Mine is a classic story; I was advised to “drop” art at college since “it would never make me a proper livelihood” and so it took a health crisis for me to pick up a paintbrush and some oils once again, which was in 2006, by which time I was in my mid 30s. Those paints came to my rescue when they fell out of a messy cupboard one day, piquing my curiosity at just the right time, and using them came naturally from the start. Painting became like a daily meditation and really helped me on my healing path, plus it also opened doors of possibility. Within two years, I had been invited to exhibit as a regular at a prestigious gallery and so began a full-time art career.
My paintings have since been exhibited in galleries across several counties in the UK and beyond and are held in private collections internationally. More recently, I have focussed upon internet exposure. Diversification into digital processes is now allowing me to develop a multifarious combination of brushstrokes and digital techniques, making use of my experience as a painter and photographer to work in many layers on a desktop to create a new generation of artworks. This, combined with a a lifelong passion for textiles, has led to the creation of a collection of fabric designs for luxury scarves, bags and interior products. This appeals to my long-held conviction that art should not be limited to a small area of a wall but used to enhance and communicate positivity in all aspect of our daily lives.
My work is diverse but my core subject is ‘light’ or, more particularly, those moments of intense radiance that are as transformative as they are fleeting. Colours are vibrant and bold yet there is a subtle energetic quality (beyond the visual) that holds the potential to harmonise the emotions of those who are drawn to it. Both my subject matter and my style are open to continuous evolution in a journey that feeds a passion for art that never grows stale.
Read on for the longer bio…
Out of the cupboard
It was as though the oil paints found me as they fell out of the back of a cupboard one day during a period of my life defined by complete overwhelm and the cascading health issues that are known as fibromyalgia. For years, I’d followed a winding path with no particular career objective: I obtained an English Literature degree, which was followed by various different jobs, many years of self-employment doing a variety of things and then switched through necessity to all the high-octane pressure of a stressful corporate role whilst still freelancing by evening to make ends meet. So, you could say, none of those years felt anything like I was following my bliss and, combined with a divorce and raising a young child single-handedly, I was steadily feeling more and more overwhelmed by life. As if I needed anything else to “go wrong” as I began to question where this was all heading, my health started to fail me in the most bizarre and alarming ways and I found myself increasingly unable to cope with my job or, indeed life itself as my physical condition unravelled. The jumbled mess that came tumbling out of the cupboard looked exactly like my life and the unused paints that had been forgotten about at the back of all this mess felt like a metaphor for the colourful and promising daydreams of my youth that I’d put down prematurely and mislaid many years before. When had I lost my way so badly; to the point that I could hardly recognise my life as the one I had imagined when I was growing up?
Yet something told me to unscrew the lids on those tubes, to make those first tentative marks on a blank white surface – that was in the Spring of 2006. Painting in oils came naturally and these paints smelt strangely familiar, behaved predictably and seemed like old friends. In a sense, I had arrived home.
Six months later, circumstances orchestrated around me in a way that allowed me to give up conventional work to reclaim my health and I found myself painting as often as I could. My first impulse was to assume I needed to “acquire” technique and so I enrolled on a day’s mentorship with internationally renowned artist Caroline Hulse FRSA with a view to going on to one of her longer courses. At the end of that day, Caroline told me I was a “complete natural” and should just go off and experiment, so I did. A chance conversation led to a very smart gallery, one that I would have assumed was well out of my league (though they apparently didn’t think so), inviting me to exhibit a collection of my work in their next exhibition and I never looked back.
Alongside my eventful journey as a self-taught artist, I have been on a parallel one – towards health or “wholeness”, as a recoveree from fibromyalgia, CFS and myofascial pain syndrome. At the same time as pursuing this return to health, I also started to spend much more time walking in nature, noticing how being outside, where my preoccupation became photographing moments of intense light, accelerated my recovery process, however lousy my body happened to be feeling when I set off on these daily jaunts. I became increasingly drawn to bringing these experiences home with me and expressing them on canvas, which prolonged the feeling of being expanded far beyond how my body was actually feeling.
As I travelled further along this road, sampling various healing modalities and learning how to expand my own awareness in order to assist my own recovery, I became increasingly conscious that energy is absolutely everything. That is, thoughts and intentions are energy, objects are (slower moving) energy, we all exist as part of an energetic universe in which all things are intricately connected by energy; something my journey towards health and wholeness demonstrated to me, over and over again, in so many countless ways. When we “see” something, there is so much more going on that what our eyes take in at surface level and, when an artist paints their intention, they energetically connect with the viewer as well as connecting that viewer with an aspect of whatever it is that inspired them to create. I discovered that when that inspiration came in the form of a light-infused subject or a moment of intense radiance where time seems to stand still in the glow of its own serenity, those experiences could be felt through the artwork and could be transformative or even healing.
