I was born in 1968 and grew up in Sunderland, North east England. I’ve always loved drawing and painting and from an early age my favourite present for birthdays and Christmas was “painting by numbers sets’, sketch pads, pencils and anything arty. My dad was my inspiration, he was an amateur painter and always sketching or painting something.
Leaving school I went to college and gained my BTEC Diploma in art and design. Not sure where to go from there I went to work for Kodak to pay the bills. Life then took over with a move to London, meeting my husband and bringing up two girls. I still kept my passion for art by producing portraits drawings for friends and relatives along with the odd pet portrait commission. I’ve lost count of the amount of portraits I’ve completed over the years.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to return to education and in 2009 I graduated for the University of Sunderland with a BA Degree in Fine Art. I do feel that at University you were left to your own devices really, you were given a topic and asked to come up with a portfolio of work from which you would then produce a final image. I wasn’t taught techniques or how to paint, hence I class myself as self-taught.
My degree was my first foray into painting with oils; apart from painting by numbers when I was little…. I always wanted to use oils and at the time my work was very realist, oil portraits and figurative pieces. My “toy” work really came about by accident when I was experimenting with paint and mark making. As a family we have always had a slight obsession (healthy) with Lego and retro toys.so I didn’t really need to look far for inspiration. My studio is full of inspiration along with our house…. Most people who visit spend the first twenty minutes on a wander looking at our Lego collection.
My process starts with me and my sketch pad drawing out a basic composition in pen and ink but this can change once I start the actual painting. In fact a lot of the time a painting evolves as I paint it. My work has changed and developed over the years and is certainly a lot looser in style than when I first started out. Paint is applied both figuratively and abstractly. Whilst all my paintings are representational, mark making is more important than a particular style and the experimentation of the paint plays a major role in my art.
My work is now based on my toy collection, as you can probably guess I’m an avid fan of Lego, vintage toys and Funko pops. As the collection grows so does my inspiration. I love taking that long forgotten or much loved object and give it it’s moment in the spotlight. I like art that makes people smile.
Since graduating I have exhibited and sold at numerous Art Fairs around the UK, including Edinburgh and Cheshire; had a solo show, won “The Peoples Choice” national art competition in 2010, have been featured in international art publications, Artists magazine and Society of All Artists, on one occasion providing the image for the front cover and I currently have work in galleries around the UK.