It's been quite a struggle since I moved up to North Yorkshire in the summer of 2005. I was all set for the challenge of renovating our chosen new home, applying for a Masters course and generally re-starting my career as a visual artist.
Straight after graduating as a mature student in 1995, by a stroke of absolute luck, I landed a job teaching Adult Education, which developed into part time teaching on the day time courses at one of the largest sixth form colleges in the country. I became responsible for the Fine Art programme of study. After ten years, I was beginning to think I needed to stop in order to have time to develop my own work. I'd contributed to putting three kids through university so figured it was my time again! As so often happens in my life; my husband was offered a fantastic job up here in North Yorkshire so the time for change became an immediate reality.
Unfortunately a serious illness called a halt. (No it wasn't cancer and yes, I nearly didn't make it). However, for the last three years I have finally felt like the real me again and my career is indeed re-starting.
Whilst making a slow but steady recovery from my illness, I began to get out and about amongst the local art scene, which resulted in my volunteering to be membership secretary of a newly formed arts group, Ryedale ArtWorks and working as a volunteer in the best gallery space in the area, The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum. These activities were key in my rehabilitation because it meant that I began to know the local artists and art activists.
Easter 2013 I had my first solo show; this was offered to me by the then curator of The Gallery, RFM when he saw some of my degree work of 1995. I spent about fourteen months making work, beginning just after Christmas of 2012 and working solidly in my studio. With Christmas 2013 over, January and February were difficult months to continue making work because the approach to my studio is down a very steep track, not negotiable in my old estate car with ice and snow on the ground. A hastily errected trestle table on the newly built landing of our house served as a warm, clean studio where I concentrated on making small studies while I waited for a window of opportunity to get back in the studio to complete two large paintings in time for the opening of Marking Time.
The show was quite successful; I received some very positive feedback from artists whose opinions I really value. I sold a few pieces although I have never considered selling work as a mark of success, after all, it is not going to stop me making the work. My real criteria for success is and has always been, that other artists whose opinions I value and whose work I admire because it has integrity and a real sense of personal investigation and growth, say positive things about my work.
So here I am; since the solo show I have been extremely busy with our house renovations and work on behalf of RAW, which had threatened to overwhelm me at the end of last year.
Just as I thought life was settling down, (we still have some work to do on the house but decided to take a break from it for 2015), we realised last year that the threat of fracking was looming. I resigned from the committee of Ryedale ArtWorks in order to make time for my work with the anti fracking movement in Ryedale and this continues to take up a lot of my time meaning that I am still struggling to find enough time in the studio. Oh, and I have a beautiful grandson, who is a joy and my youngest daughter is expecting her first child in February; time spent with them is always a joy!
The idea of studying again has started to flit across my mind more often of late, I am still in two minds about it though.
Laminar Flow (you don't know me) 1995, acrylic on canvas, 1.77 x 2.26 cm . Part of my degree show in 1995.