An Interview with Juliet Stockton: On Pursuing Art Later in Life, and Celebrating Successes.
Juliet Stockton – Artists Feature – VAA Member of the Month July 2023
Chershire based full time artist, Juliet Stockton, explores what it was like to make the career switch from spending 25 years in Human Resources, to following her passion for art. She talks about finding her true purpose, and the many successes she has had so far.
In 2021, she took a ‘big, brave leap’, and left her job in HR, stating that she ‘jumped in with both feet to follow her passion and dream to become a full-time artist’. Now, immersed in a world of colour and faces, she’s never been happier. Juliet states that she is inspired by pop culture, fashion history and the rich, tropical colours of her childhood living in Papua New Guinea.
‘I had ignored my intrinsic, creative heart for far too long when I finally realised that something was missing.‘
A typical day for me starts with checking emails and social media first thing with a coffee, then dropping my son at school and a country walk with my studio assistant (Cassie the Labrador).
I’ll usually do admin on my laptop in the morning, emails, plan social media, research artist opportunites, website admin, place print orders and pack up and send out print orders. Afternoons are usually spent painting in my studio listening to music and then after dinner and another Cassie walk, I’ll post on social media in the evenings and respond to emails. I rarely take a day off even at the weekend as I love it so much, but every now and then I have to remind myself it’s important to take a break, recharge and make more time for inspiration.
Describe your creative process, from the first spark of inspiration to the finished product, what does your work aim to say?
My creative process begins with an inspiration and idea, which can come from anywhere, but usually originates from a conversation, memory, a film, image, music or social media. I’ll plan out the composition, think about colours, sketch out the portrait and then go in with the paint, starting with the undertones and building up layers, usually working in darker areas first, then medium and light colours, finally working in the most vibrant colours to bring the piece to life. The background either gets painted in at the beginning if I’ve fully planned out the composition beforehand, or, sometimes I like to work more fluidly in the moment, let it happen and decide on the colours as I go, adding the background in at the end. With commissions I always fully plan them out first to ensure the client is happy and comfortable, with my own original pieces I sometimes like to just let the process evolve more organically.
I bring you paintings full of energy, life and joy to uplift your heart and your space. I paint portraits in acrylics with vibrant colours and bold energetic brush marks, aiming for the painting to almost leap off the page. Portraits to exhilarate, invigorate, capture moments in time and the very essence, personality and life force of the subject.
‘Don’t be afraid to do what feels right for you.’
My outlook is, if you want something badly enough and are prepared to work hard enough and never give up on your dream you can do anything, there’s always a way!
Also, it’s never too late, I was 47 when I left my job to do this full time, but I don’t regret not doing it sooner as the business knowledge and life experience I gained from my 25 year career in HR has been invaluable in underpinning, setting up and running my business, so the two have ended up merging nicely.
My definition of artistic success is being able to make a living from doing what I love and what I was meant to do, hence fulfilling my true purpose in life and achieving self-actualisation (a term from my many years spent in HR!)
Do you have a particular outlook that guides you? What is your definition of artistic success?
What accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
My accomplishments so far I’m most proud of are:
My work being chosen to be published in the Portraits for NHS Heroes book, by Bloomsbury.
Being invited by dot-art gallery to have a solo exhibition at INNSiDE by Melia Hotel, in Liverpool, a dream location and the fantastic reaction I’m so delighted to be receiving in response to my Icons collection there.
Being told by other artists I’ve inspired them!
The fact that I’m now actually making a living from doing what I love and living the life I visualised for myself when I took the plunge and left my job to pursue my dream. I’ve still got a long way to go to reach the goals I’ve set out for myself, but I’m proud to have got this far in 18 months.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the artist you were a year ago?
Keep working hard, if you do you will get there and the opportunities will come! Don’t be afraid to do what feels right for you.