How I Started Off

 I wasn’t a particularly “artistic” child, other than between the years of 2 – 10 (but they are the formative years of course).  I was always happy to be drawing or painting back then (always in very bright colours) – and, of course, small children are always encouraged to be creative……

But this sort of encouragement tends to evaporate once you hit secondary school, and art just becomes one more exam to pass….

I did take my art O & A levels, but I don’t remember feeling any creative excitement during this time, so I stopped bothering.  Rather a sad period this; how many of us lost a childhood passion during our teens?

During my 20s I didn’t really give art much thought.  An A level in the History of Art had killed all interest in museums & galleries, and art didn’t really enter my life in any way – other than that I was an inveterate doodler (still am)……

But suddenly I was asked if I could design a cover for the monthly Toc H magazine (I was working for this charity at the time).  I took on the challenge with some delight and had fun with delicate pen and ink illustration.

I do vaguely remember going to an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition at the V&A round about this time, so the influence probably came from there…..

The cover I came up with (for “Light”) proved to be unsuitable for the magazine, but the kind editor loved the design and suggested printing them as Christmas cards.  This started me on a roll!

During the late 1980s & the 90s, I did no drawing at all during the year, but every Christmas I would design a new card.  Friends and family would say how much they looked forward to the new designs – so I carried the practice on for about 10 years all in all!

And then stopped….. life tends to get in the way.......

But I recently revived my interest in this very fine style of drawing – and so Ornately Cards emerged.

But how did these black and white illustrations evolve into the brilliant colours I now paint onto glass? 

The glass painting really is entirely separate.  In early 2000 I was recovering from a spell in hospital, where I’d had a brain tumour removed.  I had no energy, poor balance and developed very severe headaches if I tried to read or watch television.

So my wonderful mother suggested that the painting I’d enjoyed so much as a child might prove easier on the eyes – and returned from a shopping trip with paints, brushes and a How to Paint on Glass book!

(Looking a bit battered now, 20 years later!)

My very first experiment was a simple Chinese character painted onto a small IKEA lantern.  I loved the flow of the thin, slippery paint – not to mention the glorious colours!

I don't have a photo of that one - but here is another early IKEA lamp

And, of course, I had time to devote to the painting, as I was on long-term sick leave........

So often the big events of our lives come wrapped in small coincidences – just as simple as actually having some time in my life to pursue something important to me……


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