As Tamsin Stuart Art embarks on its fourth year in business, I thought I'd share a bit about my motivation. For anyone who knows me or follows my art antics, you've probably heard some of it before. But, if nothing else, it's a record for me to look back on as my journey continues to develop.
You wouldn’t think that being a kickboxer had much to do with being an artist, but for me the two couldn’t be more intertwined. Martial arts, as with a lot of sport, is about making your mind as well as your body stronger. It took a lot of courage for me to walk into the kickboxing academy for the first time over five years ago. I didn’t feel brave, I felt out of my depth and unsure of myself.
But my fitness has always gone hand in hand with my mental wellbeing. And after recovering from an illness that stopped me exercising at all and often affected my ability to function properly on a day-to-day basis, I vowed to become as mentally and physically fit as I could to cope with whatever was round the corner. And that survival instinct pushed me forward.
As my confidence grew in my physical abilities, my confidence grew mentally and I sensed I was on a journey of self-development. Martial arts helped me realise I should be brave, not let fear hold me back, to have faith in myself and to fight to make my dreams a reality. It made me feel properly alive and thirsty to live my life at its optimum level.
That feeling that life is too short not to do the things you love just because it scares you gave me the drive and sense of urgency I needed to launch my art career. So I pursued my two passions fully, and in the same year I launched Tamsin Stuart Art I also became a black belt in kickboxing and martial arts.
I think it also goes some way to explain why I’m so preoccupied with movement in my artwork. I want my subjects to have a punch, a whoosh moment, a sense of being alive. I like to convey focus, feistiness, heightened states, along with a celebration of colour, shape and light.
I am totally self-taught other than my art A level from school. Yep, that's right, I have no fine arts degree. A fine arts degree doesn't guarantee you'll be a good artist who sells. There are still art snobs out there who think it's a requirement. I disagree. Heartfelt motivation and inspiration ranks higher for me.
I know what I like to look at and interpret what I see instinctively, learning as I go by trial and error. I cherry-pick the bits of basic techniques that appeal and experiment to find a way that suits me. Experimenting and making mistakes that need to be corrected is fun and the best way I learn.
At the end of 2020 I had created over 100 paintings, taken part in six exhibitions, and been involved in three projects with young artists, with 25 commissions under my belt.
Painting, like martial arts, is something I have to do for my health and wellbeing, it is a fundamental part of me that helps me express myself, channel emotions, deal with stress, make sense of the world, challenge and empower myself, grow and learn, as well as escape and relax. It is a vital part of who I am.
Art can be a very personal communication of what is going on in your head and your heart, but that is whether you are the person creating it or the person looking at it. It is an exchange on a life-affirming level that is essential for mutual wellbeing.
I love the fact then when you support a living, independent artist, be it by giving them a like or share on social media, offering them words of encouragement, buying a greeting card or a piece of merchandise, going to an exhibition or becoming the proud owner of a print or original, you are helping to keep that creative flame burning and those lines of communication with the outside world open for all our benefit.
Working chiefly in acrylics, I have favourite themes I like to paint: birds, wildlife, nature, sport and water. But I’ll give anything a go as long as it inspires me. Two subjects I used to shy away from, portraiture and buildings, are becoming new favourites now as my martial arts mentality tells me to step out of my comfort zone to grow.
Please feel free to enjoy an art fix here whenever you need to escape the harshness of reality.