At school art was always my favourite subject, and I loved to spend my spare time drawing, but I would never have thought of becoming an artist. My other great passion was animals.
In some ways I wish that I had stayed on at school and university to study the natural world, and use that in a career, but although I always loved learning and did well in my exams, I never got on with the social side of school; and so was glad to leave as soon as I was able! My plan instead was to volunteer on animal projects around the world and learn hands on.
On leaving school though, I instead got caught up helping out in the family business, but spent my day off each week volunteering at an animal rescue centre, which I loved.
In my early twenties, I met my husband, Graham, still with my plans to travel the world saving animals, but unfortunately my body had other ideas, and due to what turned out to be a long term condition, those plans had to be put aside. I went from a very active person, to not being able to work full time and needing a wheelchair on a day out.
Life now revolved around my condition and earning a living; Graham and I running a business together so that I could have his support. I did try art as a hobby a few times, but I never had a strong enough desire to produce the work, to persist with it. With my life time plan no longer being possible, I think I gave up on the idea that I could do anything to help the animals that I so loved, and that I had thought I was going to spend my life saving.
In early 2011 I returned to art again, and thought this time to paint the thing that I loved; wildlife and nature.
In 2012, I donated a little tiger cub painting to the David Shepherd Foundation and their TigerTime appeal, and it sold at their gallery, raising £500 for the charity. I now had a purpose to my art, and a way of achieving my childhood dream of helping animals; not in the physical sense as I had originally planned, but instead by raising funds through my work that I could donate to help others do so.
With a now very strong desire to paint; knowing that the better I got the more I could do with my work, I began spending all my spare time painting.
In 2015, Graham and I, having sold our previous business, opened a gallery, and along with donating pieces of artwork to charities, at least 10% from the sale of all of my originals sold in our gallery we donate to animal welfare and conservation charities.
At the end of 2017, I donated a little lion cub painting to the Born Free Foundation, which they auctioned at a Gala event raising £3,000 for the charity; so I am thrilled with where I have come in a short time, but plan to do so much more.