When I was growing up, I was very fascinated with the things around me and I would spend hours just observing quietly, be it watching the older ladies in my family in the kitchen or observing how a dad long legs spider spins its web around its prey. What that allowed me to enjoy the most was spending a lot of time with myself in my own thoughts and imagination.
My name is Maureen Fletcher and I am an introvert freelance mixed media illustrator with a highly sensitive personality (HSP) trait. Growing up, spending time alone quietly with the things that I love proved to be an ideal life setting for me. However, the working world wasn’t all too kind and I found myself often being misunderstood with the way I saw and did things. I spent around 2 decades in the corporate world before being laid off mid of 2019 due to organizational restructuring. It was then that I decided to change my career to something that was more reflective of my personality and temperament.
I had to start from the bottom having given up on art for almost 3 decades and learned as much as I could to train my hand, eyes and mind to draw and paint again. The first 6 months were filled with experiments and mustering the courage to share my work on social media platforms. I was fortunate to have met some lovely artists who helped me along the way and that gave me the footing that I needed to build my confidence.
I did my first Inktober in 2019 and over that period I saw my social media connection list grow. I liked that it gave me the encouragement to share my art even more but mostly, it also gave me a platform to express myself and my thoughts freely in a manner that made me feel understood and heard. Something that I had not experienced before in my corporate working life.
The stories that I told with each illustration, were mostly my personal life experiences and how I saw life. They resonated with my audiences and I feel a sense of inner satisfaction knowing that my words have provided some sort of comfort to the other person. Things like this are only felt deeply and it surpasses any material or monetary satisfaction.
This is when I knew that I had something very valuable to share with my audiences. It was like a spiritual calling in some ways.
As my art skills grew, I also grew as a person. I feel that we are constantly evolving and learning. We are not quite there yet in our journey, but rather, we are constantly on the move to better ourselves through experiences and life phases.
I do not have any specific methods as to how I approach my art but rather, I let my feelings and intuition dictate how and what my piece will be like. Growing up in a diversified culture and of mixed-parentage, I am able to find ideas and inspirations from them. My primary medium is watercolour but over time, I have incorporated ink and gouache in my artwork.
I do not have a specific brand of tools but the ones that I usually use are watercolour paints by Winsor & Newton, Holbein and Daniel Smith. My brushes are a mix of Silver Black Velvet and Princeton. By far, I prefer Arches watercolour paper the best albeit it being on the higher side of my budget. But you can’t really compromise on the quality of the paper as that is one of the crucial components that will make or break your piece.
Looking back since I started my career, it has been a roller coaster ride of days when I just feel like giving up and days when I feel I’ve just won a Pulitzer Prize. In a nutshell, it is nothing short of a sense of inner satisfaction, knowing that the work that I do, the things that I produce, mean something and are of value.
Since the start of this year alone, I’ve won a couple of awards for my illustrations and was featured in a couple of online art exhibitions. One of my portrait illustrations won an e-book cover competition for an Astrology YouTube channel in March. Another milestone is the opportunity of being shortlisted as a recipient of CreativePool’s Annual, The “MOST” Creative Industry Award under the Illustration category.
When you do the things that you love and love the things that you do, it will show and people will see and feel it. Quoting Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I hope that it can be of some inspiration to you no matter where you are in your life journey.
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