I am an artist living near Dartmoor in Devon, England.
I never thought I'd be an artist. I was an academic child and ended up reading English at Oxford university, then working in journalism and publishing. I moved to Devon, had three children and eventually went into teaching English in a secondary school. Then something cracked.
At 19 I had studied fine art in Florence for a few months. I had always loved to create yet somehow I hadn't found the thing I really wanted to focus on - I was a Jack of All Trades: I knitted, crocheted, made jewellery and baskets, created soft toys and dolls, felted, potted, decoupaged... yet always I felt this restlessness.
It was only on leaving teaching, having been zapped of all energy and with my mental health in tatters that I turned to painting. It was a long grey winter. I opened a box of watercolours and suddenly, I was enlivened and nourished.
A friend told me about an online course on intuitive painting (Flora Bowley, Bloom True) and I committed. It was the perfect course - no restrictions, lots of freedom and fun. I was shown how to use acrylic paint and build layers of colour before finding the final image. This was a milestone for me – it freed me up and helped me find my individual style.
I took part in Devon Open Studios 2017, two weeks in September when all local artists show their work to our community. And the response was immensely heartening - I had a Marmite response! People either walked in, took one look at the bright colours and walked out again, or they walked in and grinned, stayed a while and said really nice things (and bought!) I felt I'd found the right thing - my niche, the thing I loved to do which also seemed to have a natural audience.
I paint joyful, vibrantly bright characters on canvas using acrylic paint, and I create more contemplative, quiet faces with mixed media on canvas or board, weaving words into them. I feel these two styles are the yin and yang in me and I need both in order to feel really satisfied.
I paint with a grin on my face, listening to music and not letting my head control what’s happening on the canvas. At my first exhibition in September 2017 my work was described as ‘full of joy’. I hope it puts a smile on your face.