I have decided to try to write my blog once a week, to keep on practicing, until I am awesome at it!! To be honest this technology thing is tricky for me. Im not an instructions kind of person, I just press random buttons which look kind of right and hope for the best. Its a wonder I got that quote above there at all!
 Anyway, its there because it relates to slate and creating things and as you know,  I create art on slate. And you also may know how I discovered that slate is such a beautiful canvas if you read my first ever blog... I went to the reclamation yard, picked up a slate to do a house sign, saw that it was cool to paint on, worked out how to present them as a finished piece of art.... There you go, you're up to speed!
I just thought you may be interested in hearing a little bit more details of the process of that, as with a lot of things it has been something that takes quite a bit of effort. So the first thing I do is collect the slate from here...

This is the reclamation yard where I go to choose my slate... Im very choosy, there is a lot there, but most of it isn't suitable. It has to be the beautiful ones with lots of colours from years on a roof. If I'm lucky I even find ones with fossils in. 
I like the cornish slate as that usually fits the bill. 

Sometimes the slate is high up in big crates and if so I get some help from the lovely people who work there...

Then I get them home, bash them about a bit so that they fit on the board nicely and also don't look too uniform. I then sort out the boards... I buy the board which comes all long and uncut, so I ask my gorgeous husband to cut the board and then sand the board...he's good like that! 

The boards are then painted and ready for the slates. Once the slates are cleaned I am ready to paint them. 

I haven't got any photos of me painting them, I haven't even got any photos of my new studio, something to look forward to in future blogs  
I paint the slates with either Gouache which is lovely to use for the fine lines I often paint. I used to use it for the other details, until I discovered Golden acrylics and experimented with the colours. I can't even say how much I love using them now. The colours are rich, bright and totally gorgeous. They are expensive especially as they are liquid and it is not a rare occurrence that I knock one of them over and have to try desperately to scoop it up or use it in my paintings before it dries!

I sometimes just use white gouache to paint the wild flower slates, because they work so well in their simplicity..

 Once painted, I seal them with varnish to further enhance the colours of the painting and of the slate. The varnish also protects the painting. 

And finally, finally, I mount them on the board and put the fittings on the back. Ready to go... Phew! 

Painting a picture from the beginning..

So this is actually just my second blog having promised myself that I would regularly write one.. Sorry about that. I guess I was focusing on family and other aspects of my business and couldn't quite think what else people would want to know! So, I thought that I would start at the beginning, because I think its nice to get an idea of the person behind the art.

This is a picture of me and my older sister, Janette. She is the one on the right and it was her first day at school. I don't know why I also had a little brown suitcase by my feet and look so excited. I guess her enthusiasm was catching!
 Anyway, it is one of my favourite photos I have of us. It is a bit faded a picture as it was taken probably about 39 years ago, as we are now getting on a bit! Its also pretty sunny, as we were both born in Zimbabwe and we lived there and South Africa, until we came back to England for a holiday when I was six, before moving to New Zealand... but never left! It was a bit of a culture shock for us coming to England. I now only have vague memories of our life in Africa. I tell my children I had a pet cameleon which we found in the garden, when I think the reality may have been that I was only able to keep it for a day or two as it was a bit mean to keep it any longer! I also recall to my children the time that my sister came running in crying because a monkey had opened her little suitcase and stolen her banana!
I know that at least one time we had lion footprints through our garden! It was all pretty cool in my little child head!

So we left all that behind and came to England, where we were teased for saying things differently and very soon didn't say things differently at all!
 We went to stay with loads of different family in Scotland, Essex and Cornwall and finally settled in Sussex, where my parents still live.
Life wasn't easy for them I don't think, its hard starting a fresh with a young family to support, but a lot of my childhood was filled with awesomely simple perfect memories. My dad was the gardener for a boarding school when I was nine to fifteen and we lived in the grounds. (in a house obviously!!)  There we had a lake that we swam in all summer. It had a jetty and a diving board and logs floating in it that we swam out to and dived off.  I can't actually tell you how much I loved it there.
We used to use the old tennis courts to roller skate and when I grew out of my roller skates my dad cut the ends off so my toes poked out..oh yes, I was cool even then, especially going to roller discos.... I knew it was an good look!......
I climbed trees like a pro and when the big storm of 1987 hit, as we lived next to a big wood, we took the opportunity to climb a lot of fallen down trees and built camps in under the branches.

