I’ve always loved art. I could often be found doodling away, rather than doing homework. It was a passion at school which led into an Illustration degree at UWE Bristol. I’ve painted all sorts over the years, from landscapes and still lifes to racing cars in action - another interest of mine.
I eventually settled into a career as a picture framer - something which enables me to see and work with a wide range of art and memorabilia. To my mind, the frame - by which I mean the moulding, mount and glass together - is as important as the picture that’s going in it. They’re partners; they complement each other. Framing can make an average picture look amazing, or an amazing one look average. And being an artist myself, I like to think that I’m good at helping my customers to pick the right frame for the picture and its location.
Framing aside, I’ve kept my hand in over the years by painting the odd pet portrait for friends and family, usually as gifts. I’ve also encouraged my children to indulge their creativity, helping out with school and weekend art projects.
This lockdown’s been hard. Everyone’s tempers are frayed. But art has often provided a welcome (if reluctant) break from the lure of screens, and a way to either express our feelings or simply switch off from it all. Last weekend, with the first signs of spring peeking through, my whole family sat in the garden and spent an hour painting what we saw from our particular perspective. No rules, just focus on something and paint it. There was hardly a peep out of anyone for an hour.
I’d love to say that this blissful family scene ended with four minor works of art, but my youngest got frustrated with his perceived lack of skill and painted the entire sheet purple. Never mind: lessons learnt for next time. What we did get is an hour of mindful painting where the worries of the world ceased to exist - and something unique at the end of it.
I believe that everyone is capable of creating something with artistic merit. Ultimately, it’s about having fun and expressing yourself. We're all looking out from lockdown, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with over the next few weeks - and to framing the winning piece in the 2D art category!