I had a varied and interesting working life before coming to art, mostly in veterinary and human nursing and mental health, and I haven’t had a formal art education. I learn from every painting and drawing I do, taking small improvements or observations with me on to the next. I gaze for a long time at other artists’ work, working out what I like about it and why they’ve chosen certain brushstrokes or compositions. I’ve learned from art books and DVDs, and from weekend courses tutored by artists who paint in the loose, impressionist way I love, such as Haidee-Jo Summers, Andrew Pitt and Roger Dellar.
Partly due to my ongoing health issues and coming to art late, I’m driven to keep progressing: I go out regularly with Urban Sketchers London and attend weekly Life Drawing classes. An untidy corner of our dining-room is my studio, where at least I don’t have to tidy my work away every day. By exploring a wide variety of media and subjects I’m gaining a great art education.
One of the reasons I paint is because I’m excited by the challenge of how to somehow get the feeling and essence of a three-dimensional scene onto a one-dimensional surface. Anywhere I am, I’m usually wondering how I’d mix that colour or indicate that shadow. And I paint because it’s so much fun. It’s frustrating, fascinating, and the learning is most definitely never-ending!