I don't want to paint a perfect childhood, it wasn't always easy, but out of it my sister and I knew that we were loved and utterly supported. Our parents taught us that kindness is the most important thing. To treasure what you have is about treasuring who you love, not money or stuff. That's real success, isn't it?

My very first blog!

Eek! Ive been putting this off for so so long, because I just do not know how to write a blog...what do I say, how will it be perceived? Who will care?? 

So why am I doing this to myself? Why am I inflicting this on you? Because I have to face it. I need to get myself out there, to be a bit more present, so to speak. It's 2016 and I need to get with the program!!

Well, here goes. I thought that I would write a little bit about me, where I am now with my  art business, where I came from and where Im going!! 

So, as I put in the front of my website, I gave up my job in November 2015. This was an important job for me. I'd trained for three years, way back in the nineties to be a Occupational therapist specialising in mental health. Im not going to go into this too much, but I will say, I loved it. I loved almost all of the people, including the clients, their carers and  all my colleagues and on the whole, I loved the work that I did. (just not the paperwork!) And that is why I did it for nearly twenty years!

In 2010, I attended a course in supporting people with mental health problems to motivate themselves to change negative aspects of their lives. As an exercise within this training we were asked to think of something in our lives that we had been putting off. We all thought about it and others came back with things such as going back to the gym, trying out cooking etc, you get the gist. I had been thinking about the fact that my art had taken a back seat in my life and had done for many years. I'd done a level art and apart from the odd evening class and almost none stop doodling, I had done nothing art based since.
My two boys were still small then, but I had evenings and a bit more time to myself. So my aim for the next week on this course was to have painted a picture. And paint it I did. Admittedly, it was just a giant doodle but I was so proud of it, I framed it! 

Once I had started, there was absolutely no stopping me. I became a bit obsessed. I would laugh at how I was then, apart from the fact that Im exactly the same now!! Very quickly, I was making things for family and friends and soon after that I was doing craft fairs locally. I was doing this alongside my proper job as well as being a Mum. I didn't care, when everyone else was just watching tv I was painting. I soon started to print my cards and I decided to approach a couple of shops locally.

 I will always remember the day i decided to go on my first road trip. I won't name names, but it is suffice to say the day wasn't initially that successful! I was feeling very dejected as some people are a little bit tactless...no I'll be honest they are actually really rude. Maybe they have a lot of people approach them and they get bored of being kind about it, I don't know.... All i know is that I limped wounded and dejected into 93 Totnes, ( www.littlebluebudgie.co.uk/) my favourite shop in one of my favourite towns as my last stop of the day. Penny greeted me with a smile and an open mind. I admit now, my cards weren't that great, but she saw something in them that she liked, and she agreed to buy some. 

I cannot say how encouraging this was for me! I still have my work there, but it is a bit more than a few cards now. I have a great fondness and loyalty for Penny and Graham. If it wasn't for them I would have gone home fully rejected that day and that would have been a very very bad start. As it was, i was encouraged to continue. There has been a lot of rejection since then, but the knowledge that people have my work in their shops and customers are buying it, spurs me on. 

In the midst of this, my art was and is, slowly developing. My husband and I visited a reclamation yard in 2012, and I bought a old roofing slate as I thought it would make a good house name if I painted on it. I just loved the way the paint looked on the slate, but I particularly loved the fact that each slate was different, each had a story of its own and this often was evident in the marks on the slate, the colours that they had turned over the years. Ive often find fossils embedded in them. 

I worked out pretty early on that they needed to be mounted on a board and that needed fittings to hang the slate as a finished product, but other than that the overall look has changed a lot to something that now I feel proud to sell. 

This is true for all of my designs that I sell as originals and prints, as well as cards. People always ask me what my inspirations are. The short answer is I find inspiration all around me, Ive got that kind of brain, definitely less academic and more creative! We live in the most stunning South Devon where we have rivers, beaches, moors and breathtaking countryside all around us. I love to try to capture some of the beauty of this and often incorporate an animal or two. My most favourite is the hare, but I also love a fox or two, all painted in my own style.   

