We're delighted that Emma Curtis a mixed media artist who works from her home in The Fens has agreed to be interviewed by Ponyhour. Thank you Emma, now before we talk about your art would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a quirky creative living in a little cottage on The Fens with chickens, ducks, sheep, goats and my horse Star, and rescue dog Riley. I graduated with a BSc in astronomy, geology and biology, but the call to be creative was stronger. I enjoy combining my love of art and nature, making little things that make people smile.
Please tell us about your work?
I'm an artist who works in a variety of media, from digital to traditional mediums and printmaking, but the common theme of all my work is my love of birds, animals and nature. I'm lucky to be surrounded by nature on a daily basis living in the countryside, and I feel I appreciate it twice as much when I draw it. You start to see all the extraordinary details in things like feathers and eyes.
I also enjoy capturing character. All the different garden birds have their own characters and I'm fascinated with the complexity and lives they lead. People often comment my birds look like they're smiling, and that's because I like creating things that make me smile.
What are you currently working on?
I work on lots of projects at once because it keeps me fresh. So if one isn't working how I want it to, I can step away and do something else, then come back with fresh eyes. At the moment I'm working on some linocut greetings cards of birds, pyrography log slices and painted pebbles.
How did you decide to become an artist?
I always loved art and craft at school, but the art teacher wasn't encouraging, so I never pursued it. I wasn't considered good enough to do art beyond GCSE.
I started painting after I bought a book by American folk artist Jo Sonja Jansen in Hobbycraft. I hadn't come across decorative painting before, but it was broken down into simple steps, and it gave me confidence I may be able to do it. I spent quite a few years painting from patterns and eventually wanted to draw my own.
I'm predominantly self-taught, and I also did a diploma in Pet Portraiture with London Art College, which gave me valuable feedback and helped me progress further. I love the fact art allows continuous development, there's always skills you can improve on.
What's the best advise you've been given as an artist?
The best advice I've ever been given is that mistakes are your best teacher. Especially in the early days of art it can be disheartening to spend a long time on a piece and it doesn't work out. You tend to learn more from those pieces though than you do from the ones that go right. Especially with traditional media where there's no undo function, you have to commit to decisions and if it goes differently to plan it's often then you make new discoveries with happy accidents! I've learned to embrace that process rather than try to fight it.
What do you do when you are not creating?
When I'm not creating I'm either with my animals or endurance cycling. One of my achievements I'm most proud of is cycling 403km in 12 hours. Cycling has taught me a lot about mental toughness and self discipline.
What are your work and life goals for the future?
At the moment I'm concentrating on my Folksy shop, where I sell small handpainted ornaments. I'd also love to do my own book of poetry. I enjoy writing poetry and little stories based on my observations of the world around me.
I'd also like to Everest again on my bike. Everesting is climbing 8848m in a single ride with no sleep. I've done it once and taken 17 hours so I'd like to beat that!
Thank you Emma, just one more question:
Where can we find your work?