I have received some great feedback from my readers about my Creative corner interview series. It has been a pleasure to showcase artists and designers who are endeavouring to improve their lives through their creative channels. North Mayo Fine Art is no exception and I’m sure you’ll find it an inspirational read.
Hi I’m Roz. I live on the West Coast of Ireland with my husband, 3 children, 2 dogs, 5 hens and 3 ducks. I’m originally from Manchester in the UK, but moved to Ireland 14 years ago. I’ve drawn for most of my life, but only began to take it seriously when I became chronically ill. I had to give up everything else that was in my life.
Tell us a bit about North Mayo Fine Art.
I’m a fine artist, specialising in photorealistic coloured pencil drawings. I draw pieces both that I enjoy and that interest me, which I sell, and I also accept commissions, and work from clients photos to recreate a special moment in time for them to treasure.
What made you start North Mayo Fine Art?
I started my own business as a way to try and take my mind off my health issues.
When I became pregnant with my eldest child, I suffered with a condition called Symphasis Pubis Dysfunction (which is now called PGP) which is incredibly painful. Unfortunately my consultant had never heard of it, so when I approached him about it he told me that I was exaggerating normal stretching pain and to ‘get on with it’. SPD progressed more quickly during my 2nd pregnancy, but I was still under the same consultant, and he still refused to deal with it.
I ended up having a spontaneous symphisiotomy (where the pelvis completely separates) when my pelvis started to fuse back together, it fused the 2 parts of the bone together out of line, so my pelvis is now twisted, which has had a knock on affect for my hips and back too. I was very lucky with my 3rd pregnancy that I was under a different consultant, but the damage as already done and there wasn’t much that could be done, other than physio.
Because of the trauma to my body, it has now more or less given up. I suffer with Fibromyalgia, Reynauds Disease, Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS, Migraines, Asthma, Postural Hypotension to name a few.
I had to do something to try and take back some of the control, so I started to draw again. I’d had to give up all of my other hobbies, but drawing was something that I could do in bed on my worst days, and at the table on my good days. I only worked in graphite at that time, but decided (with a bit of persuasion from friends) to try my hand at coloured pencils, and I’ve never looked back since.
Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I’m completely self taught. I started drawing at around 13, and spent my days copying photos out of books, buying wildlife books to use the photos from, I took photos out of the newspaper, and drew things from real life. Taking an extra GCSE at school in art, and completed both 3D art and un-endorsed art (2D) with good grades. I also did a GNVQ in art, and got the highest grade possible. The drawing aspect of art, which is what I loved, and continue to love, was never focused on at school. I’m still learning new things about drawing, even 21 years after starting, but that’s all part of the fun of enjoying a particular skill.
Explain your creative process.
Each drawing starts with a graphite line drawing. I draw out every single detail of the drawing before starting, so I can keep track of my progress and the sections that I still have to complete. This part of the process can take two days in itself, depending on the intricacy of the piece.
Once the line drawing is complete, I start to add the colour. I work from the top right hand corner of the drawing, because I’m left handed and don’t want to smudge work that I’ve already completed, and work my way across the drawing down to the bottom left hand corner. Working in small sections, completing each section before moving on to the next one. I erase most of the pencil marks before working on each section as I don’t want to smudge the pencil into the colour and give it a muddy look. It’s a very time consuming process, but I find that it works best for my style of drawing. I will use anywhere between 5 and 7 layers of colour on any one section, blending between layers.
I have the photo that I’m working from on my laptop, which is sitting next to me, so that I can zoom in and out to see every tiny detail, and helps me get the photorealistic look that I trying to achieve.
Describe your typical day.
My typical day starts by getting the girls ready for school, followed by my breakfast. Once I’ve finished my breakfast at around 9.30, I will get my laptop out, and set up my work space. Which normally involves getting my pencils out, uncovering my drawing and putting the reference photo that I’m using up on my screen. I will then decide which section I’m going to be working on, and start applying the first layer. I will work on the drawing until around 1-ish and then get some lunch. Then continue to work on my drawing until the children get home from school.
Once homework is completed, its back to my drawing until around 6 when I pack up for the day. Once I have finished working on the drawing for the day, I will then answer any messages that I’ve got, and start the line work of other drawings that need to be drawn. I never really switch off from my art, there’s always something to think about. I’m passionate about it, so that’s all part and parcel of it.
What’s your biggest seller?
What have been the high and low points of running North Mayo Fine Art?
The high points of running my business is doing something that I’m so passionate about. It’s the recognition I get from happy clients when they’ve received their drawing. They can actually look at it in person, and the pride I feel when I’m sent a photo of one of my drawings taking pride of place, framed in someones home.
The low points have to be getting enquiries from clients about drawings, but the reference photos are really bad quality. Then I have to make the decision to either cause myself a lot of stress, by trying to work with it. Or upsetting the client by refusing to do it. I really hate turning down commissions, especially if its an animal that’s passed over the rainbow bridge. They want a memorial piece, but if the photo isn’t a good quality. I can’t capture the character of the animals and just wont do it justice.
What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
The main tip that I would give anyone, would be to make sure that you are doing something that you love. Something that you’re passionate about. You will be putting in long hours, and working hard to achieve your goals. You won’t want to do it if you’re not really interested in what you are producing.
What are your aspirations for North Mayo Fine Art?
I have several aspirations in life. The first one is to encourage other people that live with chronic illness to never give up on their dreams. Anything is possible if you work at it. My other aspirations are to continue to work hard and get further in my career. I would love to have my work in exhibitions (I have one booked for December). Start classes, teaching others how to draw. I truly believe that everyone has a creative side, just waiting to get out.
Where can we find you?
For your chance to win one of North Mayo Fine Art 2018 Calendars. Which includes 12 of the most popular coloured pencil drawings to date. Enter via the rafflecopter widget below.