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Art for business' sake - graduate says painting pictures can be a real money spinner

PUBLISHED: 18:33 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:43 28 October 2019

Artist Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Artist Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

For many art school graduates, a full time job in the creative industries is little more than a pipe dream, and careers in teaching, hospitality, or even retail beckon.

Tiffs and Talons, by Emily Rose.Tiffs and Talons, by Emily Rose.

But, according to 23-year-old Emily Rose, it is possible to make a living as an artist, albeit with a lot of hard work and a willingness to sacrifice a degree of artistic integrity.

Former Sheringham High School student Ms Rose, who works out of a studio in her parents' West Runton garden, became disillusioned with the lack of teaching of traditional techniques while studying fine art at Lincoln University.

In Flight, by Emily Rose.In Flight, by Emily Rose.

"I had gone expecting tuition, but there was no formal teaching in terms of painting, drawing and anatomy, and, although it wasn't what I wanted to do, by the second year, I just gave up and began producing conceptual art - I ended up growing plants for my degree show," she explained.

Determined to hone her painting skills, Ms Rose spent her spare time in her final year of university drawing in her bedroom, producing pet portraits, as well as painstakingly accurate pictures of British wildlife.

Kingfisher, by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting.
Photo: Emily RoseKingfisher, by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting. Photo: Emily Rose

"I put them on social media and before I knew it, I had commissions," she said.

After graduating, Ms Rose gave up her part time job at Sheringham Park to concentrate on setting up a business and, encouraged by well-known Sheringham-based watercolourist John Hurst, she held her first exhibition at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitor centre at Cley a year ago.

Three's a crowd, by Emily Rose.
Photo: Emily RoseThree's a crowd, by Emily Rose. Photo: Emily Rose

She has since worked non-stop, producing stunning original wildlife paintings, prints and cards, which she sells at exhibitions, sales and craft fairs and via her own website.

"I had people say to me that you can't make a living as an artist, but I think you have to very quickly scrap any ideas about painting from the heart," she said. "If you are going to make it work, it's about target audiences, business plans and financial forecasts."

Avocet by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting.
Photo: Emily RoseAvocet by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting. Photo: Emily Rose

A career as a working artist is "definitely possible" she added, although you might not always get to paint what you want to.

"It's all about what sells," Ms Rose said. "But, although I might not be super-interested in a subject, I love being an artist and I enjoy the process - it's just a little bit less romantic than people might think."

Fox, by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting.
Photo: Emily RoseFox, by Emily Rose, who has carved a successful career from painting. Photo: Emily Rose

To see more of Emily's work, visit www.emilyrosefineart.co.uk

Martha, one of Emily Rose's pet portrait commissions.
Photo: Emily RoseMartha, one of Emily Rose's pet portrait commissions. Photo: Emily Rose

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