At age 24 I was diagnosed with endometriosis and was told I would never have children. Married at 21 this was quite a shock to the system and sent me into quite a downward spiral as I found that information too much to process at that young age. I had been unwell for years with unexplained pelvic pain, and though it was nice to finally have a diagnosis, the fact there was no real cure for endometriosis meant years of trying many hormonal treatments that had little effect, and have the choice of a family taken away from me. All this lead to me feeling like one of life’s victims, oh poor me. Why does all this have to happen to me etc etc. Compounded by the fact I was married in my twenties so people were constantly asking me when I was going to have children! Hmmm – lets see, how about NEVER, what a great way to kill a conversation….
After several years of feeling sorry for myself I became bored of the victim mentality and decided to take charge of my destiny. Theres more to me than endometriosis! I had always had this burning desire be an artist – actually its just something I am and was since I was very little. I just hadn’t managed to get anywhere with it. Neither of my parents were artists (Mum was a Maths Teacher and Dad a Financial Advisor), so I didnt know where to begin. I had tried to get into University twice and failed as the first time was for an Illustration Degree (made the shortlist though!) and the second time I missed the deadline for application. Third time lucky I enrolled as a mature student at the Tonbridge campus of the University of Greenwich.When I started my Fine Art Degree I discovered I really needed to start treating my art like a ‘business’ – not on my Degree course but through a one-day course I stumbled upon called ‘The Working Artist’. It was a ‘sign’ in a local gallery window which I passed on my walk home. The course was enough to make me realise I needed to basically do a 180 on myself, and start pushing my art. I’d always believed in my work, I just hadn’t the confidence to put it in front of people and that was the next step. That was the A-ha moment when it all started coming together. Actually there was an ‘Oh Shit!’ moment before the ‘A Ha!’ Moment when I realised how much I needed to change. But these things don’t happen over night….baby steps! I started approaching local galleries with my art via email and got into some. I sold a bit but quickly realised it wasn’t enough to sustain a living, a vocation, a destiny….I began trying for bigger city galleries and got into a few online ones including Degreeart, who also had a physical gallery. I started selling lots through them and it wasn’t long before they wanted to sign me exclusively. This suited me fine as I was still doing my Degree so didn’t have time to source lots of galleries. I worked my ass off and became one of their best-selling artists. I have joined many galleries, and am now represented by galleries all over the world, and also sell my work myself to private clients, earning a six figure salary. All because I got sick of being, well ‘sick’ and I didnt want that to define me. There was so much more to me than that bleak diagnosis that ruled my existence for a while. A whole imagination full of beautiful animals, that needed to manifest into paintings for the world to see. Animals and art, my two passions since I can remember coming together to become my living, my purpose and maybe even my legacy. Theres now even a book! It was 2 years in the making but its out and called ‘SURVIVAL’ (the name is also a metaphor for me surviving as an Artist) and came out in late 2018 through Big Picture Press and sponsored by Tusk.org, and it has 20 paintings I have done especially for it on endangered species. Ironically its a CHILDRENS BOOK, you know – those things I was told I could never have….Actually another funny thing happened, during my first solo show in London I woke up feeling ‘chemically different’ is the best way I can describe it. It was a saturday and on a whim I bought a pregnancy test, which become several pregnancy tests that all showed up positive!?! Her name is Autumn and she now nearly 5 years old, my miracle baby. All this because I was fed up of feeling like a victim, like life was happening to me, out of my control – I decided to shape my own future and go all in on my dreams. And now I have somehow magically produced a child AND a children’s book and things have somewhat come full circle and given me a more complete life. I didn’t give up on my dreams of becoming an Artist, from that came life in every form.