Updated: Sep 1
I have to say, when I set up this website a few months ago, I never thought I’d be writing my first proper blog post in the midst of a viral pandemic, quarantined and under lockdown in my own art studio. What strange times we are living in. That said, I hope wholeheartedly that you are well, happy, and safe out there in the world. How are you, really?
I’ll tell you a secret; I did so much research before starting to write this post. I enjoy the perks of social media as much as the next person, but I confess I’m not a natural blogger. I write, avidly, but I write songs, fiction and academic essays. The blogging phenomenon is one I never quite got on board with, so I hope I’m going to do a good job of this! (You’ll have to let me know how it goes.)
Anyway, the general consensus seems to be that introducing myself is the best way of getting the ball rolling on a new blog, so here goes nothing.
My name is Meredith, but you can call me Merry. Actually, my real ‘birth' name is Dani, but I never really felt like me until I asked people to start calling me Merry. It’s strange how much difference a name can make to one’s own sense of self, don’t you think?
As you probably know since you’re already here (and I don't know how you got here, but thank you!), I’m a full-time artist. I work freelance from my home studio in Bedfordshire, although I always say that one day I’ll live and work beside the ocean. I’m a qualified SCUBA diver and I adore the sea. But, for now, I live in a house with my dog, at the bottom of a hill with a church on top, and if I walk through the hilltop meadow beyond it I can walk straight into the woods - a place where so much of my inspiration comes from.
Colour, Creatures & Creativity
As an artist, what I love most is to work with my imagination; I love colour and fantastical things. I’ve never been one for photorealism - although I admire (with envy) artists who have a talent for this. Most of my ideas come from the natural world, combined with the magical one inside my head. I also love to draw ‘characters’ and often revisit animals I drew in previous pieces. For example, some years ago I drew 'The Yuletide Brethren', and I’ve since gone back and dedicated further work to both the fox and the owl featured in it. In my head, they're now fondly known as Vixen and Wisdom (I'll let you figure out which is which!). Oh, and the little robin of the Brethren was actually transplanted from an even earlier artwork called 'Snowgazer'. I’m planning on revisiting the hare next.
So, my head is full of little creatures who all seem to slowly come to life over time. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, or whether I’m in fact slightly mad, but it seems to work for me. And many customers often ask me to re-imagine their own pets and animal companions in this way, so I guess it works for them too! But if you want to find out more about those particular artworks, you can head over to my Commissions gallery here.
More than just an art blog
Of course, the obvious motivation behind including a blog on my site is to sell my art - that’s what every professional artist wants, right? I mean, we all need to eat (although I should probably try harder to lay off the cheese). But the more I think about it, the more I want this to be so much more than just a journal of my work. I want to use this space to share things with you - I want us to talk about our stories and experiences, our imagination and inspiration… All the things that make us unapologically and creatively human. And I want it to be a place where you can share things too. All you have to do is click ‘comment’, the site will ask you to set up a login and password, and then you’re good to go. That’s all, I promise - you don’t have to sign away your soul to me if you want to join in. Not unless you really want to, anyway.
In due course, I’d like to fill this blog with insights and how-to’s, art and other magical things, and hopefully build a small community around it. I’m not under any illusion that this vessel for my ramblings is going to win over the internet, but it’s rather fun to try. And in time, I’d like to invite guest posts to this blog from you creatives, dreamers and thinkers too. Got something to say? Drop me a line and we’ll talk.
I think that’s probably enough for today. I should probably go and do some actual artwork, and I’m sure you have things to be getting on with too.
I’m going to leave you with a few 'fun facts' about me, in the hope it will give those of you who don’t know me a better look at the artist behind the pencils.
I’m one of those superbly annoying people who’s a sucker for an inspirational quote. You’re going to find quite a lot of them in this blog.
As well as being a full-time artist, I also read tarot and co-run a spiritual development group on the side. Keeping busy keeps me out of trouble (mostly).
The dog I mentioned? His name’s Timothy. He looks like a gremlin but I’m fairly certain he’s a Staffy. Still wouldn’t risk feeding him after midnight though.
Any astrologers out there? I’m a Leo sun with a Capricorn moon and Scorpio rising; make of that what you will.
I usually slope off to my bath tub at the end of the day with a candle and a good book (to read the book by candlelight, not to set it on fire)... It’s about the only place I can go where no one tries to talk to me. Mostly because they know I’ll slap them with a wet flannel if they try.
My iTunes has quite the eclectic mix on it, from David Bowie to Dolly Parton. I’m listening to it on shuffle as I write. The current song is Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’, but about three songs along on the up next function is Dr Jones by Aqua. It really is a case of 'from the sublime to the ridiculous' here.
I have a horse called Oreo. Yes, he’s black and white. And no, I didn’t name him.
Everyone calls my studio The Witch’s Cottage, because it has all sorts of cool witchy things in it - like old books, crystal balls and tarot cards.
I call myself a ‘walking paradox’, because I struggle to reconcile my artistic-self with my academic-self. I’m currently studying an MA in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church university. It’s honestly the best thing I’ve ever done, and strangely I’m not sure I’d have ever taken the step into full-time ‘artistry’ without it.
I love laughing. You know, that unrefined, raucous, can’t-breath, tears-streaming-down-your-face, think-you-might-die kind of laughing. I’m about as elegant as a sack of spuds anyway, so I might as well embrace it.
I never thought my life would turn out this way; I’m still not sure whether I like surprises.
Oh, and you know those inspirational quotes I warned you about? Well, here’s your first one. Sorry, not sorry.
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”
~E. B. White