About Me

I have been interested in creative pursuits, including painting and writing, for as long as I can remember. In childhood I painted pictures, wrote (awful) poetry and short stories, and made birthday cards. I dreamed of being an artist then of becoming a writer. My brother, sister and I were fortunate to be very creative and imaginative.

In 1997, a year after I left high school, I did a year-long college course in Graphic Design which I enjoyed immensely. However, by the end of it I felt I wanted something more. I'd always worked in a figurative way, as was the norm throughout school years at that time, but during the Graphic Design course we were given an exercise in abstracting an image. I found myself fascinated by the process and wanting more, yet for years afterwards I felt unable to break away from figurative art as I had no idea where to start with abstract.

I tried many times and gave up on painting and drawing many times, as I no longer enjoyed working figuratively and put a lot of pressure on myself to produce a 'perfect' piece.

I began to feel I needed more than just the satisfaction of completing a good drawing, and that's when I came across a book on art therapy. It intrigued me, yet after doing a short evening class in the subject I found it to be too clinical for my needs. Many internet searches later I came across a book called Creative Healing by Michael Samuels and Mary Rockwood Lane, and at last I felt I had found what I was looking for. Creative healing is something which fascinates me still and is the focus of much of my creativity; I create to satisfy a need within myself. However, at this time I still felt unable to put the principles of creative healing into practice, as I was stuck on the desire for perfection and the inability to get to grips with producing abstract work.

In November 2000 I began a long journey of ill health through Myalgic Encephalopathy which is still with me today. My capabilities and activities have greatly diminished in the years since then and in a sense my world has grown smaller. However, I have also gained focus on creativity and creative healing, which perhaps I might not have done if my health had not deteriorated. Also, I have learned to appreciate the simpler things in life which before I had often overlooked – everything from noticing a beautiful flower or an unusually shaped tree, to feeling the cool air on my face and enjoying the uniqueness of a stone. These observations and appreciations have enhanced my creativity further and given me a wealth of ideas.

In 2008 I found my path in art thanks to a workshop on Abstract Art at GoMA, and that was the real start of painting for me. I went to the workshop feeling as though something was ready to be let loose, and let loose is exactly what I did. I used inks for the first time and experimented with wax candles and paint rollers; I don't think I stopped for a minute. My art had always been very controlled which spoiled my enjoyment of it, but in that GoMA workshop I painted with abandon and fascination in the process. The painting I came away with is called Freedom because that's how I felt when I created it, and it still remains a very special painting to me. My love of abstract art and creative healing has been merged and I am now able to enjoy painting and gain a great deal of satisfaction and fun from it. Using painting, drawing and poetry, I express things within me that need to be expressed, I constantly re-learn to play and experiment, and I satisfy a need to focus on creative healing. Should the Myalgic Encephalopathy ever go away, I would like to pursue creative healing as a career alongside my own art and writing career. I recently had two poems published in an anthology called Soul Feathers, alongside well-known names such as Maya Angelou and Bob Dylan. The anthology is to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing (http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/#/soul-feathers/4545520025). I'm proud that my work has been published and will help raise money for such a worthy cause, and I hope to have more work published in the not-too-distant future.

My loved ones are very important in my life, and many of my creative ideas come from childhood memories that I hold dear. A number of family members, including my siblings, are also creative in some way although not all have had the opportunity to pursue it. I have a nephew who is just over 1 year old and very soon will have another nephew or niece – they are the first children in our family since I was a child! I'm very much looking forward to painting and making things with them once they're old enough to know not to eat the art materials. Childhood art fascinates me and in some ways I aspire to learn from it.

I share a house with my Mum, the same house I've lived in since I was a few months old, and also spend a lot of time with my partner, David – he works in management accounts for the NHS which includes tasks such as finance and record keeping, so he is the technical support for my website!

As well as painting and writing poetry, my hobbies and interests include photography, blind contour drawing (where I look at the object I'm drawing instead of the drawing itself; this produces some incredible results), pyrography, reading, finding out about other cultures and ways of life as well as how people used to live before my time, listening to music and writing letters to my two penfriends. A selection of my photography and pyrography work can be viewed in my gallery; soon I hope to add more work to the gallery, as well as a section to share some of my poetry. I hope you enjoy my website and work.

If you'd like to contact me, you can email me at the following address and I'll reply as soon as possible: aemcginness@yahoo.co.uk