Updated: Jan 12
I'm a strong believer that art shouldn't be a stuffy elitist indulgence but an accessible-to-all part of everyday life. Looking at it, creating it, thinking about it, talking about it and just being around it.
For well-being and balance in a crazy busy world, I feel it is a necessity to function properly, in a similar way to sport. A release and a life-affirming experience that can bring peace, pleasure, sensory stimulation, escapism, engagement, confidence, social interaction, endless benefits really.
I'm not talking about hanging out at art galleries pontificating and reciting the history of art, more about appreciating and exploring colour and shape during a normal day because it feels good.
I can see it in my own children, how it can help them de-stress, express, exercise their creativity, explore ideas, take control, but, most of all, have fun.
Painting is something I do because it makes me happy and I feel most like me when I'm doing it. But recently I've become more conscious of the positive effect putting myself out there as a professional artist can have on others. I went into journalism because someone I knew was doing it and I thought, if they can do it so can I.
Have had some lovely conversations with youngsters recently who want to know my thoughts on arty stuff and their latest creations. It's like they think I'm a real artist. Oh, wait a minute! I am. I'm still learning and developing my skills but yes I definitely am. Being a real person that they know setting an actual example of what is possible if you put your heart into it can get them thinking about their own aspirations and possibilities. It's that 'if they can do it so can I' thing.
The smidge of snobbery I've encountered since embarking on my art adventure has made me more determined to do it my way and to do my bit to encourage people to have art in their lives in some shape or form. I believe it should be encouraged at every opportunity amongst as many as possible.
I attended a women's business breakfast this month where we were joined by some Year 10 girls from a local school. I don't think any of them were considering art as a career option, but I put my message out there, that if you can find your passion in life and turn it into your purpose, make it happen. To follow whatever it is in life you love.
I loved English and art at school. I followed my head and studied English at uni, becoming a journalist for nearly 15 years. Now I am following my heart and making a career out of art.
When asked what my definition of success was, it was happiness.