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Happiness in Art and how to find it

by Laura Lee

That two year curve ball sent us all off balance.

Art became people's therapy during that red hot summer. Art became mine.

This is my story of how I found Art or how Art found me.

My name is Laura Lee I'm the new Gallery Administrator at D31 Art Gallery and this is my first blog so apologises in advance.

Through that period of constant fear we all looked for coping strategies I picked up the brush and opened pandoras box. Now art is my passion. Many say if you find art it saves

your soul, I just know it makes me happy.

I've tried many different attempts at various 'how to books'. My walls at home now proudly display my attempts at watercolour flowers and the lonely boat floating through the vast ocean.

When I look back it was all a happy accident getting into art. I would paint something and someone would buy it. This gave me the motivation into trying different mediums and styles.

Having tried so many I have to call myself a mixed media artist as I'm the equivalent of Heinz 57.

My passion for art is now not only in my home extension studio at home (aka the conservatory) but in all areas of my life. As at the age of 48 I have just completed the first year on a Fine Art Degree. Late to the party but at least I showed up!:)

To be back in education and want to be there is so empowering. How my crazy fellow art students have dare I say it - matured during the course (one is 75 you go girl!) is so clear to see. But's its on a different level, they haven't got better at painting boats in the sea its a deeper-rooted happiness like they have topped up their soul.

I have art at home. art in education, to be complete would be starting a job in the arts.

Enter D31 Art Gallery. To work in the arts for this gallery is like getting the Willy Wonka golden ticket. Don't get me wrong I got a blister in the first week from the screwdriver there's so much physical work involved. You also never give the job of painting the toilet to an artist! especially under time restraints! I'm far too keen on straight lines!

Talking of time restraints this gallery is always under time pressures.

But all the painting and the blisters it's all worth it. To be within the walls of art, walls that are always evolving is like being in a sweetie shop.

Yes I appreciative art and can discuss composition and art movements. Art is subjective its all down to personal tastes, and yes there are tons better pieces of boats floating in the ocean than mine. It's not just the art that I now admire. Its the story behind the art. The rare gem of D31 is that its not driven with the same commercial restraints of other galleries. It's a charity, one still be it with other additional financial challenges. Its role to promote the arts and arts education. Providing a platform to so many artists emerging through the smoke of the art industry.

These people are you and me the people challenged with severe health conditions, tragic life stories, the curve balls that everyone must sadly have at some stage during their life, the dreaded don't mention it anymore C word. This art really tops up the soul because its created by people who are being fulfilled in the process of the creation.

Real life people, young kids and the retired artists that deliver their art to the exhibition is a bucket list moment for them and each time for me too.

To have their work up on the gallery walls fills them with pride and gives that boost to their self esteem and all those in their family too.

Some of the stories behind these art pieces are stories I'll never forget, but, in this building we are the Willy Wonka Art factory at its finest all three storeys of it.

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