Joanna Brown blog

The Accidental Artist... Where it all began.....

My artist journey all started in Normandy....when I came home completely inspired from a trip that changed my life.

I had no idea where my life journey was about to go!

 I had been to France to visit a stud who breed a special rare bred of horse (The Cob Normand) . Horses are the other big passion in my life and I been visiting  to learn more about them. It was here I met the legend that is Georges Jouvin and his incredible family and where my life took a 180 degree turn for the better.. but I didn't know it yet!

Georges and his Normandies

While I was there I visited Mont Saint Michel for the day. I went on my own and honestly? the place blew me away. It was like a fairytale. 

I walked through the cobbled streets and up to the serene abbey at the top with my eyes and heart wide open. My phone had run out of juice just before I went in and so this was 100% me time. No distractions, no photos , no sharing anything on social media,  just me, taking it all in!

It was a beautiful day and the views from the top  were incredible. While sitting in the abbey, taking a moment to myself I had a real revelation... I realised I needed to change. My busy life and career as a veterinary nurse was starting to take a toll and it was about time I started to embrace some other parts of my personality . At this point though you never could have told me that art would be the direction I took.

At this point I didn't know I could draw!

After tearful goodbyes to the wonderful Jouvin family who had shown me true french rural hospitality, and a trip already planned for the following year to buy a horse I headed back to Cambridgeshire and back to work but without a shadow of a doubt, my heart was left in France....

I wanted to thank the Jouvins for looking after this crazy British girl and so I decided to make them something. I found a way to make wordclouds, and set about designing some to send back.

When I shared these wordclouds on social media they went a bit mad and I started taking orders from friends, I then started drawing out the silhouettes to make them and although I was really bad at it I managed and took a few orders, but my heart wasn't really in it...then one day, at work while doodling on the phone, not thinking about very much in particular. I drew this...

Mont st michel drawing. jo brown artist

This was the moment .. I can pin point it exactly to this drawing!

A colleague at work said it was great for a doodle and I should do a drawing course.. it was coming up to Christmas and I needed something to do to keep myself busy so I signed up for Brett Eviston's drawing course on udemy.

This was an 8 week course but I only got 3 weeks into it when in true Jo style I got very distracted and went off on my own tangent, however it was pretty clear that I was leaning towards drawings of birds.

This drawing of swallows was about the third drawing I had ever done. Looking at it I realised that I was an accidental artist. I had discovered I had this talent at the grand old age of 45 and three quarters by complete fluke!

A year later i had moved onto watercolours and went back to the Jouvin stud, and indeed back to Mont St Michel.

I took something with me, a gift for the family. My first ever water colour painting, A depiction of some carriage horses at the mount which brought Georges to tears and solidified my intent to become better at this art malarkey.

I loved that a picture can affect a person, can bring emotions to the surface, can mean so much both in giving and receiving.

Mont St Michel Watercolour

My work has really changed since then. I really only paint birds, with my exotics veterinary nurse experience playing a large part in that. and I also rarely use watercolour these days, preferring to paint in acrylic on board but sometimes, just sometimes, I take my easel en plein air and spend time with the Cob Normand I brought home from the Jouvin stud and we spend some time chilling together , counting our blessings, or which, although simple, there are many...

Cob Normand Jouvin

My advice? give art a try. You might find something out about yourself and who knows where it could take you. Take it from me.. it can be a real surprise!!








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