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Motivation – The Art of Staying Inspired

The topic of motivation comes up a lot when your job is your hobby. There is a great argument for the need to keep work life and personal life separate, for the sake of your sanity and ability to relax. What do you do when your hobby becomes your way of earning a living, and your passion becomes a necessary daily thing. Does this make sitting down to work harder? If so in what way? Also, does working from home create problems with motivation levels when your are presented with oh-so many distractions?

I am hugely lucky to be able to paint as my passion and my job, however some days motivation is slightly harder to find. Here is what I do.

Go for a walk

Nature is soothing. When I began painting for a living I lived in an area built up of rows of terraced housing in a small city. Nature was hard to come by unless you ventured to the outskirts, which I could not do at the time. I knew of a park in the area but I had only ever walked passed the gates, I had barely ever looked inside. After venturing inside one day, I found it to be a huge arboretum, beautifully landscaped and very calming to walk around. This became my haven, whatever the weather I would walk around this park. I would do this walk mostly when I was feeling uninspired and finding motivation difficult to conjure. Bike rides along a nearby river also became my saviour. This time outside was both a break from working in my home environment, and a chance to get away from the work and think about it with a clear mind, returning with fresh eyes.


I never knew that such a great source of procrastination would soon became the push I needed to produce great work. There is so much amazing art on Pinterest. However art is not my main viewed content at all. Pinterest is a visual aladdin’s cave, being an app based around images it means that you can search for whatever your interests are, and make virtual cork boards, pinning your favourite photos. There are so many amazing creations from interior design perfection, to home hacks, to handmade crafts. The photography category is what draws me in in particular. I don’t just find inspiration from the art, but mostly from everything as a collective, seeing what people can do and create. It motivates me to make my own creations and do the things that my heart desires, rather than making excuses or standing back and watching others create. Don’t be that person who wishes they created something, or wishes they could do something but feel they don’t have the talent. Instead just give it a try. This is what I take from Pinterest. Other people’s effort in life inspires my own.

Obviously the same works for books, or whatever format you keep information or images that you find inspiring or fascinating.


Some days I know for sure what I want to listen to as I work, my mood dictates the background music as well as the flow of my work. However some days when I let a playlist run, or listen to something I have never heard before, this can then be what dictates the way my paintings turns out. For me, music isn’t the drive behind my work, it is a tool that makes me excited to sit down to work, and when utilised well it can make a big difference to my levels of motivation as I paint. I sometimes use music as a marker for how long I sit down to paint. (An album that lasts an hour, can mean an hour concentrating wholly on painting whilst it plays.)

Just start.

This one sounds obvious. The trick to motivation is to make yourself WANT to do something. We as humans rarely do things that we really do not want to do. However, to do something, and do it well, we must WANT to do it! I love painting. Some days I would rather sit and scroll through my phone if my energy levels are low, but what helps me work on these days is remembering just how much I love painting. I know that the moment I actually physically sit down to paint, I will be fully enthused. It is rare that I do not enjoy painting. If all else fails, I know that by taking that first step of setting up my palette and picking up a paint brush, then all will be restored and ready to go! For this tip I advise to get the kettle on and force yourself to work for just ten minutes, you will find that this quickly turns into an hour, then another hour… Then another…

If you have any other techniques, let me know! If you would like to take this conversation over to The Art Collective (the Facebook group) then feel free to start a thread and see what others have to say!


Some of what I have worked on in 2018

2018 has kicked off to quite an eventful start, as I work on a collection, I have meanwhile worked on some smaller pieces that has helped me correct some of my skills with intricate details. I love to work large scale, and often find it difficult to change technique to fit a smaller canvas.

Time for me has been particularly limited and there are certainly not enough hours in the day, but when I can I am painting, and trying to keep up the challenge of changing things up to better myself. This in part isn’t just trying new techniques, compositions and styles, but revising old ones and improving upon them!

Here are just a few of what I have worked on this year, as well as commissions, great (white shark) and small!

Each piece below is oil on wood panel, this is the way I mostly work!







For any further information on any of my works, contact to be directed to a gallery near you!

I also recently asked for what you would like to hear about in this blog, and I am working on some very thorough answers with blog posts dedicated to each! 

