Valerie Jean Pettifer: Proprietor & Drop-In Tutor
As a child growing up in York, I loved nothing more than spending my time drawing and painting. My ambition was to train as a commercial artist, but in the mid 60’s this was not viewed as a ‘proper job’ so I trained as a hairdresser before moving to London to work in the family business. I spent the next 9 years in this profession, before a change of direction took me into the electronics industry where I pursued a successful 33 year career in manufacturing and HR, specialising in Vocational Skills Training and Occupational Safety & Health.
But everything changed in 2006. With retirement looming a chance invitation to join my aunt on a painting holiday in Scarborough changed the course of my life; the old passion for drawing and painting was reignited! Then after joining the Royston Arts Society in 2008 I was delighted when I sold two pastel paintings in their annual exhibition and I was spurred on to do more. I spent all my free time attending painting workshops, reading art books and visiting galleries, until in 2011 I was invited back to Scarborough (Cober Hill) as a tutor, not a student. Thrilled!
In 2012 I took yet another step forward by signing up for Cambridge Open Studios. My entire house became a gallery and I opened my studio (a back bedroom) to the public for two weekends in July. It was a wonderful experience; I met so many interesting people and I enjoyed sharing my experiences and art work. This was also the year I was selected to join the Cambridge Drawing Society, something I had aspired to for a number of years!
And then in 2013 another chapter in this saga started; a studio in the Old School, Whittlesford – a venue for both workshops, Cambridge Open Studios and a permanent gallery for my work. Fantastic! The studio has opened up a new life for me in art, including commissions from JD Wetherspoons to provide three paintings for their new premises in Royston and a wonderful circle of like minded friends and colleagues who regularly visit the studio to paint, chat and drink tea. In the summer we sit in the garden comparing notes and enjoying the sunshine; what more could I ask for!
I sincerely hope you enjoy browsing my web-site and maybe my story will inspire you to take up the wonderful hobby of painting – as you can see it s never too late to start! And don’t forget to put a ‘LIKE’ on the studio Facebook page!