I have recently been thinking of why I use quotes within my work. At first I thought that it was just because they are popular. People seem to like them. There is certainly an element of this. But, I think a big part of it is that I want my art to inspire people. I want it to have a positive impact that sometimes is enhanced with a quote. I'm totally choosy mind, I cannot bear cheese! (i love actual cheese though...)

So, where was I? Oh yes, the small matter of leaving the job I loved!
 Well it was simple. I was juggling the two as well as being a mum and in the beginning this worked great. I felt that I had the best of all worlds. I was even able to reduce my hours which again worked well for a while. Until three factors changed. One was my business was going better and i was getting more and more work. Two, I felt that l was struggling being the mum I wanted to be. In retrospect I see I was getting more grumpy at home as it was getting harder to do it all. And three, at work I recognised that it was impossible to be as dedicated as I had to be in that type of work. I discussed it with my husband, who I really couldn't have done this without. He is very easy going about these things and encouraged me to go for it. So in October 2015, I gave my notice in! 

So, here we are eight months later and things are going really well for me. I have my art in a lot more shops and galleries, my Facebook page kate andrew artistPosts is great and Im even thinking of going for it on Instagram!! I had my first exhibition in a gallery in Cardiff with my sister  @janettegoringedesigns which was great and it was so nice to have my big sister by my side!

After leaving work, I almost immediately applied for a studio and was lucky enough to be accepted by Hannah's at  Seale Hayne. www.discoverhannahs.org/seale-hayne/. They have little studios that they rent out to artists. I love the fact that our house is not crammed full of my canvases, paints, slates etc etc!! I also love the fact that all the other artists and crafts people there are lovely and encouraging and they, as well as the other visitors give me someone other than the dog to talk to during the day! 

From my studio, I paint to my hearts content, listening to a combination of radio four and radio six music. I now feel a combination of more informed and a little bit cooler!

I love the fact that this is work!!!!!! I love the fact that my hours are mine to choose! I also love learning how to build my business and having the time to dedicate to it.

 I have been lucky enough to have been attending  Creative Women's network meetings organised by a lovely lady called Helen @kindredrosedesign . It is a chance for people just like me to meet and network but also hear from people who have valuable information to help us develop our businesses in the right direction. Most of these are people who are further down the line with their businesses and they are kind enough to pass on advise. These meetings have been so so useful for me, as Im really just feeling my way along. Every time I go my brain is buzzing because I want to take in every piece of information given, because it is so relevant to me. Ive even got over my shyness and cannot stop myself asking questions! (Im probably really annoying!)

So that is me in a nutshell. I really hope this hasn't been too boring...but actually having put it off for so long, it really was easy to do.

If you've got this far, well done and thank you for listening to me.

 Laters xx


I am Kate and I live in a small village in South Devon, with my husband, two children and dog Maggie. 
I am a self taught artist, having spent all my life doodling and dreaming (alongside having a career as an occupational therapist and raising two boys!)

For many years, as my focus was elsewhere, my only creativity was limited to doodling when ever I had a pen and paper. However in 2010, I decided to start properly drawing and painting again and I haven’t looked back.

I started off by painting pictures and using the images for greetings cards that I gave to family and friends. This soon developed to me doing craft stalls where I also sold some of my original work. 

Even in those early days, I was lucky enough to have my work accepted in a couple wonderful galleries in the South Hams and this gave me confidence that I was heading in the right direction. I still sell my work in those galleries, as well as two or three more (see galleries section of my website.) 

I have built up the number of places I sell my work, including my Facebook page ( Kate Andrew Artist  https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Andrew-Artist-1404815096405239/) where I have built up a following. It has meant that I have been able to have contact with people who like my work, whose constructive feedback has driven me on. I love the fact that I have conversations with so many people who often tell me the reasons they like my work or why they have purchased a particular piece. I find it inspiring and life affirming.

At the tail end of 2015, I made the enormous decision to dedicate more time to my art, leaving the job I had been doing for nearly twenty years.. Its early days, but so far I have absolutely no regrets!