How I began selling my Art

Selling artwork is not always an artist’s perogative. However not everyone has the luxury of creating for the joy. Of course that is where it has stemmed from for me, but in my early painting days getting the money for materials to work with was an important factor in actually being able to leisurely produce the work I was so inspired to do.

I was working in a small coffee shop when I picked up on painting for the first time in years. University had left me a trembling mess of an artist, the soul crushing deadlines and inspiration stifling guidelines to follow for your work to be valid within the perimeters of that semester’s course had left me not wanting to even look at a paintbrush again. I loved working at the coffee shop and had the opportunity to talk to so many people on laid back shifts or quiet mornings. I had talked at length to a regular about art which left me wanting to use what little money I had left that month to buy myself some art materials. I picked up a canvas and worked on this stag.


This was my turning point. I immediately bought a bulk on canvases with my next pay check and created some more. I then took part in having these pieces displayed in a small local cafe with an amazing illustrator (Lee Griffin! @lionbird) and to my complete surprise, this stag sold, along with another bird piece. I could then buy more materials (as well as pay my rent!)

The road to selling artwork full time did not happen overnight, as many assume.

I then went on to sell my work at a local monthly art market, where I stood outside in the bitter cold. My first market stall was such a success that my stall was empty at the end of the day. The response to my work would reduce me to tears, and still does to this day, when I hear stories of them being enjoyed.

Following on from these stalls, I decided to go even bigger. After some road blocks and difficulties, with no money and no help, I decided to work towards self employment as a professional artist. This took everything I had at that time, I taught myself the basics in business and marketing, I set up marketing campaigns and built upon a social media presence. This at the time was much easier, as there was not the algorithm to contend with. People chose to follow you and as a result they saw your art in their timeline, that is far from how social media timelines now work. I suppose I embarked on this at a very lucky time, where a following was build-able. This led to commissions and sold paintings. During this time I pushed my skills in order to create the best I possibly could, I constantly reached higher with more purpose. I then began to exhibit my work, starting with a solo show in a local exhibition space, where I payed for the room, worked hard to create enough works to fill it, and curated the show myself for two weeks. It is still one of my largest achievements to date, as doing all of this from the financial ground up was in every way, completely gruelling. This show led to collaborations with friends and other brilliant creatives. (Jack Shaw and Craig Dyson to name a few.)

I continued to sell my art and commissions, while experimenting with my work, honing in on my style and letting it evolve. I sold through local galleries, some great (Rosie Ablewhite’s ‘Lincoln ArtWorks’) and some that took advantage, as many businesses do. Soon I approached a publishing company. (A publishing company take on a lot of work in the logistics side of selling artwork and so so much more. Freeing up my time from admin work and postage and packaging, to mostly just full time painting. This is for a cut of the profits. This route is not for everyone, but it certainly was for me.) This story is a funny one to me as I was incredibly unsure about embarking on a professional relationship with a business outside of my work having been burnt from an outside business before. There was something about this publishers website and name that made me get in contact. I don’t know exactly what compelled me that day, but it was a great gut decision. I have now worked with Wishbone Publishing for almost 4 strong years. They are not just work mates but they are some of my greatest friends and family. I could say I got lucky, but I know that I didn’t. This wonderful outcome was never an overnight overturn, but years of hard, gruelling yet amazing work.

My career to date is something I treasure so dearly, I have worked from nothing at all, to becoming a full time artist. Along the way there has been issues and hardships, bad galleries and widely plagarised work can leave you wondering about the industry itself. But for me, creating things I enjoy is the premise behind what I do and is what makes any difficulties worthwhile.

If this is a topic that you would like more information on, please let me know and I will look into other routes of gathering as much information as I can.

‘Jaws’ – Shark Painting

I am very excited that my original painting ‘Jaws’ is being made into a limited edition print, with editions of 75.

It is a privilege that this piece is endorsed by The Shark Trust, a wonderful charity.


The misunderstood nature of sharks means that their demise as a species is hugely overlooked. Their importance within the marine ecosystem is of such huge importance to the health of our oceans. There are many threats to sharks that can have adverse knock on affects. The global decline of sharks can create a cascading effect. As one of the ocean’s top predators, sharks have potential to structure ecosystems in crucial ways. Decline can mean rearrangement of marine communities.

