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Top Tips



Clare Brownlow discusses her top tips for any budding artists.

Top Tips if you want to become an artist. First, I’d say go and get some form of training and inspiration.

I went to Edinburgh College of Art and Leith School of Art. Leith just blew my mind; it was amazing. It really taught me so many different things, different processes and inspired me hugely. But literally as I started, I was just pregnant with Harry. The fumes of mixing oil paints, pigments, rabbit skin glue and the like wasn’t an ideal situation. Although going somewhere where there are other people that are talented and artistic allows you to broaden your horizons.

It’s also an opportunity to see what other people are doing.  In saying that – do not copy them by God, please don’t. It’s so frustrating for an artist and you want to be true to yourself and be your own person. Yes, people say, “it’s the greatest form of flattery” but it’s the highest form of irritation. Do your own thing. Be your own person. That’s the biggest bit of advice I can give you. And if people don’t like it, take you on the chin, suck it up, move on, try something and keep going.

I’m lucky enough that I found the pheasant feathers purely by accident. I thought “oh this is fun”. Then I asked myself “how can I develop it more? How can I push it forward?” I did develop and push the style forward and I continue to do so. Now looking back at my style over the past few years, I look back and go “oh my God, oh that’s not erm very good”. Looking back, I can see my work keeps getting better. I’m just looking to try new things with the pheasant feather and develop it further.

If you’re getting frustrated have a clear up. Burn stuff, or don’t, I find it really satisfying when I’m getting a bit frustrated. When I’m snowed under with work and I’ve got loads of things aren’t going my way I have a massive bonfire and get rid of stuff. Sometimes I think I’ll go back to work on that a bit more and sometimes that does work. Sometimes it really does work to go back to a piece and work on it. Other times you just need just to get rid of things and just start afresh. It’s like when you fall off a bike – you dust yourself off, get up, back up again and keep going.

Top things I would suggest to anyone looking to become an artist:

  • Be your own person
  • Do your own thing
  • Get inspiration
  • Don’t do it because you have to do it because you love it. The moment you feel that you have to do something, it loses integrity and the guts to a painting.
  • Keep persevering and take a breather because it is hard to do
  • Try new things
  • Be yourself
  • Find something that’s different
  • Listen to what people say and take it on board. I don’t get too upset if people say “oh, it looks like it’s been shot” about my paintings. That’s a great one, I get that a lot and I say, “oh, yeah, I know, that’s great. Thanks”.

Just be yourself, try something different, be creative and original. That’s what I’m doing.

Good luck!

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