Two Donkeys
About Su Melville

Why Art?

It’s a simple question really but so NOT at the same time, it involves a back story. So, here’s why art.

I think the phrase is ‘buckle up buttercup’ – here’s your answer!

I was surrounded by art as a child, my mum paints, my grandmother painted. But as a child you don’t notice these things, I was more interested in what was for tea and could we bake cakes today?

Of course, I was always colouring in. I loved colouring in! Then I would make mud sculptures, dry them in the sun. (it was the late seventies when we had real summers and could pretty much do what we wanted provided we were home before dark) And then I’d paint them using whatever was at hand. Blackberries made GREAT paint and don’t get me started on beetroot! 

That was put a stop to reasonably quickly due to the mess and inability to get the stains out. I’ve never been particularly clean.

It was around then I was given some paints and an apron, I think it was to mitigate the mess.

Childhood Dreams

I remember as a child wanting to colour in for a living, being an artist was never mentioned.

I also remember wanting to be a long-distance lorry driver like Clara from Pigeon Street so my ambitions weren’t really too fixed.

A Proper Job

At eighteen I was told to get a ‘proper job’. At this point, I was wanting to be an actress which wasn’t exactly going to plan… that’s a book on its own!

So I looked to my father who used to take us to London on theatre trips and to visit Hamley’s and concluded that whatever he did must be good. So I followed his example and became an accountant.

To be fair I enjoy accountancy (I know, but there it is) there’s a nice comfy pattern to numbers. Once you know the rules they behave really well and I rather liked the overall symmetry.

I climbed a corporate ladder, got qualified and specialised in finance systems. I had a variety of personal disasters and successes, two kids etc. etc. And creativity was left behind along with sleep and well, me really.

A Big Change

After a particularly rough patch (life does that periodically). I was sent home from work with stress, I had all the markers bar two – weight loss (I was gutted) and excess drinking (I lied).

I was ushered off to a counsellor who suggested I did something I love, just for me, just for a little bit. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I did anything I loved that was just for me. I thought about cleaning the fridge – apparently, that wasn’t what he meant.

At home, I cleaned out some old drawers trying to wrack my brains as to what I loved. And it was there that I found an old box of paints. There it was, that was it, I loved to colour in!

I found an old picture of a boating holiday I’d gone on years previously and popped to the Range for a canvas and a brush or two.

I loved painting that boat – it’s the one painting I will never sell!

While I was painting some parents watched from the school across the road (on reflection I probably should’ve had net curtains). I got a note through the door asking if I did commissions and would I paint their dog?

why art


A Serendipitous Event

Of course! Was my response, followed by a quick foray to the shop to buy supplies and a book on how to paint animals…

I discovered that while I painted I felt relaxed, happy even.

I went back to work and at weekends dragged my kids around craft fairs where I sold prints of my paintings and took commissions. I showed my in exhibitions and even won awards! These commissions and sales funded my art supplies and took us on little holidays.

The more I painted the more I wanted to show other people how to paint, to show them that it’s basically colouring in and it’s FUN!

Fast forward to now and I have ditched the corporate world and I now proudly colour in for a living. I show other people how creativity makes you think ‘outside the box’ and generally makes you a happier person.

Sharing Art

I love to show other aspiring artists that art IS a proper job and that art is completely non-competitive. Everybody’s style is different therefore there is an artist for every art admirer. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder (unless you’ve ever played D&D, those beholders are strange!).

I show those who want to have a go but feel they can’t because they’re not any good, to stop comparing themselves to others. Chances are they’re comparing themselves to Constable. And let’s face it he had a huge amount of training and practice. I bet you would think differently if you looked at the first thing he ever drew!

So why Art?

It’s a leveller – everyone can colour in.

It’s fun – who doesn’t like to have fun?

It’s creative – you walk away with something you can hang on your wall and be proud of!

It’s a game-changer – all of a sudden you’ll see the world differently. That thing you couldn’t quite figure out will be seen in a different light which may actually help you solve it…

why art

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