One of the biggest threats to sharks globally is overfishing.  This is fuelled by a large demand for shark products such as meat and fins, cartilage, leather, teeth and jaws. Other threats include finning (the cruel practice of cutting off a shark’s fins whilst alive. Also, pollution and habitat destruction contribute to the hugely declining numbers. Climate change and pollution play a large part, meaning that oceanic species are not living in the nourishing environment they need to survive.

The Shark Trust works against all of this with a 20 year track record in science-based shark conservation.

One of the many things I love about the Shark’s Trust and their work is the commitment to changing perceptions on sharks to a positive one in the public’s eye. By allowing access to data, and supporting decent education  about shark conservation within museums, public aquariums, coastal visitor centres and schools, the outlook on sharks will hopefully change.

It fills me with great pride for ‘Jaws’ to be endorsed by, and with a percentage of profits going straight to The Sharks Trust.


‘Jaws’ / Original Oil Painting / Limited Editions of 75

With this painting done in vivid oil paints I hoped to soften what is usually known to be an aggressive and cruel creature. Usually portrayed in dark shades, I opted for a light background and jewel colours, hoping to move emphasis over to appreciating sharks, their shape, and grandeur!


‘Humpback’ / Original Oil Painting / Limited Editions of 75

The scale of this original oil painting is parallel to the vast size of a beautiful humpback whale. This piece is 72″ long, something I had wanted to work on for some time. With this piece I hoped to capture an elegance to such a huge and magnificent creature.

If you are interested in the the prints or originals, or would like further information, please look at the affiliate galleries page on my website HERE – Or contact Wishbone Publishing at who will direct you to your nearest gallery!

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Social Media, Art and where I have been!

The past year for me has meant a slight distance from painting for the best reason.

In 2018 I spent a vast majority of the year working on something that in the end, I didn’t feel was good enough to release as a collection. This work has stayed private and ongoing, and hopefully one day I will be able to call it complete. For now, it is one of the first times I have felt that I couldn’t quite meet the challenge that I had set for myself. I took this quite hard, as I have always stepped up to my own personal goals with painting, however it is good to know there is still so much to improve upon and aspire towards. I did manage to work on a collection named Dawn Chorus based on bird species from around the world, this made my heart glow and reinstalled my love for painting. Just after finishing this collection, I had my son Reuben. I continued to paint in small doses to ease myself back into work, from just a week after he was born. I did this not only because I can’t seem to go too long without picking up a paint brush, but I had also spent the better part of a year working on a project that never made it to the end product. I am lucky enough to call my passion a job, and also lucky enough to work from home and be with Reuben. However my time has been split and limited!

During my pregnancy I had moved home, “gave up” for the moment on one body of work and started/completed another, and therefore distanced ever so slightly from social media. Social media has been an important outlet for my work since 2013, when I made the majority of my sales online. I worked hard to research how to use social media, as well as gathering a lovely, like minded following for my work and its progression. On returning to social media, it had changed. A lot.

When talking to people about Instagram’s new algorithm which took the timeline from chronological, to a new format, these conversations seemed heated and annoyed. Why would these social media sites stop showing us the posts of the accounts we have followed? For anyone unaware of the change, the algorithm detects posts that you have previously engaged with (comments/likes) and shows you more of this material. If you clicked ‘like’ on a photo of a poison dart frog, you will see more poison dart frogs… I personally like a poison dart frog from time to time, but it doesn’t mean I want to see a stream of them as I scroll. This is all in the name of profit. Instagram/Facebook can then ask you to pay for adverts to have your post seen by the very people who initially chose to follow you.

As someone who profited from these platforms, I can wholeheartedly understand why Instagram and Facebook would chose to charge, and profit from the apps they created, which have previously helped many people build lucrative and profitable business profiles.

I am choosing to continue writing blog posts to reach my original audience, and hopefully send out a more personal and detailed run down of the work I do, how I do it and what I have been up to, for anyone that may be interested! I will post links from my social media accounts so you know when there will be a post! As I plan for the year ahead it would be great to hear from you, what sort of posts you like and what you would like to know about through my blog posts! I would also like to start a Facebook group of a community of artists, where we can share our preferences in materials/techniques etc and chat about art, artists and help one another out! If this is something you may be interested in please let me know! 

If you are reading this, thank you wholeheartedly for supporting my art work.

