12654553_968150676573313_1785868348715267539_nHere’s a little catch up on how I came to put on a solo exhibition earlier this year.

I have always loved drawing and painting and throughout my childhood spent hours drawing my favourite footballers who played for my favourite team (Spurs).

I studied art at school and college but went down the graphic design route at university. I guess I never really believed a career as an artist was an option. Also my dad was a graphic designer (he died when I was three) and I decided I’d like to be like him so I’ve been working as a graphic designer on weekly publications for the last ten years. I really enjoy my job. It’s creative and I work alongside great people but if I think about what my ideal dream job would be it’s a full time professional artist.

I guess over the last three or four years I have turned my attention to trying to make this a reality at some point in the future. If it never happens that’s fine, I can live with that as like I say, I really enjoy my current job. If I make my living as a graphic designer for the rest of my career then I will have had a very enjoyable working life. What I couldn’t live with though is not giving it my all to try and make being an artist professionally a reality.

In March 2013 I had an opportunity to attend a four day life painting course led by Sheree Valentine Daines. I had been itching to paint more but my spare time seemed to disappear week after week, month after month and I never unpacked my paints. The course with Sheree made me realise I had to paint more as I loved it so much. One of the models on the course bought my painting of her which was encouraging.

I painted a little more often in my spare time but it wasn’t until I set myself a target at the beginning of 2014 to produce a sketch a day for January that I realised I could find time if I really wanted to. I posted my sketches on social media which made me feel accountable so on particularly busy days I forced myself to squeeze in a two minute sketch.

I signed up for a couple more short courses and attended drop-in life drawing sessions when I could. I felt like I could see improvement in my work and the better I became the quicker and more productive I became too.

January 2015 I decided to commit to a painting a day and surprised myself with how much could be achieved while still carrying on normal daily duties and work. It was a bit of an eye opener and has helped me to really use my time wisely when it comes to painting.

11892254_890162124372169_3220134729989329581_nI’ve taken part in an event called Pintar Rapido in London, held in July for the last three years. It introduced me to en plein air painting – outdoor painting. For the event, artists have to complete a painting in a day and then exhibit the next day. It gave me the bug for painting from life and I have painted en plein air many times in the last year. It is something I’d like to explore much more. The next Pintar Rapido event is in July this year.

Completing a few short courses, reading art magazines, taking part in painting events and producing more artwork led me to want to exhibit my paintings. I found The Fountain Gallery in Hampton Court and booked a two week slot which gave me about nine months to get a final group of paintings together. That takes us to February. I was pleased with how the show came together and loved the experience. I leant a lot about framing. I wrote my first press release and spent time promoting the exhibition on social media and hand delivered flyers to the local community so it wasn’t just about the painting. I sold 15 pieces and secured some commissions so I was very pleased, although it would have been a totally worthwhile experience even of I hadn’t sold any.

12795546_10156766196940413_8702576600768857877_nSince the show I’ve done a portrait demonstration at my local art club. That was also a new experience and one that took me right out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the evening and would like to do more in the future.

What next? I will be displaying 22 paintings at the Rendévous Cafe in Maidenhead for the month of June. I have a stand booked for the Landmark Art Fair in October. Pintar Rapido and another plein air event in July. In terms of my work I’d like to focus a bit more on portraiture. I love to paint portraits more than any other subject and I don’t feel my portfolio reflects this so I will aim to produce more this year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed catching up on the last few years art activities. I’m new to blogging so I’ll see how it goes. It seems like a good thing to do on my train commute to the day job!

Thanks for reading 🙂