Up until 2016, I’d been blessed with an amazing family, awesome friends, and a fairly successful life. However, due to a heart attack Four years ago, and a series of heart operations, most recent being a quadruple heart bypass, I was advised to give up my highly stressful job in IT and broadcasting, and to slow my life down. In fact, I was told that it would be better if I followed a “passion” that would give me purpose.
Two years ago, after my third heart operation, I found myself homeless, and a very dear friend took me in and helped me to get back on my feet again. It was at that point that I decided I wanted to learn to draw, so I used the last of my cash to sign up to an online drawing course and to purchase everything I needed to equip a small home art studio.
My doctor, family, art tutor, and friends all came together to give me heaps of encouragement to use my drawing as part of my therapeutic recovery, which is what I have spent all of my time doing since then.
How surgery (and a friend) has affected my work
My last operation (October 2015) was open heart surgery, which meant that they had to cut my sternum (the bone that holds your rib cage together at the front of your chest). To give you some idea, as I move my arms I can feel my ribs grinding and clicking together, it’s almost like I have a bag of spanners in my chest! This meant that I had to stop drawing conventionally as it was far too painful to move my drawing board around or even to use an eraser for any length of time. Luckily, a friend who I had helped out several years ago went out and bought me the latest iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and keyboard, and I’ve now been using this to create my drawings. I have found this much easier as everything can be manipulated with my fingertips and I can draw for hours on end without any pain at all.
Here is a short time-lapse film I made from a selection of my drawings of Ely Cathedral which demonstrates how my work progresses from an initial idea to the completed drawing.
This particular drawing took me 540 hours to complete.
My new age of art
The last 18 months have been spent on perfecting my techniques as I have been drawing constantly, but due to my situation, I haven’t up until this point been able to sell, or offer for sale any of the work I have been producing.
Selling my work online
A recent change of circumstances means that I am now able to start selling my work as I begin the transition from being state dependent to fully getting control back of my life. I will keep you updated on my progress over the coming months.
Collectable limited edition fine art prints.
To begin with, to keep things simple and manageable I will start by putting limited edition fine art prints my work up for sale in here in my online shop. I will be offering two different sizes for purchase, and we’ll see how things progress from there.
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I have started learning to become a fully qualified drawing instructor as well, and as I progress through this course and gain more self-confidence I will start advertising for students wishing to learn how to draw, both traditionally with pencils, then with digital art including tablets such as iPad Pro and styluses like the Apple Pencil and applications such as Procreate and Photoshop.
The Richmond Fellowship
Helping me on my New Age of Art journey is a little-known organisation called The Richmond Fellowship who specialise in helping people who have been in my situation (and in many cases much worse) get back on their feet again so they can lead independent and successful lives. Again, I will let you know of updates and progress as I work my way through their program, and hopefully, it will inspire others with the belief and confidence to turn their lives around for the better too.
Consider making a contribution to my Just Giving Page and help me achieve my goals
Check out the DrawPJ.com Drawing Course website to find out more about learning how to draw.
Check out The Richmond Fellowship website to find out more about what they do, and maybe how you can help them.