Katy x


The Dawn Chorus Collection

Dawn Chorus

Nature’s greatest orchestra rivals many naturally occurring miracles each morning, as bird species from around the world mark their territory, make their presence known to mates, or call upon their flock in an enthusiastic symphony. A dawn chorus.

Ranging from the beautifully delicate or well camouflaged species found in English woodlands, to the ostentatious birds of paradise parading around Indonesian forests. The intricate markings used for mating or territorial displays make perfect subjects and the plethora of species to celebrate is infinite.

By encompassing the subjects in the beautiful colour ways that make them so mesmerising, I have hoped to capture the nature of each species in full concert. With extravagant blends of bright colours and bold textures, mixed with subtle areas of calm and reserve this collection of oil paintings was created to compliment the avian subjects through thoughtful composition and a love for the elegance of birds all around the world.

For any information on this collection contact or one of the many wonderful galleries listed on my website here! (Wishbone Publishing will help you locate a gallery close to you)


Birds of paradise / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)




Flamingos / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)



Pretty Polly

Parrots / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)

pretty polly



Doves / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)




Doves / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)




King Fishers / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)




Summer British Birds / Original Oil Painting / 45 Limited Edition Prints +5APs  (2 sizes – small and regular)




Tropical birds / Original Oil Painting

Tropics Original - KJD-1



Peacocks / Original Oil Painting

Ostentation Original - KJD



British Woodland Birds / Original Oil Painting

Woodland Original - KJD



Starlings / Original Oil Painting

Chattering Original - KJD


On Friday I will be spending the night sleeping rough for the Sleep Easy event 2017 to raise money for Lincoln’s YMCA, helping homeless and vulnerable people. 

Last year, on a very bitterly cold and rainy night, an unnamed homeless man died behind a church close to where I live. When I heard this I was stricken with the thought that if anyone had known he was there or knew his situation, they may have helped him and he could have survived the night. This played on my mind as I took a bunch of flowers to lay next to the church, I didn’t know where exactly he had died, but I was expecting to find other flowers laid by other people (ex family members, friends, anyone who cared…) only to find that no flowers had been left.

As far as reports claimed he was an ‘unnamed homeless man.’ Although before his situation declined he was a son. He may have been a father, or at once a husband, brother, friend etc. This haunted me throughout the year as I think about him often (never knowing his face/name/anything about him) in order to keep some respect alive for him, whoever he was.

There is a detrimental and damaging stigma surrounding the support of homeless charities, or the aid of homeless people. Stigmas such as “they’ll only spend it on drugs or alcohol” or “they’re not really homeless, it’s a con.”

I am taking part in the Sleep Easy campaign because I care that on cold, bitter nights, many people are sleeping rough. For whatever reason, this is a harsh reality. Some people do not have an easy life, they may not make the right choices or they may fall onto hard times or bad luck. Whatever their reasons, we should come together to help people through these vulnerable times without judgement.

I would be incredibly grateful if your were to sponsor me for my night of sleeping rough. Amongst others also fundraising for this event, we are allowed to make shelter out of cardboard, and will be sleeping over night outside Lincoln Cathedral, whatever the weather, in support of this wonderful charity!

HERE is the link for my fundraising page if you do wish to support my fundraising efforts, however your lovely messages of well wishes are equally appreciated! Thank you so so much to the incredibly generous people who have donated already, I am grateful beyond words for your support!

Evolution of my Flamingos / Katy Jade Dobson

Did anyone else laugh at the flamingos on Planet Earth II?

It is obvious then as an animal lover and colour lover combined, that flamingos would come up throughout my portfolio of work. In fact, they come up much further back than I remembered from the top of my head. Sifting through my past paintings I found a set of similar works that have evolved over time and gown in my experience. It appears that I loved flamingos just as much in 2012.

Sitting these paintings side by side will always be inspirational to me, to show myself just how far I can push my work if I want to. Working on your art, or anything at all, can take years of daily dedication and pure hard work. I have applied this to my art with patience and looseness to help me grow. I have let my gut instinct walk me, and through that I have taught myself to paint images as I want them to be seen and will continue to grow further.

Please take a look at my brief history of flamingo studies, shown below!

Contact to inquire about paintings/prints or availability














2017 / Katy Jade Dobson

It is always exciting for me to reflect not only back on the previous year, but to look forwards at the opportunities and challenges and watching them become real. 

