I think there are some mysteries to most people about artists. One question is – “How do you do it?” and the other might be “How did your art become a business”? For myself, I can only answer the first one by saying that the Lord gave me a gift of being creative and of being able to reproduce the beauty I see with a pencil, paint and a brush. I do have a degree in Art and a Master’s Degree in Art Education but they would not have been enough without a creative gift.
How did my art become a business? It probably started when my father helped me paint my first oil painting – a little goldfinch- when I was in the second grade. As a young adult, I started painting and trying to sell my paintings and I just kept doing it. The business of art seems to me to be a winding and unfolding path that is different for everybody.
Frequently I am asked, “How do you get your ideas?” I tell them that I have so many ideas that they are like planes waiting to land and get painted. Some never do, because they are replaced by a new idea that feels more urgent. My eyes are so attracted to beauty that I want to reproduce it in a way that shares that beauty with others.
I see beauty, of course, in nature but also in things like a beautiful teacup with its shiny glaze or a tarnished brass bucket or a rusted hinge. The beauty of delicate china appeared in my art and that led to my illustrating and later writing books about tea and friendship. I think gathering friends around a beautiful, welcoming table is important.
The beauty of flowers, the shimmer of butterflies and the flutter of birds in my garden are a constant inspiration. I would love to tell you that I plant and nurture all of the flowers I paint and that I feed the birds. But it is my husband, Rick, who does all of that to make sure I have beautiful things to paint. He also manages the Sandy Clough Studio.
The flow of my art business has gone from selling paintings at outdoor arts and crafts shows, to selling my prints of my paintings (which spread my work nationally), to licensing my art for hundreds of products: rugs, pillows, books, stationery, calendars, ornaments, figurines, tabletop, textiles, glass, garden flags, puzzles, craft kits, quilt fabric and more. I am still amazed that my work has been not only across the US, but in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Russia, Turkey and Poland.
It is constantly a thrill to me to begin painting something that I hope will make your eyes happy—whether it is an art print, or a gift or something for your home.