How Creativity Saved Me

Why Do I Paint…

I have decided to start a blog about my life as an artist so I can share behind the scenes stories, inspiration, and my work in progress because everything we do has a reasoning and a logic even if we don’t always recognise it at the time!

So, where do I start, what should my first blog post be about? Well I suppose I should start from the beginning ‘Why’…’Why do I paint?’

I have always been creative and as a child it felt like the only ‘thing’ I was good at. Going through school was hard academically being only diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 17 while doing A’levels. So, art was the one subject I was always praised for and excelled at, making me feel good about myself and confident. I think growing up I learnt that art and being creative was my way to cope with stressful situations, this was going serve me well when it really mattered.

So the creative world was where I felt my happiest and most confident, so I pursued a life in the Fashion World believing design was for me, and for many year I was content with that life, I saw the world, India, China, around Europe and the US. I loved working in the manufacturing side of the industry really seeing how things were made and got such a thrill seeing them in the shops. I would grin to myself when I saw someone wearing one of my garments and I would think “If only they new the hard work, stress and hours that went into getting that top there for you to buy!” It has a story of its very own!

So why did I start painting if I was so happy with my career, well it started with the birth of our 1st child Freya and I took some time out after her birth, then just before her 2nd birthday she was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. I can’t tell you how life changing type 1 is especially with such a small child. Constant finger prick testing to check blood sugar levels, injecting insulin every time she eats, treating hypos (low blood sugars which can be life threatening) and the hyperglycemia (high blood sugars which can cause long term complications) it is content care day AND night! My husband David and I decided that it would be easier if I didn’t go back to work and stayed home to care for her, which caused enormous stress for both of us, for David because he was now responsible for supporting us long term, we both felt stressed with getting to grips with the care Freya needed and I emotionally felt I had lost some of my identity. I think a lot of parents who stay home can relate to that one!

The 4 of us just after Jude was born

Having lost my father only a few years before and dealing with a big legal case stemming from problems with his Will, the stress was building. Then tragedy struck again, that same year Freya was diagnosed my mother suddenly got sick and died within 3 weeks of going into hospital with cancer. I was heartbroken and totally overwhelmed. My family had gone, my bother 10 years before, then Dad and now my mum and yet we were now coping with the new diagnosis of Freya and the legal case. My Aunts also got cancer and passed away at the same time, my God I had lost half my family in a few years. The stress was too much to bear.

Instinctively I turned to the one thing that has always made me feel good about myself, being creative. I decided to start painting as something for just ‘me’. Since I had worked as a commercial designer for so many years I thought I would do something that would push me creatively, so I started painting again, It became my sanctuary in the mist of all stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and grief. I just focused my mind on something else for a time and it made me happy. I started to crave that time more and more. Over the years my style of painting has developed but it has always been about textiles because I have always loved it and a big nod to my past career. I stopped again when our son Jude came along and we moved to a project of a house, but it has always drawn me back, because it gives me so much peace.

So here I am now in 2020 I feel very blessed that I can pursue a life as an artist creating artwork that is very personal to me. I want my artwork to create that sense of peace for you in the same way it has given me to create it. Focusing my inspiration on nature because it also gives me that same sense of calm, I feel it has a positive impact on all of us. My artwork is my way to share how art and nature has had such a big impact in healing me. The use of colour, the layering of the paint work with the mono printing and embroidery, to create subtle depths, mood and atmosphere, but mostly conveying a sense of calm. I hope that every time you look at one of my painting you see something new yet giving nature’s tranquillity into your home.

Life is much easier now; grief softens but it never really goes away I suppose we just learn to live with it. Freya’s diabetes is still a constant challenge day and night but with new technology such as CGM monitors we cope just fine. David and I often look back at past events and wonder how we survived it! Well we did, and I am so grateful that I turned to creativity. We all have difficult times in our lives, and we all have stories we could share, we all have pain we have to cope with, that’s the ugly truth of life. It’s about trying to see and express the immense natural and tranquil beauty out there that helps me feel positive.

Thank you for reading my story and thank you for sharing my creative journey.

Ellie x

I hope every time you look at one of my paintings you see something new. build up the layers in the paint work, mono printing and embroidery to convey the mood and atmosphere in nature,

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