A History of My Art Business - 2001
First published Friday 1st January 2021
On January 21st 2021, my business will be 20 years old. That’s right. I started my full-time small business as an artist in January 2001. My initial plan had been to start in 2000 when I left a teaching post at an FE College in Leeds. I stated when I took up the post that I would move on after five years, feeling that 'divorce' from my industry would be a detriment to both my work and my teaching.
In the end, my departure was hastened by a month or so, and my business start delayed by six months when a fall from my horse left me with a badly broken right wrist (after sitting 7 full height bucks, I decided my departure was necessary to end things). The rest of 2000 was spent with painful physio, but I regained 95% movement despite a prediction of only 70%, and a new-found ability to draw, paint, and even write, with my non-dominant hand.
February 2001 saw the awful Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK. At the time I was in Portugal, drawing (and riding) Lusitano stallions when the full impact was felt with disinfectant trays at borders and on farms, so I returned to an England of pyres and mourning for lost herds and pets.
My first ‘show’ was a small fundraising event at a private house in June of that year. Here I met the person who would become my first collector and patron, who is still a friend and confidante to this day. That has been a theme throughout my time in business: meeting wonderful clients and their much-loved companion animals, some of whom have become great friends and supporters.
My chosen piece from the start of my business was actually painted in the year 2000.
‘Blackie’ (left) was a warm up sketch in watercolour and parker rollerball pen (later it became a Limited Edition Print) and along with the pastel ‘’, (above) set my path for my future business.
Blackie (born black but gradually lightening to grey, then white) was a horse that I saw at a side saddle show. Though he was being ridden, I chose to draw him withour a rider. When I first showed this painting it was commented that hardly anyone depicted a horse from the front unless it was a carriage painting. I sisnt see any reason not to draw from this angle, and the comments seemed more applicable to recent equine painting - there are plenty of examples of horses shown from the front through art history, though more usually with a rider. I have never shied from painting form whatever angle inspires me, though in fact my husband often commented, then and now, that I was more likely to draw a horse from behind and that I was obsessed with horses bottoms! I put this down to the fact that I tend to draw what I see, and as I often was on foot as a groom or helper for a friend, I tended to be following in the horse's wake than assessing them from the side!
Ps for those following that kind of thing, my personal Christmas card in 2001 was a calligraphy card 'Christmas Diet' (the word . . .diet inside finished the joke - see below for image).
I now print a larger run of cards than I need, and the remaining stock becomes my new design for sale the following year, but these cards were copied and hand mounted onto the cards, so have never been available commercially.