I’ve been reflective about my art journey since my tenth anniversary (nearly two years ago!) of being self employed. I’m quite nervous about sharing pictures of my old work, but I want to show that through many years of practice, our art can evolve tremendously.


In 2012, I started my self-employed life by painting commissions. I painted family, individual, and pet portraits with oil paint and sometimes colour pencils. I loved it. I did get met with some challenges though, particularly in respect to pricing and timing. I paint dreadfully slowly, especially considering that oil is a slow drying medium, and due to my naivety I charged too little for my work. I would beaver away on each piece for several weeks and only made a hundred pounds. The oil paints were expensive too so I wasn’t making much money.

Experimenting with new mediums and subjects

In 2014, I decided to start painting a wider range of subjects such as animals and food, and tried using watercolour. It was challenging because I was so used to working with oil and colour pencils, but it was a fun experiment and I received a lot of encouragement from my followers. My techniques with watercolour weren't very good, but my colour pencil drawings were improving and getting quite realistic from practising (because I’d been working with this medium for a couple of years).

I set up a new online shop where I could sell some of my originals while continuing to complete commissions.

Camberwell College of Arts invited me to hold a stall at their Christmas market (I lived in Peckham in south east London at that time) and I reluctantly said yes. I quickly picked out my existing paintings and drawings and got them printed on cards and prints. I also designed my first ever Christmas cards – with watercolour robins, Christmas puddings, baubles and mince pies!

To my surprise the market was a triumph. A lot of people were so excited about my work and said lovely things. I remember feeling so surprised that my first ever products sold really well. My family came along to support me behind the stall, and we all went out for a celebratory dinner afterwards.

A year of markets and more watercolour artwork

I entered 2015 with a plan to book more markets. My cards and prints were listed on my online shop. I was enjoying watercolour so I continued working on it and my techniques kept improving. I was still doing some oil commissions as well. I noticed that my topic that year was predominantly animals! I think I was still figuring out what inspires me and what I enjoy painting.

A year of creative habits

I decided to enter 2016 with a commitment to paint every single day, with the help of Crystal Moody’s A Year of Creative Habits project. I joined a Facebook group with the community for accountability and received encouragement from the course leader. I hoped it would help me to be a confident painter and actually like my own work more. It also coincided with my partner and I making a big move to Nottingham in February!

The year of daily art was actually a game changer. I developed more self belief and confidence in my work. It highlighted my passion for nature and plants as well, and I found myself painting what I love more. Living in Nottingham and getting our first car helped too, as we got to visit the countryside and nature reserves often! And our new place was much bigger than our flat in London, so we had room for more houseplants.

I officially fell in love with watercolour that year and loved practising with this medium. I also experimented drawing with fine liner pens. I really enjoyed doing a lot of line drawings that year, and drew a series of inspiring women. I was still using oil paint too, but I had grown out of colour pencils!

I was also exploring the art of calligraphy – someone liked my calligraphy style so much that she asked me to create a bunch of hand lettering for the chapter titles in her new e-book!

You can read my blog posts about my year of creative habits and learn more about the power of daily art.

Improving watercolour techniques and expanding product ranges

After a year of creative habits, I continued working with watercolour – the medium I enjoyed the most and wanted to improve on. I expanded my range of cards and prints. Some brick-and-mortar shops were starting to reach out to me about stocking my products on a sale-or-return basis. I also worked on a memorable collaboration project with an embroidery artist and challenged myself to draw wildflowers for 100 days

Improved designs and new medium

In 2018, I expanded my product range with notebooks, notepads and postcards. My designs were becoming more refined as my watercolour techniques improved. I also learned how to turn my artwork into patterns, which lent itself well for products. Toward the end of the year, I decided to explore ceramics and found a local kiln firing service.

A year of ceramics

In 2019, I was finding a lot of joy in making functional clay pieces. I made a lot of planters, air plant holders and trinket dishes. I also made a few tile paintings, which sold really well.

I also found time to visit a few greenhouses that year and painted some watercolours based on the photos I took. I was still very much in love with watercolour. From that year onwards it became my most used medium, especially for my designs to be printed into a cohesive range of products.

I received a couple of wholesale requests, and found myself in the deep end because I had no idea how it worked or how to price my products. I mustered up the courage anyway and accepted my very first wholesale order! Orders were starting to trickle in and I decided that the wholesale side of business was worth pursuing, so I booked a stand at a trade show called Top Drawer in 2020.

