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How to make it as an artist - my story starts here

OK, I've done it. I've given up a perfectly good job as CEO of a national charity to become a full-time artist. The prospect of doing what I love for a living is incredibly exciting but also more than a little daunting. I'm completely self-taught, I've had no education or training in the arts (other than an art O'level!) and as far as I can see there isn't really a standard career path that fledgling artists like me can follow, or even much by way of formal support and guidance to lean on. Add to that the nagging old adage that you can't make a living from art (just Google those last six words and see what I mean...). I'm just going to take the bull by the horns and find my own way.

I want to use this blog to share my journey so that others who might be toying with the idea of chasing the same dream can perhaps learn something from my successes and failures.

I also want to tell the story of my art. Whether you're interested in buying some of my work or are a current or aspiring artist yourself, I'm going to show you how I create my paintings and talk about the inspiration and stories behind them. And I'll I certainly be promoting the cause of pastels as an art form.

Even if you don't like art, I'm going to shamelessly sell Snowdonia and North Wales by sharing my experiences as I explore this most beautiful corner of the British Isles in search of new subject matter.

Having said all that, I do need be clear about one thing. I'm not going into this completely blind, nor am I risking destitution in the same way that someone younger might be as they embark on art as a first career. I have painted on a semi-professional basis in the past, when living in the Pennines. I held solo exhibitions, won awards and sold work regularly through several galleries. In fact, it was the demand from galleries for more and more work that caused the the whole thing to be a little short-lived. I was trying to juggle the art with a young family and a 'proper' day job that paid the bills, so something had to give.

Now, 15 years on, the kids are older and I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford to make the leap that friends and family have been encouraging me to make for years. Experience tells me that my work sells; I now need to see if I can take it to a whole new level.

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