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Carol Burns - Art Is Autobiographical


In 2009, having not picked up a pencil in years, I started drawing again. We had just moved to Thailand from the UK and my Mum was coming to visit.

I knew that she was missing me terribly and I wanted to give her something that told her how much she meant to me and that would bring a smile to her face when I wasn't there. I drew a house and then decided to fill the rooms with all the things I knew she loved...from art deco style flowers to her favourite piece of music (even managed to squeeze in a wee message to her in morse code but I'm not telling what it says...far too mushy!).

She cried when I gave it to her (and so did I - big softy that I am). When she went to have it framed, she had a conversation with a woman in the shop who said 'I've never seen anything like that. Where did you get it?' and with that 'Art Is Autobiographical' was born.

It's been a roller coaster ride - scary but very very exciting too!

I learned a lot from the first few clients I worked with, refined my process and designed a questionnaire to make sure I capture everything that makes the person or family I'm working with unique (likes, dislikes, jokes, nicknames, holidays...everything that makes your family yours really!) and I have extended my range to include pieces which I call 'Family Home' which have mini-illustrations representing the whole family, 'Family Tree's' where the mini illustrations are contained within the branches and the trunks of the tree and 'Tree of Life' where one person in particular is celebrated. A recipient of a 'Tree of Life' for their 40th birthday recently contacted me with the most wonderful feedback.

She said that it was like having a portrait done except instead of having to look at her ugly mug it contained special memories, things that were important to her, everything she loved and that she would treasure it forever!

Made my day...made my year actually!

As more orders came in my confidence grew and I started to think about what else I could offer.

You see so much art that is reproduced to within an inch of it's life and I didn't want to do that.

I wanted to try and stay with my ethos of just trying to offer something a bit different but I wanted to keep it affordable too (I know what it's like to see a piece of work that you fall in love with but know that unless you go and sell a body part you will never be able to afford it! It's depressing!).

I started experimenting with simple line drawings with the idea of creating affordable, collectible and most importantly unique items. I now offer a new drawing daily and you have to be fast or they are gone.

I've even had people send me suggestions which is awesome cause let me tell ya...it's not easy coming up with a new idea every day and it's meant that I have been in the wonderful position of selling pieces I've not even drawn yet!

Now, having been badgered by my lovely (I say lovely, I really mean pesky) friend I have started working in colour.

Acrylics are my weapon of choice but again, I wanted to keep my work interesting and a little bit different. Living in Thailand was incredibly inspiring...I had just never seen anything like it!

We were surrounded by gold...it was on the Temples, Buddha's, Jewellery...you name it? It probably had gold on it. I fell in love with how the changing light glinted off all that gold and how that then changed the feel of where you were and I decided to see if I could capture some of that in my paintings by using gold/silver and copper leaf.

It's fiddly and I often end up with it on me, the curtains, the cat....but I think the end result is worth it.

A collector recently ordered 4 paintings depicting the four seasons which she has positioned strategically round her living room. We have become friends over the years so she phoned me one morning really excited (it was early...I had been out the night before!) and told me that she had been coming down the stairs when the sun came out and hit her Autumn painting (I used copper leaf on that one). She said that it looked like it was on fire and it took her breath away...and I totally forgave her for phoning ridiculously early in the morning and waking me up!

So now you know a bit more about me, my products and the ethos of my work. I love getting to know new people so come say hi on Facebook or follow me on Twitter...I promise I will try not to talk too much about chocolate, wine or my two cats who always want to know what I'm doing and then, much to my horror, want to be involved!

I'm offering a buy one get one half price on all prints and original blind contour drawings. Contact me direct on facebook with the code ½ Price.

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