Wholesale and watercolour experimentation

In January 2020 I had my first ever trade show and met a Head of Buying from RHS, plus some amazing shopkeepers that I am so honoured to call my stockists now.

Sadly the pottery studio I was using for the kiln firing closed because of the pandemic. So I had to stop doing ceramics, but I knew that I was going to pick it up again when I’d be able to. During the uneasy times, I had a little more creative time to paint for fun as my wholesale orders got less frequent. I got to paint animals again (including a T-rex!), and human figures. In time for Christmas, I launched my first ever range of wooden decorations in festive designs!

New products with a botanical theme

In 2021, my work was becoming more botanical focused. I relished painting houseplants (with inspiration from my own collection!), and flowers too. That year I wanted to fill the gaps of my card offerings, which meant more designs for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. These new designs are something I’m really proud of now, and most of the designs have become bestsellers! I love that they’re heavily botanical and recognisable as my painting style. I think my eye for designs had really improved around that time.

I then launched a new range of wooden decorations in five different houseplant leaves, and washi tapes in various designs, including my insect paintings. I was (and still am!) super proud of them.

I also learnt more about bees and painted them on World Bee Day. Check out my blog post about the bee project!

Garden themed art

In 2022 I was inspired by gardening and launched a lovely new range. (I dabbled in growing food from 2020 and outdoor gardening became my new hobby!). I got to paint snails, ladybirds, and even more bees! The collection also features a lot of flower paintings, which I’m really pleased with and work really well printed on cards and washi tapes. My painting style was getting stronger too – vibrant colours, detailed and illustrative.

It’s really nice that I tend to paint things I love and I like to think that my passion comes through my nature-inspired paintings.

I also made a collection about toadstools – it was a magical time painting them. They’re a little different from my designs, but they still look at home in my shop, being a part of the natural world!

I painted quite a lot of flowers that year, and even better, Nottingham Castle commissioned me to paint a catchfly flower, which is Nottingham's county flower. Amazingly this flower made a triumphant return during the COVID lockdown, after its eradication in the 1930s. My catchfly painting got made into patterns and onto products. If you want to learn more about it, read my blog post about the catchfly collaboration!

My ideas are endless

In 2023, I executed more design ideas and painted flowers, houseplants, and more notably, ferns, which became a wonderful collection. I’m really elated with how it turned out – my fern paintings look absolutely amazing printed, especially on my washi tape. I tackled a little more complicated painting too – a heart filled with houseplant leaves!  

I also got back into drawing sketchbook pages as I felt that I needed to make time to make art for fun and for myself. It’s quite difficult to find creative time these days when I am getting increasingly busy with orders and admin, being a one woman band! I use all different mediums in my sketchbooks, not just watercolour – fine liners, colour pencils, markers and pastels.


Going to a deaf artist retreat last November has really inspired me to have more fun in my painting sessions. I can be a perfectionist and forget how to have fun while I paint. At the start of the year, I told myself that I should paint more complex pieces (like the greenhouse paintings I did in 2019, but better!) and go bigger. 

I recently painted a complicated greenhouse scene in A3 size and I’m chuffed with it. I painted it without pencils or a sketch beforehand, (which I always did without fail in the past) so I’m surprised that I’m able to do it without preparation! Embracing imperfection was liberating, and I found a lot of joy in the process. I’m actually not 100% happy with the outcome, but the main thing is that I got to practise and take the opportunity to reflect on what I like (or don’t like) about it. I want to continue doing that and see where it leads.

Recently I had the opportunity to exhibit my new greenhouse painting at the conference for deaf visual artists. I had the frame professionally made for the painting, and I am so pleased with how it turned out.

I made some ceramic plates and fired them last month. My first ever biscuit firing with my new kiln was a success - hurrah! I was eager to start adding illustrations to the plates, but when I unearthed my old underglazes, they were rock hard. I am currently trying to rehydrate them by patiently adding water bit by bit!


It’s amazing to see how much my art changes, but both my old and new work still feel “me” all the way through. It’s like my art grows with me – for example, when I moved to Nottingham, which was a big life change, my work became more botanical as I could visit nature more and had room for more houseplants! It’s also me growing up I think, and having a clearer idea of who I am and what inspires me. I’m looking forward to seeing what my work is like in another 12 years!

Tagged: From The Studio


So fun to see this!!! Your style has remained strong but evolved – excited for another post in another 10 years!

— Fiona