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The How and Why I became "An Artist"

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I love the process an art work has to go through to get to the point when you can call it finished…

From the initial design or thought of what to paint, to watching it come alive as details and colour are added, always excites me but in saying that, can make me a little nervous too.

Nervous that I could put a brush stroke in the wrong place and the whole piece is ruined, nervous that I won’t like it when it’s done, or that it doesn’t look the way I expected it to, or nervous about being judged and criticised about it, when others see at it. 

Welcome to my life… But in saying what I’m usually nervous about… there is a good side every time I create something.  It’s so much fun and exciting for me, to make something from nothing… a blank piece of paper, some ink and paint, not actually nothing, but these elements can’t change into anything else without my help, and that’s the exciting bit for me.  Seeing it all come together from thought, to design, to sketch, to ink and details to then adding the colours…

A finished artwork that I have created and can sit back and admire… how wonderful it is to be able to make things with my hands and imagination. So if I remember to create what makes me happy, and not care about what other people think, then I have succeeded as an Artist. :)

But it wasn’t always like that… as this is my very first blog post, I’ve decided to tell you a little bit about me and why art is such a valuable and comforting thing to have in my life…

Whenever anyone asks me “How long have you been an Artist for?” I always say that I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, and if you ask my mum, I’m sure she would say the same thing… So to be honest, I’ve never really thought of myself as an Artist.  As I’ve always thought that to be something you need to make money or a living from it, which I have never done with my Art.

But in reality there has never been a time in my life that I can’t remember drawing, painting or being interested in colour and pictures… even from a very early age, I still remember sitting at the kitchen table with paper and pencils in front of me, creating what I thought were masterpieces and my parents obviously thought that too, as they would display them on our family “Art Wall” the front of the Refrigerator. :)

But even though I always loved to create arty things, it was for another reason that I did it... to get away from reality and venture into my own little world, a world that was full of the things that I loved and dreamed of, a world where there wasn’t anything bad and dark, a world where everyone loved you and a world that I could share with others, that if it wasn’t for art, would always remain trapped inside my head. :) 

Artists become artists for many different reasons… mine was because of some significant things that happened to me as a child and while growing up, and just to be clear, I’m sharing these things with you, not to get your sympathy or pity, but to tell you things that only close family and friends have known about me until now, but also because they are the real reasons why I’m the person I am today and why doing Art and Creating is so important to me. 

So here I go… telling you something that many others in the world go through each and every day, but like me are also too ashamed to share… :(

Probably the most confronting and upsetting thing for me was that I was abused by a neighbours teenage son, when I was between the ages of 5 to 7 years.  This built a wall around me that I still, to this day, haven’t been able to completely tear down but I’ve learnt to live with it and actually blocked it out for many years.  It’s just something I’m determined to move on from and not let it destroy my adult life even though at times, it does get the better of me and stops me forming trusting friendships with others, and my kids would tell you that I'm a little bit of an "over protective mother" but I would never and have never let anything bad happen to them, so for that I'm happy to be called that. 

Like so many other children, I was also bullied at school, all the way from Primary to High School and often beaten up on the bus on my way home from school, which wasn’t a pleasant experience at all but once again, something I just had to deal with and move on from as I grew older… and finally, I lived in a loving but fairly dysfunctional family which meant that I grew up not trusting or loving others the way that I should have – openly and unconditionally. :(

So with these few trials, I have grown up expressing myself in other ways and I guess I became an Artist to escape the real world, even for only a little while at a time, to take my memories away from the horrible past and bring my mind into my own little happy place.  Don't get me wrong, I live a great life now, with the most amazing husband a girl could ever ask for and with 3 of the most loving, caring and gorgeous, young adult children in the world and I'm so proud of them all... so with the bad comes lots of good, that is something to be greatful for :D

I have thrived in the creative world while being a professional photographer for the past 26 years and a website designer for the last 10, but there was always something missing – the ability to create things for myself, I always had to create what others wanted, and in doing so, I found that I was no longer doing what I truly loved. :(

So at the end of 2014, after realising that I hadn’t drawn or painted for nearly 4 years, I decided to do something about it… I decided that on the 1st January 2015, I would begin a year long journey and do a 365 Art Project.  A piece of art that I would create every day for an entire year.  A huge task and commitment indeed, but I was determined to make it happen, to get my creativity back and to learn how to “want to paint” again.

So after doing a small 9x9cm artwork, each and every day throughout 2015 (which you can view them all on my Instagram Feed), I succeeded in achieving the end result I was hoping for… I had learnt to love my art again, and it was fantastic, that part of me had been re-born :)

I must admit though, that after my 365 Art Project had finished, I was feeling quite lost that it was over and I had no reason to create again, yes I could’ve extended the project, but I wasn’t liking the idea of dragging it on just for the sake of it, so as I was going through Pinterest one day, as you do :) I was looking through lots of amazing bridal bouquet photos (I have no reason why, I just was), taking in all of the gorgeous flowers and colours into my memory bank, and it hit me… I wonder if I could paint one of them?

So after some thought, I decided to make my very first bouquet painting of my Daughter’s Bouquet.  She is getting married in May 2016 and already had made her own bouquet out of the most amazing and lifelike silk flowers, so I thought, I could surprise her with the artwork if it turned out ok, and if it didn’t, no-one would ever see it or have any idea that it didn’t turn out but me.custom bridal bouquet painting by Dianne White - Down Ellis Lane

So I sneakily took a photo of her bridal bouquet and got to work sketching it out, then added the ink and fine details to it, before painting it in watercolours, and Low and Behold, I did it… I had painted my very first bridal bouquet painting and I had an absolute ball doing it… it was so much fun, that I got out another piece of paper and began to do another one, just to make sure the first one wasn’t a fluke :)

I had found my true calling, my mind was made up, I was going to give my art the proper respect it deserved and get it out into the world and see how it went, painting not only bouquets, but other things that I love and make me happy.  I had never sold my art before, it was always something I did for myself, family and friends, I was taking the biggest leap of my life with something that meant so much and was so personal to me… My ART!

So that’s how it all began and how I became “An Artist” … that’s who I am, all shields down, letting loose, just getting it all out in the open and why I’m doing what I’m doing… I’m sure I’ll share more with you in future blogs, but for now that’s it for today, you didn’t come here to read a novel, sorry once I get started I never stop :)

Anyway, I’d better go and get back to painting and let you get back to what it is that you were up to… thanks so much for dropping by and reading this all the way to the end, many would’ve given up by now, but you are one of the good ones and stuck with me till the end.

I hope you have a fun time until we chat again and please take a moment to take a look at my Portfolio and see what I’ve been up to lately or write back to me with your own story on what makes you tick.

Love and blessings to you all…

Di xx :)

PS - If you haven’t already noticed by now, I really love happy and sad faces when I’m writing… sad but true, so get used to it, it’s how I roll… :) :D

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Guest Monday, 26 October 2020