Today is day 9 of March Meet the Maker, an Instagram based event started by a lady called Joanne Hawker to encourage small creative energy businesses to share more background about themselves. Follow the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker and see such a wide variety of creative talents. Each day there is a prompt, except weekend days that can be used to catch up or add own posts.
So today, the prompt is “learning curve”. To support this I went back to photos from my pre-art days and through the changes I have made and seen since 2017 when I declared myself an “artist” reluctantly.
I am a geographer which is about our world around us. A key aspect of it is to share places that you as a teacher and your pupils may have no experience of to learn about the world further away.
This image was one I originally cut out of a Sunday newspaper colour supplement as it could provoke a discussion about what it must be like to live on / by the railway line. This came from Ho Chi Min city. When I first used it it was cut out and passed carefully around the class. It was about 15 x 10 cm in size and I had no way to reproduce more than one copy. By the last years of my career I used interactive whiteboards connected to a computer and projector. I could share photos and this one filled a screen with a diagonal of 92”. Suddenly everyone could discuss it at once, spot things, use the interactive pen to write labels onto the picture.
This was my background that helped me when I switched to art. I had always described places, shared photographs including my endless personal pictures on prints, slides and then digitally to show what things really looked like.
Told to drop art at 13 when I didn’t really enjoy it as lots was brush based and I didn’t get on with them. This was when I started to sketch to be mindful, support my mental health and switch off from work. I carried pens and my sketchbook with me everyday and everywhere I went.
4 months later I spent some more money – all my drawings at this point were in pen and ink (black fineliners only) and I sketched in pen so that there was no option to rub things out. It wasn’t to be something where I tried to produce perfect work.
The books were generally written by artists I had met through Urban sketching trips in London and Cambridge. I read some of them – the “Sketch” book I read cover to cover over and over. The back book was about London architecture and I used it to plan days out walking in London with the aim of sketching various locations.
December 2015 I found out that colour pens, at the time I thought of these as grown up felt tips, were available. I could draw with pens in black and white or colour. This was my first set of ProMarkers – 12 pens and a blender. I sell the equivalent repackaged set today in the shop to encourage others.
My first experiences of sketching in public were on sketchmeets in London and Cambridge with the organisation Urban Sketchers were 30 or more people might gather at a location and draw before and after lunch and share their pictures with other without judgement – professional artists, amateur beginners like me, architects, … an amazing experience and safe place to ask questions and talk about how art helped you.
In 2017 after leaving teaching due to what I would make my final breakdown mentally in education I launched AndyKnillArt and set out to find if anyone would buy my art. I really had no idea and so my art learning curve increased. Here at my first craft fair I didn’t have many pieces of work.
A year later and I rented a whole bay section in Wareham at the Purbeck Artisan Yard so my work could be seen somewhere all year round. I stayed a member of the yard until October 2020.
In 2017 I jumped into Purbeck Art Weeks as we had a suitable outbuilding to use for an Open studio. In 2017 I had about 8 pieces of work. This shows 2018 when the prolific nature of my drawing shows clearly and I had so many more pieces.
Yes 2019 ends with me renting half a shop to sell my art and work 3 to 4 days a week. Could this really be true less than 3 years after launching myself as an artist. The shop has helped in my enjoyment of meeting a wide variety of people and I have learnt so many new skills in running a business in premises and helping people to find us.
One of my areas of the shop shows again that I have continued to draw a variety of themes and topics and continue to produce a prolific amount of art. On the right is a blank canvas of a pith helmet – this is now in the window sporting a selection of Jungle scenes.
Covid and the pandemic has been another learning curve. Each tax year from 2017 to 2021 I have increased my sales every year. This March the business has moved into the black, even when the shop will have been locked down for 6.5 of 12 months.
I will keep learning whether it be drawing techniques, subjects I can represent in a way that I am satisfied with, sharing my love of art for fun with all ages and encouraging others to try it even they think that they “can’t draw”.
I hope that this shows how an interest / skill / practice can develop even later in life. Always be prepared to learn – be a self declared lifelong learner like me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-123416164-4873-6109524821ff0' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=123416164&post_id=4873&origin=andyknillart.com&obj_id=123416164-4873-6109524821ff0' data-name='like-post-frame-123416164-4873-6109524821ff0'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>