Anna Dyson is an artist based in Kingston – Upon – Thames in South West London.
“My works are untitled until you give them a title, whatever they inspire in you…be it a helpful tool for your spiritual journey, memories of a loved one or a favourite place – the choice is yours.
“I gain pleasure in the different ways people of all ages react to my work and the way they see things in my paintings that are important to them. I work in a spontaneous style and find this is a creative outlet for me to express myself, which is something I have difficulty with due to having Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD. Painting has now become an important and positive part of my day-to-day life”.
Anna always felt she was ‘different’ but never knew why. She was bullied at school, challenged academically, awkward socially and physically and never felt that she fitted into a world where everything seemed easy for others.
However, she always loved art, feeling especially drawn and inspired by colour. Winning a school poster competition, as her colours were beautifully realistic, was a proud and unexpected moment.
Despite poor academic achievements Anna wanted to study art and was offered a place at college solely on the strength of her sense of colour. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, as Anna had to leave after the first year as she wasn’t fulfilling written requirements and apparently lacked creative ability. A blow to her self-confidence, consequently Anna stopped painting for three decades.
Separating from her husband in 2012, Anna started rebuilding her social network.
“I needed to regain my self-esteem, and courses at Hillcroft, The National Residential College for Women in Surbiton offered just that. As I had always been clumsy and uncoordinated – writing incomplete sentences and mixing up numbers – I signed up, attending Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Creativity.
“I was in a completely non-judgemental and supportive environment. One task was to draw and paint a timed section of an object. Choosing a flower, I worked against the clock, leaving no time for self-criticism.
“At the end of the course feedback was positive, and I became emotional realising I had wasted 30 years not painting… understanding now that my hidden difficulties were my downfall.
“During a colour healing workshop inspired by the flow and folds of some beautiful orange chiffon dresses, I was encouraged to paint. Once home, I put the paint straight on the canvas without first mixing it and used a big brush. The paint flowed and I was absorbed and at one with my work, then surprised by the explosion of colour.
“My innate creativity had reawakened. My kitchen floor became my studio and my house filled with paintings. I shared my art on social media, created a Facebook page, joined a local art group, and my business ‘Intuitive Oils’ was born. I sold my first 2 paintings in 2016.
“Diagnosed with Irlen syndrome, which causes extreme difficulty reading printed words, I turned to audiobooks. Bizarrely, as my eyesight for text deteriorated, my ability to paint improved!!!
“In 2017 after meeting Sheena from Fastminds ADHD support group in Kingston I was diagnosed with ADHD at 52. Life had become increasingly difficult, and I was feeling isolated and lonely. My ADHD diagnosis was a complete surprise to me, making sense to those in my life. I truly believe that my disabilities gave me the gift of creativity and enhanced it. I began to design bags, cushions, leggings and ties and cards using images from my paintings. The leggings came first as I have always loved original colourful clothing.
“Whilst displaying my art at fairs I noticed everyone interpreted my paintings uniquely, causing at times dramatic, emotional reactions. I believe each painting is meant for a specific individual so decided that they would remain untitled allowing the buyer ownership of their title. (Very recently a man attending my exhibition looked at one of my paintings and suddenly started to cry, telling me that this was a first for him and he was so moved he had to buy it.)
“At psychic fairs, I was told I should create oracle cards using images from my paintings. Psychic medium Sarah Pickles is now working with me to this end. We are due to launch the cards soon. Watch this space…
“My paintings were featured in ‘The Metro’ as part of a photo shoot, and I now have my own online card gallery courtesy of a new company ‘Weallsendcards’.
“My art has allowed me a new lease of life and I am so grateful to have rediscovered it. I have finally found a way I can express the real me and be proud of who I am and what I do. No need to hide anymore or try and fit in.
“My pieces are unplanned, and I am always surprised by what I produce. I paint in oils on canvas intuitively, working in a spontaneous style-using colour to guide form rather than the other way -round.
“I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and can do that through my art by adding colour to their homes and interpreting their own meaning. I am also proud to have just held my first solo exhibition.
“It has not been an easy journey and I still need a lot of help along the way. At times I have been close to giving up but have been encouraged by lovely supportive friends and the powerful effect my paintings emote. I hope my story will help people follow their dreams in-spite of challenges and obstacles they may face or encounter along the way.
“Some of the places I have and am still exhibiting locally are Cass Art Kingston, The Willow Clinic, New Malden, Twickenham and Ham Craft Fairs and Markets. The corner HOUSE Art Centre, Surbiton”
Anna also sells her leggings, ties, bags, and cards featuring her designs via her Zazzle store and online greeting card shop. Links for all these can be found on her website