Inspired People – Sheila Arthurs
Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.
Today’s inspired person is Sheila Arthurs, an artist of remarkable flexibility and diversity. I’ve drooled over her doodles for some time now, but she also creates some gorgeous hand painted fabrics and dabbles in another love of mine, crochet. It is great to have her here as my guest and to grab a peek at the spark behind her creations.
Who are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?
I retired from full time employment many years ago and started the most enjoyable, creative and satisfying period of my life (so far) As a commercial artist I worked in advertising, package and toy designing and for many years when the children were young I worked from home as a free-lance designing anything from picnic ware to toffee tins.
Yes, it was an epiphany of sorts, as a child during WW2 I lived on a very ordinary housing estate in Birmingham and didn’t have access to Art Galleries etc., it wasn’t part of the local culture and the war created travel restrictions too. We had new neighbours move in and their grown up daughter painted in oils, mainly bluebell woods and I was absolutely amazed, it was the first time I realised that “people like us” could do that.
Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?
When I was 10 we moved house to within a five minute walk of Moseley Road School of Arts and Crafts, one of only two junior art schools in the UK! At twelve years old I passed the entrance exam and met like minded people for the first time. We had a young teacher Truda Lane who showed us that art was more than copying old masters and that we could be adventurous, she was a challenge both to us and to the established staff!
What do you create? Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?
During the past twelve months I have recovered my love of drawing and painting. For many years it felt too much like work and I relished the opportunity to work in other mediums. I started quilting and working with fabrics and fibre arts of any description. I am incapable of not wanting to try everything I see at exhibitions, my collection of beads would make Aladdin’s cave look under stocked. Last year free style crochet was my first love.
Perhaps the greatest inspiration and joy is the internet. It’s less than 10 years since I bought my first computer and it has changed my life. Apart from the practical emails etc., that I use for my everyday connections it has opened up the world of art and design and a community of artists who are producing amazing work. Not to mention the opportunity to share and swap art and learn new techniques. I know that to my children and grandchildren these things are commonplace, but for me it has changed my world and I am grateful for the joy it brings every day.
How often do you create? Do you procrastinate? How do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do? Where do you create?
I create nearly every day, sometimes if time is limited it will only be a sketch while sitting in front of the TV, but if I am working in a series or I am really inspired I will spend most of the day and quite a bit of the night working. My workspace is officially in an extension but this time of the year it’s a bit chilly so I work on the dining room table and my armchair is surrounded by sketchbooks and drawing stuff. Living alone it’s OK to take over the house!
What do you enjoy doing the most?
Having re-discovered my love of drawing my greatest joy is doodling, whether on a basic or convoluted design, it’s very therapeutic and calming. Time passes in a flash, I become obsessed with “just this next bit” and am almost sorry when a doodle is done. I love that I can use hand painted fabric as background, either printing it out and doodling on top or going into Photoshop and playing with the fabric background and the doodle together.
My next project is to produce enough doodles to make a book of some sort but at the moment it is just an idea which needs a whole lot of thought.
In the meantime, there is a whole world of websites and blogs to visit and to share all that amazing stuff. Isn’t life amazing?