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Guest Blog - Pup Goes the Easel

We have a whole host of incredible stockists at Petworth Pop Up and here on our blog posts we would like to share an insight into some of the incredible businesses we work with.

PUP GOES THE EASEL - checking out their website

Thank you for registering on my website and for showing your support for my business, Pup Goes The Easel. This website was crafted, with love, by my eldest daughter, Grace. I am tremendously thankful to her for enabling my online art business which has introduced my pet portraits to a global audience. Without her technical expertise, guidance, support (and patience), none of this would have been feasible.


I felt it would be apt, at the outset of my 'website journey', to introduce myself and narrate the creative voyage that has led me to where I stand today. So, hang on to your hat…

I've always had a penchant for creativity but would never have labelled myself an artist. It felt somewhat surreal as I approached my 7th decade to acknowledge that I indeed was one!


As a very young girl, I was introduced to the enchanting realm of yarns through a delightful little toy named Knitting Nancy. I whiled away hours crafting long knitted sausages and stitching them together to make mats. Subsequently, I ventured into basic knitting, aided by my mum, and began fashioning simple garments for my Teeny Tiny Tears doll. It seemed magical how a lengthy strand of yarn could metamorphose into a garment. During my teenage years, I relished purchasing fabrics at local markets and transforming them into wearable pieces. I was a self-taught seamstress. I'd take an existing garment and draft a pattern from it on newspaper or brown wrapping paper. Then, armed with the old Singer sewing machine gathering dust in our home, I'd commence my work! Fabric was relatively inexpensive back in the 70s, while clothes were exorbitantly priced.


I relished the uniqueness of my creations – especially for parties. I'd use 'Simplicity' or 'Style' patterns for garments I didn't already possess. However, what truly thrilled me was designing eccentric and unconventional party attire. It was the late 70s, the era of Punk and the New Romantics, a time that fostered experimentation. I distinctly recall crafting extraordinarily 'baggy trousers' from an old white bed sheet adorned with hundreds of large, multi-coloured, crescent moon-shaped sequins. I must have been the star of the soirée. Well, at least I felt like one, and, unsurprisingly, nobody else quite matched my look!


For my 16th birthday, my parents bestowed upon me a brand-new, contemporary Frister & Rossmann sewing machine. It marked a new chapter in my sewing endeavours. Who would have thought a machine could stitch buttonholes for you? That dependable machine served me diligently over the ensuing decades. Apart from sewing clothes for myself, I crafted bridesmaids' dresses, attire for my expanding family, soft furnishings, bunting, and even fancy dress costumes for various school events and productions.


As a young adult, I dabbled in various other crafts. I relished attending workshops conducted by artisans, acquainting myself with new and exciting art forms. When I relocated from London to Farnham in my late twenties, I was spoilt for choice with craft workshops. Farnham, a World Craft Town, brimmed with talented and imaginative individuals eager to share their expertise. I fashioned numerous items in mosaics and a handful of stained-glass panels. I even fashioned garden wigwams, cloches, and Christmas stars from willow after attending some stellar local workshops.


Upon settling in the picturesque Surrey countryside, my artistic journey developed as I became drawn to painting. Initially, I experimented with watercolours. I relished sitting beneath the shade of an ancient apple tree, endeavouring to capture the beauty of our little corner of Surrey. My grasp of perspective was shaky, and I was clueless about technique, but I plunged ahead, nonetheless. Some of my attempts weren't bad and I really enjoyed the creative process. However, watercolours didn't quite resonate with me as a medium.


A few years later, I stumbled upon the allure of acrylic paints. I was immediately drawn to their bold, jewel-like hues and the ease with which they could be applied. At the time, I harboured a fascination with Indian and Moorish design, delighting in the vibrant colours they employed. I also felt an affinity for naive art. Consequently, one of my early acrylic painting creations was a painting depicting a town that, in my mind, resembled a fairy-tale Bethlehem. It proudly adorned our walls for many years.

As life tends to do, it grew hectic with the demands of family, work, and our pup. I was also pursuing a part-time degree in English Literature with the Open University. Free time became a luxury, and opportunities for creative expression dwindled. Once my children matured a bit, gained independence, and I completed my studies, avenues for creativity began to open up again.


My next acrylic painting depicted our family pet, a rescued Lurcher named Parker, a birthday gift for my daughter. At the time, she was enamoured with Frida Kahlo, so I decided to capture both their spirits by portraying Parker with a monobrow! One might say this was the seed from which Pup Goes The Easel blossomed.


Fast forward a decade, and my daughter relocated to Tenerife. There, she learned about the plight of hunting dogs on the Canary Islands, becoming involved with rescue centres that sheltered and rehomed them. She adopted a Podenco puppy named 'Frida' and stumbled upon a tiny, abandoned kitten under a skip outside her home, whom she took in. Inspired by their essence, she commissioned me to paint them.


In the summer of 2022, my family urged me to paint a few more pup breeds in my distinctive and quirky style. I utilised some of my savings to have them professionally printed as fine art prints and luxury greetings cards, which I sold at markets and on Etsy. Thus, Pup Goes The Easel was born! 


It was a thrilling yet nerve-wracking moment. Your heart is invested in your art. You lay bare your soul to the public when you present your art to them. It makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, especially when you're self-taught and lack formal training. I felt like an impostor. Nonetheless, the myriad of positive comments I received and the smiles I witnessed when people viewed my work were immensely gratifying, encouraging, and uplifting.


I had never ventured into business before. There was much to learn! Social media was uncharted territory for me, and I soon realised that without it, I would struggle. I had to grasp stock control and spreadsheets as well. With the assistance of family and friends, I acquired the skills necessary for my business to thrive.


Subsequently, my product range expanded to include tea towels, tote bags, mugs, notebooks, postcards, and button badges. I received commissions to paint pup portraits, both in the UK and overseas. My creations are stocked in Rainbow Roar, Farnham, and the Petworth Pop Up Shop, Petworth. Who knows what 2024 holds for me and the pups? One thing is certain – it will be an exhilarating and positive journey.


Thank you for embarking on my 'website journey' with me, and please help spread the word!

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