Suffolk born and bred, I now live at Hollesley, near Woodbridge, working from my garden studio. My studio windows overlook heathland and fields where I see wild fallow deer every day and, on tiptoes, I can even see the sea! I love the way my home county provides both a heritage coastline and a rich and varied countryside with all the wildlife that contains.
I have had a varied career, from farming soft fruit to teaching high school English but the re-discovery of my love of art a few years ago has been the most fulfilling.
A passion for painting
It was a Suffolk Coastal life-drawing class that re-ignited my passion for drawing and painting followed by the ‘Beast from the East’ storm of 2018 enabling four ‘snow-days’ from school and leading to me picking up the soft pastels for the first time. I was in love with this vibrant tactile medium from the very first stroke of the pastel stick on the paper! Hundreds of pastel paintings and multiple commissions later, I am now a full time artist working almost daily from my tranquil garden studio.
During the pandemic lockdowns I also experimented with oil painting and was delighted to see my portrait of Piers Morgan featured on Good Morning Britain! I am enjoying the challenge of this new medium but soft pastel remains my first love.
“As an artist, my main objective is to capture the likeness and personality of my subjects”
In 2022, I became an Associate Artist with Unison Colour, the Northumberland based company that produces handmade, high quality soft pastels. Founded by the late John Hersey in 1987, whose passion for colour developed into a business offering nearly half a million soft pastels to artists worldwide, I love the fact that this is still a family business dedicated to achieving John’s vision.
As an artist, my main objective is to capture the likeness and personality of my subjects. A pastel portrait has a dynamic three-dimensional quality that far surpasses the static flatness a photograph can have. I love the tactile nature of working with soft pastel and the way that, by rubbing each layer onto the paper, I almost ‘stroke’ the subject into life. Particularly drawn to wildlife and animal portraits, I focus on bringing character and life to each of my artworks. Pet and family member commissions are always a privilege to complete!
I am also using my experience and skills to introduce others to the joy of soft pastel through weekly classes, workshops and demonstrations to art groups. Working with soft pastel offers everyone a chance to slow down and be mindful as an antidote to the hectic pace of our lives these days.