a collection of landscape paintings and people were starting to commission me to paint their favourite scenes. I started to wonder if I might be able to make a career out of the thing I loved to do the most.
In 2013 I was selected to represent New Zealand at an international event called the 'World Art Games' which was held in Croatia. I couldn't believe I had been selected and still look back at this opportunity as an amazing experience and chance to collaborate and learn from Artists from all around the world.
On returning, I was fortunate enough to be selected to exhibit in a local gallery and I am in the middle of preparing for another group exhibition right now. The landscape paintings I create are vibrant, bold and simplistic. They are a representation of how I view New Zealand and are a direct contrast to the landscapes I grew up with in England. I include smooth blends and stylised forms as a way of conveying a purer and more natural landscape and lifestyle.
The thing I find the most difficult about being an Artist as a career option is that to support a young family, I need to have a steady income that I can rely on. Selling paintings is always exciting and wonderful, but it isn't reliable enough to pay the bills. While I would love my own painting to be my main source of income, I rely heavily on the facilitation of Art lessons to provide a steady income for our family.
Over the last few years I have work in schools as a teacher and a visiting Artist and have also provided professional development to staff who are wishing to up-skill their teaching of Art. I have worked in several schools as a mural artist and have involved the children in the design and production process and have also worked as a resident artist involved with older students to create an art installation in the Lincoln Library.
2016 also saw the start of private Art lessons for children and adults which has been hugely successful. But I guess what I am finding is that while my love for Art and creating my own Art is what I live for, the joy I get from sharing my passion and expertise is also pretty high on my agenda.
Towards the end of 2016 I took part in the 100 day project where I had to create a piece of art every day for 100 consecutive days. While I started with the theme of landscape pen drawings, my work quickly evolved and took on a new direction. I started to love the ease of drawing with a pen and how quickly I could accomplish something. I started to research zentangle and mandalas and fell in love with a whole new way of creating and expression my ideas. While the subjects differ widely they all have one thing in common - they are all hugely important to me. My favourite ink drawings are portraits of my children - the most important thing in my world. The intricate ink patterns became a form of productive meditation and provided relief from the stresses of day to day life.
The 100-day project kick started a new way of thinking and has lead me to where I am now: creating a diverse mix of work for an exhibition, loving the Art Education I am involved in and planning the next step of my Artistic Career.
Sometimes, the journey is the best part of the process and while I search for my artistic career destination, I know that each step I take is adding to the beautiful ride!