“I try to remember to be grateful for the gifts that we enjoy from day to day.”
– Alex Halliday, insidewink’s artist of the month
Alex Halliday is a wonderful portrait artist from across the pond. She took a chance and reached out to us from England. We appreciated her gumption and we really loved her work… so here’s Alex…
What started you on this path?
I have always loved art, drawing and painting, but in my middle years tended to neglect my own creativity.
Redundancy, though it was a shock at the time, put me in just the right position to follow a new path. I kept experiencing ’nudges’ to pick up my pencils again, so I did not resist.
Who gave you the most support early on?
I am very grateful that my husband, family and friends were very supportive. Whereas I tend to find fault in my work, those around me seemed to like my art and gave me encouragement. My business as a portrait artist naturally developed from the portraits I had done for friends and family.
What does your work aim to say?
We are all beings of love, and when I produce a drawing of a loved one for someone, in a small way it reaffirms that aspect of who we are.
An emotional reaction when I hand over a drawing of a special person in someone’s life is very moving for me. Recently I did a portrait for a lady of her mother. The mother was suffering from dementia; the portrait was taken from a photo of Mum as a younger and healthier woman. When I handed over the portrait to the lady, she cried. I am grateful to be able to create art as it taps into something that is much greater than ourselves that is eternal; love.
A client who is grieving over the loss of a pet recently said that my portrait captured just the expression on her pet’s face when he was standing quite impatiently wanting to go out the front door. A portrait of a loved one who has passed on reaffirms and reminds us of the eternal nature of love.
What do you love about Los Angeles (even if you don’t live here)?
I love California and I especially love the weather, and I am very jealous as in England it is chilly now.
What do you consider success?
Success is behaving in a way that is true to ourselves.
What’s been a real high-point in your career or life?
Giving birth to my daughter. She took a long time to come along, and when she did, the waiting was worth-while.
What was the best piece of advice given to you?
Contrast! My art teacher’s emphasis on this has been a good lesson for me; it is contrast between lights and darks in a piece of art that makes it pop.
What’s your motto or words to live by?
I try to remember to be grateful for the gifts that we enjoy from day to day. Especially now the weather has become chilly here in the south of England, I am grateful that I do not have to go outside in the cold to go to the toilet, as my grandparents had to. I am thankful that I don’t have to fill a jug with cold water to wash, or make up the fire with frost-bitten fingers; I can just turn on the tap for a warm shower, and rely on the central heating to come on automatically.
What makes you laugh?
My young cat Gwennie. When she is in a playful mood, she jumps about the room and then comes to a complete stop, with eyes wide open and ears erect.
This morning she went missing in the house, and was nowhere to be seen. Eventually we heard a rustle and a squeak from the chest of drawers. She had jumped in when it was open, and got trapped when the drawer was closed.
Pie, cake, or ice cream?
It has to be hot chocolate brownies and ice-cream. My daughter Alice makes the best chocolate brownies! Her portrait is below.
Check out more of Alex’s works on her website:
Steve O’Bryan’s heart opens in his beautiful piece on pain, poetry and his place in it.
The wonderful Dr. Aletta helps us get through those rough times when we might be sick of work and losing our mojo… boy, do we need this!
Part 2 of Anne Cochran’s 10 part series on how parents can help their kids find a right fit college.