I discovered also that subjects such as these hold a particular vibration, a frequency, that can be felt by others and which can uplift them or even activate their own positive experience; as though they were there at the moment of inspiration. This is conveyed through a visual language that relies on balance, beauty and light; visual cues that we all know how to read because they are already ‘out there’ in nature, instinctively read by us from the moment we are born and capable of lifting our souls whenever we choose to tune into them. As such, the visual arts are able to tap into the broadest “unseen” realms of experience using what is visible as a prompt to the eyes; a reminder that activates memory and healing. If my own experiences are to be believed then, at the very core of this shared universal “language” of wellbeing and healing is “light”; the most central preoccupation of my art.
Fragmented into wholeness
If my crashing health had felt like an experience of fragmentation, of profound disintegration, then moments of light intensity seemed to serve as a reminder of the very return to “wholeness” that I sought. Even before I noticed the theme, my work started to look like an unconscious exploration of this motif of a journey back towards unity, typically conveyed as moments of supreme intensity and radiance (my earliest subjects were mist, fog and rather moody landscapes but, in parallel with my healing process, I moved on to where I was suddenly painting explosive sunsets and then moments of gentle radiance “being let in” through windows…). It began to occur to me, through my painting meditation, that sunsets represented to me that singular moment when all the diverse colour and contrast, the hard lines and structure of physicality begin to soften and fragment, drawing back together into their co-creation of the full-spectrum white light that is at the source of everything. In those fleeting moments of intensity, it is as though the oneness, or “one source”, that underlies everything in creation is made overtly – if temporarily – visible to the eye.
This is something that I found I loved to play with, not least through the theme of light streaming in through the ‘hard edged, man-made boundaries’ that are window frames, dissolving those structures away in the dazzle of light until the separation between inside and out is no longer so apparent (something which also seemed to be taking place in me as I healed). It taught me something else that proved to be so important to my own recovery; that, in order to return to this state of completeness, wholeness, unity and light, it had been entirely necessary to, first, soften and fragment or break apart until I felt scattered in pieces…just as I had watched happen in nature, time and time again. In other words, my own health ‘crash’ had been the gift that had broken me down in order to help me reformat myself in an altogether more cohesive and inclusive way, leading to a new kind of wholeness which is so much more than, though inclusive of, physical health.
Beyond the canvas
My journey from a place of “crashed” health towards a state of profound wellbeing fuelled such enthusiasm to share my journey with others that my first blog, Spinning the Light, was born in March 2011. On the back of that, I was then invited to publish my art-journey as an autobiographical story to be included in a best-selling series of books entitled “Adventures in Manifesting” which was published and released internationally by Älska Publishing at the end of 2013.
Another blog-space – Living Whole – was created in 2015 to further specialise into a topic close to myheart, “healthy and hollistic living”.
Meanwhile, the photography that underlies my painting has attracted its own audience, with images published and available for licensing and prints. My digital design work has grown out of that niche; which, in turn, has turned into the prolific fabric design collections I have created. Watch this space for news of a brand new collaboration with a UK-based company that prints to cashmere and other UK-manufactured fabrics produced according to my desire to adhere to the most diligent eco-conscious methods plus minimal carbon-footprint.
Over time, the use of digital editing to produce work I could paint from mophed into a deep love of digital processes in their own right. I found that I could work “like a painter” using these techniques, only so much more efficiently, realising results that were always somewhat elusive or prohibitively time consuming before. The demand for “affordable art” was constantly knocking at my door and I also longed to work faster to keep up with a surfeit of inspiration and so I decided to explore what digital art methods held for me and I’m still exploring! The hybrid work that is now emerging is the most exciting thing I have ever worked on and seems to be well-received. Its also a lot less messy!
Art for sale
Exhibitions and other art-related events are generally announced in the blog on this page and on social media. However, I do heartily encourage anyone who trips upon my work via this website to contact me direct if purchasing originals is of interest. You can also purchase originals from Artfinder. I now focus on digital exposure over three-dimensional exhibitions so these are the primary ways of doing business with me.
Digital artworks have now become my true focus, over original paintings (since most of my new work is now digital), thus it has made sense for me to distribute this art through a third party specialist that can offer the quality and sheer variety of presentation that customers now expect. I have therefore partnered with Zenfolio to make this possible. For more details, go to the Wall Art Print menu on this website to read about this option for owning art. Also, all digital artworks on this site link straight to the appropriate Zenfolio page where you can order customised wall art, delivered straight to your door.
When it comes to reproductions of my original oil on canvas artworks as a print, these can be purchased as canvas, metal, acrylic and paper prints etc. plus a variety of other printed products straight from the artwork’s page on this website. These orders are fulfilled by Pixels.com (also known as Fine Art America) for dispatch from two fulfilment centres – one in the UK and another in the US to keep costs and delivery times to a minimum. Orders are sent within one business day to same-country addresses and 2-5 days to the rest of the world.