So where to begin? This is my story all about me and my journey through art and becoming an artist.
I have always enjoyed art from a young age, but it wasn’t till I was 21 and joined an art and painting class for a hobby. It was where I am exhibiting right now with The Eye Project, that I was praised and guided by a tutor at Adult Education College on Wellington Street. I was encouraged to take art more seriously. It was her confidence in my abilities that aided me to pursue going to college to do a diploma and from that to go on to do a degree in Fine Art.
I had 2 of my 3 children at a young age so my art journey has taken longer. That and my eldest daughter having special educational needs. I feel it has helped me where I am today, studying as a mature student. It has given me so much confidence in my abilities and I have gained so much experience and knowledge, but have also been able to meet some interesting and creative people along the way.
When I was a child the main inspiration I got was from my grandad, he was also an artist and when I was young he used to create artworks alongside me. It was him who helped influence my decision also to try and take up art on a professional level, although it being under sad circumstances. He had an incurable brain tumor and it was his dying wish for me to not let my talents go to waste, those were his exact words. Admittedly it took me a long time to pick up a pencil and sketchpad, I was 18 when he died.
Artists who have inspired and influenced my work have been Van Gogh for his mark making, O’Keefe for her style of painting. But also artists like Dali, Chagall and Da Vinci for their style of work.
The theme I’ve selected for The Eye Project, is Light & Dark. I selected this because of the processes in which I use to create my art works, they are created using tonal shading, where I make my work dark and then use an eraser to make them lighter. They are inspired by natural forms, butterflies, leaves and birds, but also whatever captivates my eye at the time, for instance my Angel of Light piece, which is of the angel war memorial, outside the Town Hall of Leicester.
Being an artist at times can be tough but what inspires me to keep picking up my pencils and brushes is my love for what I do. But over the years if I have ever came across a stumbling block, I’ve found it easier to put work aside, but not out of sight, just to have a break then go back to it when I feel ready too. For instance, the angel of light, I created years ago but it was only half finished. One day I decided to pick it back up and to start that journey again, and from that I have created a series of works on that subject matter.
The way I go about creating my works is to keep an artist journal, with that journal I write down all my ideas and do small doodles. Most of them don’t come to fruition but a few have stood out and have been pursued. For instance, my ivy leaf drawings – to me they were doodles, up until I sold two at an art exhibition and from that, again I have created a series of drawings, put them to one side for other projects and eventually gone back. They are currently on exhibition at the eye project.
I have not always been an artist through having children and studying, and have dabbled in different work from bar work, cleaning, helping with children’s events, childcare, door to door sales, shop work, working on a community magazine, charity work and also helped set up my own art classes.
What I enjoy the most about being an artist is getting lost in what I’m doing, I find it relaxing and peaceful, I couldn’t imagine a life not being able to do what I do. If I could give any advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career as an artist it would be, to be patient it takes time to establish who you are as an artist, to find your niche in the art world. As well as spending time creating your artwork, also try and focus on the business side of things, as it is not just an artist you are becoming, but an accountant a web designer an advertiser and much, much more.
Another key to getting out there would be to join a group of other artists and grab every opportunity available to you. At the minute I am also trying to bear those ideas in mind and put to life all those things. I heard a brilliant saying that if you throw enough mud at the wall it eventually sticks, and I also got told by a friend that, “If you can’t find your ideal job, then create your ideal job”. That is exactly what I am trying to do. I have set myself small goals, to exhibit and sell art works. To promote myself on social media sites and create my own website, but to also teach art and crafts to people of all ages and abilities.
I have really enjoyed being a part of The Eye Project, it’s been a privilege to work alongside other artists from Leicestershire. I wish you, whoever’s reading this and the artists involved huge successes and hopefully we shall get to work with each other again one day.
Thank you for reading my post.
Anna Lou x