Taking time out to learn new skills

Like many businesses the corona virus certainly did throw a spanner in my works. But sometimes taking a step back and being forced to take a different approach to how I make my living has opened my mind up to learning new skills. The last few months have proved to be a ‘lockdown learning curve’.

With all my Country Shows, Markets and Art Exhibitions  all cancelled, and my Art Workshops and classes postponed until it’s safe to teach again, I have had to adapt and change.


I thought at the very beginning of the lockdown that never again would I get this amount of uninterrupted time so I set out to learn new skills. Normally my time is filled with creating pet portrait commissions, wildlife illustrating, workshop planning and a part time job. So having this opportunity to take time out to learn, build and expand on my skills was not to be missed.

Finances governed some my choices as to what to embark on. With my normal income channels now cancelled I had to think of new ways to sell my products and services, so one of my biggest projects over this period has been to build this website and online shop. With no income it became a necessity to do this all myself, which was certainly challenging and a massive learning curve.


We all sit within our safety zones and stick to doing what we know best. But for a long time I have been wanting improve my watercolour painting and drawing skills. My animal and pet portraits are all highly detailed and I have wanted to find a way of loosening up my work by painting and drawing with some looser, more fluid marks. 

I set out to try new art materials, so I purchased oil pastels, pastel pencils, gouache paint, new papers and just played and experimented. It was amazing how quickly you can learn new techniques and adapt these into your art making.

I have also done a few online courses and taken part in the BBC 4’s life drawing class, and I can honestly say my artwork and my approach to my work has improve hugely. 

Out of necessity other projects came to the fore. I bought an old Singer sewing machine a few years ago but was too lazy, too busy, too preoccupied, too scared to invest the time to learn how to use it properly, so it has been sitting in my studio gathering dust. However seeing some of the face mask offerings on the market, let’s face it they are not the most attractive of accessories I decided to have ago and make some for my family and myself. I was pretty pleased with the results and questioned why I hadn’t used this beautiful old machine before.


So from initially worrying at the beginning of the crisis of how my art business would fair, I am hopefully in a better position to move my business along having learnt new skills and created new opportunities to build my business. 

Its quite amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. 😁