An Accidental Artist

Having never painted before the Summer of 2015, I have since sold many hundreds of original paintings, made regular business trips to NYC and received coverage through national & international press & media  ... How on earth did all this happen?!

Although I have shared my story of how I became an artist many, many times over, I thought it would be a good place to start as my first blog.  I am no writer - so all I can do is write it as I feel it, here goes ...

I have never studied art; in fact I can't really remember doing much at school.  I favoured maths and science, ultimately studying for 'Marketing & Accountancy' degree, and my 20+ years in business were spent in various advertising agencies in London and overseas, and a number of global marketing roles in large multinational businesses.  Although I hadn't acknowledged it through my life, I can now see I was always a creative soul with a business-minded brain. And I have come to realise that when all the strands of my life and loves came together, it became quite a powerful combination.

Fast forward a few years: living near the beach, married to Paul, three much-wanted children and running our own branding and design business 'float the boat'. It should've been the 'dream' I had been working towards, but all was not perfect.

As with most people, we had weathered a few of life's storms and I had been struggling with a real lack of fulfilment and an increasing feeling that I had something in me that needed to get out. It felt like 'the best was yet to come' although I had absolutely no idea what that was going to be. 

Then, one summer's evening I happened to watch the BB2 coverage of that year's Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition. It was a real lightening-bolt moment. I was tackling an ironing mountain, the family milling about, and I said "I fancy painting something.  I'm going to buy some paints tomorrow and start ..." And I did.

So with a handful of canvases, paints, brushes and palette knives I started, and couldn't stop. All I remember is that for the first few days I barely slept - ideas were flooding out and I have no idea where from!  I was totally overwhelmed how I seemed to suddenly be able to draw, create and interpret ideas.  Most of all I seemed to be driven by an instinct with colours and expressive abstracts.  I make no apologies that I paint instinctively: from the heart & whatever is in my head. Very little is planned and I certainly never paint from a scene or photograph.

I knew immediately that I had to do everything I could to become a full-time artist as soon as possible.  Within a fortnight I completed any outstanding marketing projects I had been working on, and managed to secure my first local exhibition of my work a month later.  

From the very first painting I have been sharing everything I was producing on social media. I was now beginning to sell my first few paintings, and three months later I was astounded to realise I'd then sold in excess of 200 original pieces.  I was beginning to feel like a 'real artist'.  

The obsessive, prolific painting, limitless ideas, the power & reach of social media, hours and hours of working, as well as my intrinsic commercial brain have all helped with the success of this past year.  So much has happened, I can barely believe it myself: I have exhibited in New York, sent work around the world, and I have recently launched my own textile range based on my original paintings.  But the successes of the year have been no accident.  I have never worked harder, with so much passion and an overwhelming need that I HAVE to paint.  I often say to people "If you think this is an incredible story, try living with it".  Painting has completely taken over my life and therefore the lives of my family.  It has been all-consuming and not always easy to adapt to a very different 'mummy' in the house. I am still adapting to this new life and every day I can see our landscape shifting even more.

I am, however, finally comfortable about calling myself 'an artist' (albeit an accidental one!).  I continue to work every moment I can, grab every opportunity that comes my way, and I have a million ideas still buzzing around in my head.  

The months ahead are building to be the most exciting so far as an artist, not least the commitment I've made this year to paint 1,560 to help raise funds for The Royal British Legion's 'Poppy Appeal'  but I think I'll leave that for future blogs ....  Sally x