Meet the Maker - Sam Cannon
Meet the very talented and lovely Sam Cannon from www.samcannonart.co.uk, an artist and illustrator living close to Lyme Regis in Dorset, working in watercolours, gouache, colour pencils and graphite pencil.
What led you into the art world?
I've always loved drawing since I was little. My granddad was really good at drawing and he helped me but I always loved it. After doing my A Levels I had to decide what I wanted to do next. I really wanted to do an arts degree but my dad had always banged on about it never being something you could earn a living from. So I looked at some different degree courses and picked ones that were more along the graphic design side. And in the end I went to Reading University where I studied Typography & Graphic Communication. It's an amazing course. The only University Course like it in the country. It was 4 years and in that time we studied all about typographic design, the history of printing and typography and went on trips to Rome, Florence, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany. But there was no drawing of any kind involved.
When I left I ended up working for my family's business (not design) and then ended up doing various office jobs (PA's, office manager, reception). Around 1998 I spent two years trying to be an artist after the business was sold. I did lots of horse racing pictures. I gave up. I couldn't make a living and eventually ended up working for the police (not as a police officer but police staff in Guildford, Surrey).
In 2002 I became a mum and by the end of 2003, a single mum. And I've been on my own ever since. Much of the time trying to keep my head above water. Then in 2010 my parents moved to Dorset and bought a place with an adjoining annexe so my son and I could move down too. And then I had another go at art.
How has your style evolved?
For the first two years I sold nothing. Again! I drew big flowers in colour pencil, campervans in bright acrylics. I did a portrait for someone to show what I could do and got involved in some local art groups. But nothing.
Then I thought I'd have a go at mixing lettering with my drawings. And to use watercolours. And then it all took off. When I first started these lettering pictures it was all about the local Dorset locations. But now, more and more, it's about nature. I love animals and have donated lots of work to the badger charities. I've tried really hard to get better at watercolour painting and learn new things all the time.
Where do you see your art business in a few years time?
I don't know where I see my business because I find it all very confusing (and lonely to be honest). I work 7 days a week. I spend hours doing emails, packing, post office runs. Ordering the packaging, mount boards, frames. Materials. Bookwork. I update the website myself, do all my own photography and keep my facebook, twitter and Instagram up to date. I'm really, really tired and dream of having a day off. Along with my son I also help with looking after the parents dog and have two guineapigs and two horses. After sorting out horses and children, I then do post in the morning, paint in the afternoons. After sorting out my sons meals I then spend evenings packing and sorting out gallery orders. I really need some help but don't really want someone in my home.
What's the most difficult aspect of being an artist?
I find it hard when people are rude, take me for granted or haggle. I clearly earn less than the minimum wage for my paintings yet people ask me to drop my prices. I want to scream at them that I'm a single mum trying my best to earn a living. With no holidays, days off or sick pay.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love working from home. I love painting. I love being near nature and living where I do. If you lived where I do you would have no problem in being creative. I have so many ideas and love it so much I could do it night and day. Instead of emails, packing, phone calls.
How do you stay creative? Even when you're not feeling it!
Every day I walk to the post office and back. It's good for physical and mental health. But I also come back with tons of ideas. I would recommend it to anyone. And I listen to loads of history and art programs whilst I paint. And I listen to audio books whilst I walk. All give me ideas.
For Sam's latest cards and prints go to www.samcannonart.co.uk
Visit facebook at www.facebook.com/samcannonart
Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/samcannonart
And over on Instagram at www.instagram.com/samcannonart