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What makes you stand out

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Lots has happened since my last blog. I've often thought I should sit down and share it on here but, to put it bluntly, I'd rather be painting than typing.

So in a nutshell, I've had a steady flow of commissions, a painting failure that was despatched to the bin and a frustratingly long period when I had nowhere to paint and feared I'd forgotten how to do it. Oh, and I became a black belt in kickboxing and martial arts.

My most exciting art experience is happening right now as part of Cheltenham Open Studios 2019. I'm one of seven artists showing my work as part of an exhibition at Venue 38, Southend Lodge, on the art trail. And in less than an hour of us opening the door, I had my first sale so couldn't have asked for a better start.

This learning curve has become somewhat mountainous for a newbie like me, from how to frame paintings, which fixings and hooks to hang them with, how to position them for best effect, how to appeal to people and attract an audience.

Already, I've had many interesting chats with fellow artists and art enthusiasts, sharing ideas and comparing experiences. A particularly useful conversation was about finding the most interesting thing about you as an artist and placing it at the forefront to make yourself stand out. And as a result I went home and rewrote my artist statement, making the last line of my biography the first and cutting out most of the stuff in between.

I'm convinced my kickboxing and martial arts has given me the confidence to take the plunge with my painting. I think it also goes some way to explain why I’m so preoccupied with movement in my work. I want my subjects to have a punch, a whoosh moment, a sense of being alive. The more I talk about it the clearer it becomes.

I've identified what I think is the most interesting thing about me as an artist which best sums up where I'm coming from and what I'm about. And it's where my two passions, art and martial arts, collide.

I'm learning about exhibiting but also becoming more aware of my motivation because I'm immersed in art with others who love art, who want to talk about it and lift its presence as a whole.

Martial arts has 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. And so I find myself showing at my debut exhibition with no other relevant qualification than the art with art history A-level I achieved at sixth form. And it's not the scary scenario I thought it would be. It's quite exciting, positive, relaxed and fun.

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