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My artistic journey

I have always loved art. I have memories of scribbling random drawings on paper in my parents kitchen when I was tiny and at junior school I remember giving a boy called Peter a picture of a horse I drew that he liked. My Mum went food shopping on a Saturday and dropped myself and my brother off at a place called the Blue House where we attended the 'Chaos Club', it was 10p to get in and there would be various activities: films, dancing, talent shows and my favourite...drawing! I used to draw Victorian shoes and dresses that had fancy bows and fastenings and create scrapbooks with them.

My O Level art teacher was called Mr Porteous and he wore a mustard coloured corduroy jacket that had leather patches on the arms. I left school a long time ago but loved art class so much I have vivid memories of it...I was allowed to paint during my lunchbreak and the paints were in powder form that you mixed in plastic pots that clicked together, I drew pictures of a singers I admired at the time (Becky Bondage sitting on a bench, Siouxsie Sioux and Debbie Harry) but Mr P encouraged me to try other subjects. One challenge was painting a picture 'inside looking out' (I painted a lady in a cosy living room looking out at a rainy scene) and another time I was asked 'what is your favourite thing to draw?' and I replied 'eyes'. I then drew a giant eye that had hundreds of smaller eyes within its reflection, the result was very creepy due to all of the eyelashes interlocking. The large eye drawing won a prize and was displayed in the window of the local Barclays Bank! Oh how I wish I still had my senior school art folder.

As a teenager I spent summer holidays drawing portraits of my favourite popstars from the 'Smash Hits' magazine and sent them to record labels and fan clubs to be autographed. When I left school and started working I stopped creating art but went to lots of art exhibitions and watched documentaries on the television.

In 2016 I started watching 'Portrait Artist of the Year' and the artists enthusiasm and methods inspired me to want to start painting. I remember one artist poured melted wax onto a portrait to create texture on a man's chin, it was captivating and made me want to have a go! I started experimenting and tried to paint portraits, stained glass window patterns, flowers and buildings. After practicing for a while I found I was drawn to painting old London buildings, I think this is partly because of their history but I am also drawn to the intricate hidden details that give each one it's unique personality.

My family is originally from East London but I now live in a place called Langdon Hills in Essex. I have worked in the City area of London my whole working life and have friends in the Spitalfields area. I am a seasoned commuter! In the past I've concentrated on painting older buildings that I feel an emotional connection to and have included as many tiny details as possible. In recent times I have felt a yearning to start creating pictures that include crowds of people in urban scenes, both in the East End and City areas that I know well. My intention is not to draw intricate portraits but instead capture the shape and movement of people mixing together with the aim of trying to create a feeling of atmosphere.

I have recently been taking part in the monthly online RA Saturday Sketch Club and it is really pushing me out of my comfort zone, but I am loving the challenge. We sketch a different subject every month and are given very limited time to draw whatever image is placed on the screen (either live models or photographs). I usually take ages to draw something but these lessons are helping me to not over analyse what I am sketching as much as I usually would. The teachers are different every month which I think helps to not end up cloning an individual teacher's style, but develop your own. During these classes I have sketched plants, buildings, portraits, cityscapes, urban scenes, ballet dancers, life models in various poses and hair. I enjoy these lessons and feel that they are helping me develop as an artist.

The sketch classes have inspired me to practice drawing more and I've been regularly sketching city people rushing around or interacting. This is helping me improve my figurework and has led me to experiment with watercolour for the first time.

The first painting I did with figures in it was a scene outside St Paul's Cathedral. I recently finished my second 'crowd' scene which is outside the Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields and I am pleased to say they've featured it in their Instagram stories. I have entered the 'Ten Bells' painting for the Town House Open exhibition (fingers crossed!).

I'm becoming obsessed with painting 'real life' scenes and if you're rushing around London you may find yourself in one of my sketches! Featured below are a few of my recent pencil and watercolour sketches, some done during an RA Saturday Sketch Club session whilst others are practice sketches of people rushing around London, with the exception of friends sitting outside Town House in Spitalfields.

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Well, I would never have marked you down as a relative newcomer, just goes to prove our early days are exceptionally formative of the individual, however long the interruption!

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I have been painting for about 8 years and think my styles changed slightly over the last couple of years without realising it! I go to an art class once a week , more for the social side , but it’s also fun seeing what other people are working on (which is completely different to what I paint (but that’s one of the reasons I like it).

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