I have been painting the island and it’s people for the last 25 years. I work primarily on location for composition as it makes the pictures more dynamic, it also means you have a better sense of place. I try to add a bit of fun and humour, bringing in seaside holiday fun. My work is predominantly created with a fine liner or dip pen and coloured using artists watercolours and a sable brush.
I was quite young when I decided to be an artist and apart from a brief interest in being a nurse it was all I wanted to do. Early success with local painting competitions and receiving a Plessy Design award and Rainey Petrie Art award at school set me on the right path and after getting A’levels in Art and Design (A) Technology (B) I studied a Foundation in Art at Salisbury Technical College. At the end of the foundation year I struggled to decide what to do next and ended up with a place on a fashion and pattern cutting degree, a graphics with illustration option degree and also on an HND in Illustration at Falmouth Art College.
The course at Falmouth seemed the best fit and although I enjoyed the illustration side of it I really came into my own on the outdoor landscape painting module. At the time I was really into oil paint but after a few disasters with torrential rain and wind I found joy with a new medium, pen and watercolour. The pen meant I could get in all the details and the colours was quick to add (and dry unlike the oils). One day I was painting on the beach and a large group sat down next to me obscuring the view, I painted them in and was pleased with the result – this was the start of my busy style. I graduated with a portfolio of quite unusual editorial oil paintings with a political edge and some landscape paintings I loved.
Back on the island I went back to job at Chessell Pottery which I ended up doing for nine years on and off whilst working in my own time on paintings, I painted and made the ceramics as well as shop and coffee shop duties. I started selling work in a mix of styles, straight watercolours, bright stylised bold acrylics, driftwood 3D collages with intricate beach huts made from lolly sticks and sawn wood, even clay mermaids with fabric tails. It happened to be the detailed pen and watercolour which took off and I enjoyed most although I still make things and paint larger oils and acrylics for myself.
I had my first exhibition of work in the gallery at Chessell and until recently have continued to sell prints there. I left the pottery to further my career in art and design and worked designing homeware for Readers as well as studying for a Certificate in Education and running evening classes for adults.
My break through was a solo exhibition in the rope store at the quay arts centre in Newport in 2005, it was hard work building up such a quantity of work but the exhibition was a success and I haven’t looked back. In recent years I have exhibited in the Readers shop in Newport as well as at The Garlic Farm in Newchurch, mostly I sell my originals through the summer shows and events and through Burfields in Ventnor.
I now stock shops across the island as well as having a stand at local shows and events, as well as the prints I have branched into my own homeware ranges and paint a wide variety of commissions
My love of the water, walking and cycling has taken me to (almost) every bit of the island and I have enjoyed capturing the unique essence of each place and its people in my work. I hope you enjoy my paintings as much as I have creating them.