This weeks creative corner interviewee also juggles teaching with her creative pursuits. I do hope you enjoy reading about Nicki Reg and her beautiful art work.
1. Introduce yourself.
Hey! I am Nicki Reg (my artist name 😉). I am a part time artist, which I juggle alongside my primary art teaching profession, my family, fitness, visiting places and travelling. Living on the edge of Worcestershire, close the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire borders and five miles from the beautiful Cotswolds. I am red head, a bit cheeky, enjoys life and up for a bit of banter.
2. Tell us a bit about your business.
As an artist, I work with acrylics, painting anything that inspires me from my travels and the nature around me…the coast especially draws my interest. I also complete commissions and tutor art to children and occasionally adults at home.
3. What made you start your own business?
I studied Art and Design up to a degree level and then I went onto train as a primary teacher. Once I started as a full time teacher, art totally went out of the window, unless I was teaching it. Teaching is a full on profession and I was regularly bringing work home. A few years past, I got married and fell pregnant with my son. After maternity leave I went back to work part time.
On a holiday in Sidmouth, I went into a little art shop called South West Art and I bought a sketchbook. I started sketching landscapes and natural objects. A few months on, I bought some acrylics and started painting. In 2013, I was bought a bunch of flowers and they were so simple, delicate and strong, my gut told me to paint them. Named ‘Beautiful Beginnings’ it hangs in my living room reminding me of the beginning of my journey…
4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I studied art at GCSE, A Level and degree level. However, as I love learning, I often watching art clips on social media and YouTube, chat to other artists, read blogs and drawing books, look at paintings closely and funnily enough, learn from children too. I practise as much as I can, which is essential for getting better at anything, in whatever you want to do.
5. Explain your creative process.
Visiting places and travelling around the UK and the world helps me to get inspired. I carry my phone (like everyone does) and my SLR camera, snapping the coast, landscape and nature that draws my eye. When I return home, I pick an image and get straight into painting it. I don’t usually practise before hand, I get stuck into the final version, learning as I go through experimenting. Don’t really have the time to practise in sketchbooks first.
I use heavy body acrylics and have recently purchased the Golden brand, although expensive, it’s a high quality, creamy paint. Highly recommend using it if you like using acrylic paint. I mainly use paintbrushes to apply the paint, but will occasionally use palette knives to give an impasto texture.
I work in a lot of layers, visualising the under layers and building upon them with detail. Seeing everything as a fraction, shape or a line when I am painting, which I piece together like a puzzle, creating the final composition.
6. Describe your typical day.
Three days a week I am teaching art and design technology in a Cotswold primary school. On my days off, when my son has gone to bed or when my husband and son are at football (Wolves FC season ticket holders!) I am found in my box room studio, painting away an inspiration from my travels/visits, completing a commission or teaching art to the next generation. Next to me I have an iPad set up, time lapsing my progress, which I post on my social media sites, hopefully inspiring others to pick up a paintbrush. In between painting and teaching, I try to forge links with other people in the creative industry, mostly through Twitter and Instagram. The people on there are so supportive, especially when being an artist can be a solitary job. I keep up to date with my finances, promote my work and get inspired by others by looking at their artwork through pictures and videos.
7. What’s your biggest seller?
Hmmm….that’s a hard one to answer. It can all depend on whether people want commissions and also my cards do go down well, which you can find in my nuMonday shop. But my biggest seller recently were the prints of ‘Flying High.’ Within two weeks of getting the prints, I sold out of them all.
CWC10 voucher code: 10% off any of my products in my nuMonday shop. One voucher per user
8. What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
I like to start positive. My high points are when I sell my work (I do a little happy dance), gain a commission and when a child has produced a lovely piece of artwork and you can see the pride in their face.
My low points are: Time! Trying to juggle my teaching job and family life can be problematic with my art job. In the summer term, teaching is manic, so I haven’t really touched any paintings for a couple of months, which frustrates me. I usually have to do paintings in dribs and drabs, and it can take me an hour to get well into it.
Selling at craft fairs aren’t easy. I have lots of lovely comments about my work, but with little sales. That why I support the fantastic ‘Just a Card’ campaign.
9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
Work very hard, stay positive, be organised, write lists, don’t expect everything, and learn from each painting or craft, failure and from others.
10. What are your aspirations?
Well one of my aspirations was to teach purely art and design at primary level. Luckily, I was successful at interview in May and I started my job in September after over 11 years of being a primary teacher.
Another aspiration will be to keep selling more of my work. I would love to do a solo exhibition one day…whether it will happen or not, we shall see. I just go with the flow as I wouldn’t have believed five years ago I’d have my own art studio, selling my work and tutoring at home.
11. Where can we find you?
YouTube: Nicki Reg – Artist