I have just finished creating some resources for a teacher in Bristol who is going to do an A level Art project about me! It was a very strange thing, writing a biography about myself but it did make me think about what I had done in the past, and where I’m going.
The teacher, Babs, wanted photos of my painting and of the different painting techniques I use. Looking back on some of my early work, I was surprised by how many ideas had resurfaced in the last few years. The paintings above are very old but I’ve used materials and objects, just as I’m doing now in some of my book illustrations. After many years of painting ‘straight forward’ watercolours and acrylics, I’ve come back to playing and experimenting, which I love!
What I also notice in this early work is an exploration of emotion and expression through colour and shape. Again, after spending many years painting Mediterranean buildings and farm animals (which I still love), I have returned to former subjects. In recent years, I did a foundation in Art Therapy and even had the good fortune to do artwork with psychiatric patients for a while. Whilst doing a PGCE, I also found myself drawn to the SEN children and to helping them with their work and behaviour.
In another life, I would love to have been an Art Therapist but I could never afford the time or the money to do the full course! One of my recent children’s stories is all about colour and emotion and I was able to create illustrations that combine children’s drawing with more realistic paintings of their expressions. Maybe having children has helped me to rediscover some of these lost themes?
In a way, I seem to have just gone around in circles but I hope that along the way my experiences of life have given me something deeper to draw from, for instance having children, being married and working with challenging students and patients.
To me, it’s important to keep moving forward and to keep challenging myself to improve, and an important part of that must involve looking back from time to time.