This is Jess Purser, artist and illustrator, and owner of Castle On The Hill on Etsy. She lives in England and I love her whimsical style.
I had the chance to interview her for the Inspiration series by my guest bloggers, and here are her answers:
1- How did you get started in painting and art?
“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My mother went to art college and wanted
to study fashion, but unfortunately, wasn’t able to move from Yorkshire all the way down to London in the late 50’s – my granddad was petrified something terrible would happen to her! So when I came along, she taught me all she knew – that’s my ‘formal’ training in art! I kind of took a break in my teens and early twenties, thinking it was silly to be drawing pretty little ladies, although I always doodled little patterns.
When I heard of Etsy, through a friend, in 2007, we were living in Spain near my parents, who had moved over there a couple of years before and who needed help as my dad had become terminally ill. I couldn’t work full-time in case my parents needed me, and also because my eldest daughter was only 2 at the time. So, I started drawing and painting and trying to find my own style again. That style quickly reverted to pretty little ladies again!”
2- What inspires you?
“It’s a bit of a cliché to say everything inspires me, but it really does and depends on the mood of the day. Like this morning: I’ve been working on digital art more recently, trying to perfect it (although I’ll never abandon the canvas completely!) and work on perspective, too – that’s a weak point of mine. On my way to the post office, I was sort of looking at flowers and houses in a completely different way – thinking about which colours I would pick out for the light and shade and where the horizon and vanishing points would be. I’ve never really had the urge to draw houses before, but there it was. I find flowers quite difficult, almost impossible to capture, because their colours aren’t flat: if you look at a petal under a microscope, it is covered in bumps and textures, each reflecting light off its’ surface, so the different hues are bouncing off in all directions, making the overall colour so rich and velvety. I wish I could capture that! Something I’d like to paint more of at the moment, is mermaids. I made a few tiny paintings a while back, which are now postcards, but I’d love to do some more mysterious ones…after my current projects have finished!”
3- What obstacles have you had to overcome?
“Time and self-doubt are the two big things that hold me back.
We have a 9-year-old and a 12-month-old, so it isn’t always easy fitting artwork time around that and household chores, but we’re lucky to have a baby who is often happy to entertain herself to a degree, as long as I’ve laid out a few interesting toys/pots and pans/musical instruments for her to play with. My eldest daughter is wonderful with her little sister and at an age where she’s able to help out if needed, which is great.
Last week was a bad one as far as self-doubt goes. Sometimes I get so close to the edge of just throwing out all my paints and closing the Etsy shop completely when I see other, way better and more talented artists around, or feel that the art world is saturated and I’m just floundering around, not really getting any further or doing anything well enough. Sometimes the guilt creeps in and I feel the house is a mess and why didn’t I clean round the taps or hang up the washing – what a terrible mother/partner/human I am.”
4- How do you find the courage to keep going?
“I just have to remember that it’s impossible to keep up with everything perfectly – nobody can. Maybe we can just do our best, in our own ways, and try to make other people happy at the same time.”