Currently I am working on a new collection.

Much like early last year, I am working hard on a full set of oil paintings that are interlinked, their concept is laced throughout the collection and their visuals are woven together. Working on a full set together is a piece of time that eventually reflects directly into a real, tangible ‘thing.’ I have often talked about pockets of time being mirrored in a painting, but a collection evokes both a memory of a period of time, or a feeling of de ja vu. This particular collection is exciting for me, and always, is an effort to push forward with my craft, honing, building on, and learning new skills.

As well as an impending new collection, I have other very exciting things going on this year, which I will certainly be notifying anyone interested, though this website, my Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter.

Please keep an eye out for the amazing things happening this year!

My 2016 in summery

Although on the broader spectrum of things, 2016 has been a tough year for so many people in many places, on a smaller and more personal scale I have known people to have had a great year, filled with personal achievements and good times.

Early last year I worked solidly on a collection named The 21 Grams Collection. (See in full here) which was a great achievement for me. It was a body of work, full to the brim with enthusiasm and everything I had gained in knowledge and skill of art and my craft in order to create it. It was a personal highlight and achievement for me. This collection was shown in its entirety at Robertson Fine Art Gallery in Edinburgh, a place so stunning that I ventured back for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later that year.


Amongst this show, I visited some other beautiful galleries throughout the year to showcase new originals and prints. A standout for me was Eye Like Gallery in Beaconsfield. A wonderful gallery full of life and enthusiasm for their art that they proudly display in their family run gallery. It was a great night of talking to lovely people about art and the gallery, and I appreciated just how much time and effort they put into this event. They made me proud of my own work and in turn, I felt grateful and honoured to be working with such wonderful people.

KatyJadeDobson-53 copy

The lovely George Thornton Gallery were the first to showcase some very Limited Edition embellished canvas prints at his event, Artisan showed a group of darker originals which had a moodier atmosphere, and Gallery Rouge dedicated their top level of the gallery to showcasing my originals and prints. I also head to the new gallery Eaton Fine Art who I am excited to be working more with in 2017. Each were so welcoming with kind clients who were a pleasure to speak to! I found myself at the Grand Designs event in London, where I proudly displayed new originals and prints in what I liked to very obnoxiously call ‘Katy Corner’… with EyeBall Gallery



I had the pleasure of donating a print to the Born Free Foundation to be made available for their auction, to which Gary Liniker bought a print of ‘Felid II.’ I also released a small collection of sealife pieces where a percentage of profits went to the Marine Conservation Society. I proudly donated my palette for the second year running to the amazing CRY which was sold at auction. I also donated a small painting to the Willow Foundation for their Stars on Canvas event, which was available to buy at auction, and also on the cover of their annual brochure. These connections make me so incredibly proud of what I do, and so happy that I can use something I enjoy to hopefully do some good.



2016 also took me on a series of travels from a fun weekend in Amsterdam, to dancing through the streets of Prague. A cancelled flight left me in the UK when I should have been in Barcelona, however the highlight of my year was a trip to Cuba, An absolute dream come true starting in Havana and ending in Varadero, and whenever I look at photos my heart swells.

It was a place of raw beauty, even in impoverished areas, the soul and character was palpable. Learning about the history and way of life in Cuba was hard, and experiencing the locals in Havana and their beautiful city made me feel alive. The way of life is a happy one. It is slow paced, highly sociable, warm and lovely. We drank rum, smoked cuban cigars, swam in the ocean, took boat rides, rode horses, went to coffee plantations, rode around in vintage cars and just fell madly and deeply in love with Cuba.


It was a wonderful year for me, making headway in personal terms in confronting an anxiety disorder which can interferre with life at times, I have made connections with people I never imagined and focused on the wonderful, warm people around me. I have reflected on my time using social media and focusing on painting as a profession and have become more inspired than ever.

There is a blog post to follow about my plans for 2017,  I am happy and confident with thanks to the wonderful support and teamwork of  Wishbone Publishing. Not everyone gets to work amongst people they consider as friends, and feel the support and trust as much as I do. Together we have great plans for the year ahead and I cannot wait to share them with you, whoever is reading this and has followed the progress of my work.

For any information on any of my works, originals or prints, feel free to send an inquiry to / or look the affiliated gallery list on my website