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  • Writer's pictureSue

Unleashing The Artist Within

A Colourful Journey of Discovery

I can’t wait to share my journey. I want to tell you about how I found my artistic spirit later in life and how I came to spend my free time with a brush in one hand and a canvas in the other. Join me as I embark on a colourful journey through memories, challenges, and triumphs that shaped my artistic path. Maybe I will inspire some of you that have your own dreams and desires. From painting by numbers in my school years (my first memory of enjoying art) to exploring the captivating world of watercolours during my teenage years, grab a cuppa and prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions, self-discovery, and artistic triumphs! Thanks for joining me on this nostalgic journey…

Over the years, I hit various crossroads in the battle for the most ‘sensible’ career choice, and science won over art. In a nutshell, I followed my head over my heart. As the years rolled by, I embarked on the adventure of marriage, raising two wonderful boys, and working in the pharmaceutical industry - a time when art temporarily got lost in the shuffle. I am a self-proclaimed hoarder and held onto every piece of artwork I had created during my teenage years, much to my husband’s delight. Each grew thicker with dust but also held an important place in my heart. You know what us ‘arty types’ are like…we are a sentimental bunch!

Just when I thought life couldn't get any more unpredictable, my husband's battle with cancer turned my world upside down. I cannot begin to describe that time; my heart hurts just thinking about it. Thankfully, he triumphed over the illness, but I started to feel a little lost. As my boys grew up and my husband immersed himself back in work, the emptiness became palpable. To top it all off, menopause joined the party and added a sprinkle of identity crisis to the mix…I know many women are nodding their heads in camaraderie. It was a tough time, but I wanted to take back control. Menopause should not define us.

But hey, remember that rebellious teenager with the paintbrush? Yes me! Well, my youngest son happened to be a guitarist in a metal band, and one fateful day, I decided to sketch him. Little did I know that simple act of artistic expression would ignite a spark within my soul. It all sounds a bit cheesy, but that’s precisely what it was like for me; it was my chance to embark on a journey of rediscovery. A journey that my poorly father wholeheartedly supported, making me promise never to abandon my artistic dreams again. Even today, I feel like a big part of me does what I do because of him and hearing his voice telling me to ‘chase the dream’. Dad, if you are listening, your words impacted my life more significantly than you could ever imagine, so thank you for having faith in me.

I will never forget when my husband surprised me with an acrylic painting set. Slowly but surely, it gave me the confidence to share my creations with the world. One day, a curious soul stumbled upon my artwork and dared to ask, 'Can I buy this masterpiece?' And so it began, my journey from artistic hobbyist to a full-blown businesswoman. Imposter Syndrome was still there, but this time I wasn’t listening…

The world went into lockdown shortly after, confining us all to our homes. It was an awful time for so many, but I grabbed the opportunity to let my creativity side soar, diving headfirst into abstract work. Fast forward to 2021, and I won the prestigious ‘Theo Pahpitis Small Business Sunday Award’. But awards weren't the end of the road; they were just the beginning. I had found my feet, and no one was stopping me!

In 2022, I took the plunge and participated in my first craft fair. And guess what? It wasn’t scary; it was empowering and exciting; I loved every second, and people loved what I did. Thus followed many amazing opportunities, but 2023 has proven to be the big turning point. I fearlessly (kidding…I was terrified!) entered a painting into the Chippenham Eco-Fest, and I won! At the age of 61, I triumphed, clutching my first-ever art prize with a mix of disbelief and pure elation. But the victories didn't stop there. Three of my artworks were accepted for the Awe and Wonder exhibition, a part of Fringe Arts Bath. The journey that began with painting by numbers had blossomed into a celebration of artistic achievement and recognition…recognition from others, and, finally, after many years of self-doubt, recognition of my own talents. I am good enough, after all.

Remember, it doesn't matter where you are in life or what age you find yourself. Anything is possible! With a paintbrush in hand, I discovered something that soothed my soul and helped me navigate the stormy seas of mental health. But be warned, side effects of art may include increased happiness, a renewed sense of purpose, and a vibrant outlook on life. Proceed with caution, but remember, life is more colourful when you embrace your inner artist.

You can wander round my world of colour here, I hope you enjoy the journey

sketchbook colour
Sketchbook colour

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