Bonny Snowdon 00:07
Hello, I'm Bonny Snowdon, ex-corporate person, a mother turned successful artist-entrepreneur. It wasn't that long ago though that I lacked the confidence, vision and support network to focus on growing my dream business. Fast forward past many life curveballs, waves of self-doubt and so many lessons learned and you'll see Ignite, my thriving online colour pencil artists community, a community that changes members' lives for the better and gives me freedom to live abundantly, whilst doing what I love and spending quality time with my beloved family and dogs, all whilst creating my best artwork with coloured pencils, and mentoring others to do the same. But this life wasn't always how it was, for me, it used to only exist in my imagination. I've created the It's a Bonny Old life podcast to help increase people's confidence, share mine and my community's experience and hope through fascinating personal stories, champion the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community, and create another channel through which I can support others to realize their dreams. If you're a passionate colour, pencil artist, or an aspiring one, who's looking to create their best work and a joyful life you love, you're in the right place. Grab a cuppa and a custard cream. Let's get cracking. I've been following my next guest for a while I was excited to chat to her. But little did I know that I would connect really quite deeply with her. With a PhD in art therapy but choosing to actually specialize in creating the most amazing equine art. You are going to love our chat. I'm absolutely thrilled to be speaking to Victoria Scotty. Hello.
Victoria Scotty 01:42
Bonny Snowdon 01:43
Hi, how are you?
Victoria Scotty 01:45
Good. How are you?
Bonny Snowdon 01:46
I'm really well. Thank you. So, nice to actually meet you.
Victoria Scotty 01:50
Absolutely. The pleasure is all mine. I'm a huge fan of your work and I've been following you for years. So, it's really lovely to meet you.
Bonny Snowdon 01:59
Oh, well, bless you. I'm a massive fan of your work and that's one of the reasons why I wanted to chat to you really well, all sorts of reasons. But yeah, I really love your work that you do and the diversity of it, I just think is wonderful.
Victoria Scotty 02:14
Well, thank you so much, Bonny. So, it's great we found each other here.
Bonny Snowdon 02:19
Yeah. So, it's all recording and this will be part of the podcast and everything and all you've got. Are you drinking tea?
Victoria Scotty 02:27
Yeah, a lovely cup of tea. I felt what a great way to start the week. Have a lovely cup of tea, talk to Bonny and then go on with my day.
Bonny Snowdon 02:27
So, tell me where you are in Spain? Just give us a bit of an idea about where you live and where you do your amazing art.
Victoria Scotty 02:49
Well, I'm based in Valencia. It's on the east coast. It's down from Barcelona, on the Mediterranean. So, we've been here, my husband and I've been here for 16 years. My husband, he's from New York. So, we went back to the States for a few years when I did my PhD also, but the lifestyle here, sorry, New York is so much better. So, we came back to Valencia and my husband has a real estate business here. So, it's a really lovely, lovely city. If you haven't visited, I invite everybody to come over.
Bonny Snowdon 03:28
Oh, yes, that sounds amazing. How lovely. So, does your husband speak Spanish then now if he's living over there?
Victoria Scotty 03:35
Yes. We're all we all fluent in Spanish. Yes. We've been here for a long time and we have two children who were born here. So, they are now teenagers. It's my son's birthday is coming up actually this week. So, he will be turning 12 and my daughter just turned 14.
Bonny Snowdon 03:56
Oh gosh. Wow.
Victoria Scotty 03:57
Yeah, I know.
Bonny Snowdon 04:02
What a lovely age, isn't it? A 14-year-old daughter?
Victoria Scotty 04:05
It is. It’s lovely. We share the clothes and everything. It's fun to go shopping with her talk about girly stuff and she has an amazing. I actually you know, ask her for her advice actually. Sometimes if I need help with composition or anything like that. She has very good eyes, so she gives me good advice. Yeah, so that's amazing.
Bonny Snowdon 04:29
Yeah. She has an amazing eye. Does she really love art as well?
Victoria Scotty 04:34
She does and, you know she draws from life. Most of my work, I work with photographs, I think as to you. But my daughter she actually draws from life and she started drawing from life when she was just two and a half years old. So, I never gave her any toys. I was very strict mom. I never gave her any plastic toys. No battery-operated toys. Nothing like that. But she started drawing from life, plants and fish and bugs and she's amazing.
Bonny Snowdon 05:09
Wow, that's fantastic and your son is he artistic too.
Victoria Scotty 05:14
He's too but he's more interested now in robotics and engineering and stuff. But also, he had a phase when he was drawing birds and also, he was sculpting birds out of found materials. So, that was really amazing. He was really into birds, especially birds of prey. So, we all find our niche, I guess because I only draw horses. People ask me all the time, like, do you do cats and dogs I have a beautiful dog I would like to draw. He said, listen, I love cats and dogs, I have two cats on my own. But only in my artwork, I focus on horses, I only draw horses.
Bonny Snowdon 06:00
Actually niching down, I mean, if it's something that you really, really enjoy it, I totally understand it. But on a business side of things, as well niching down, you have one subject, but actually, you have sort of quite a few different styles. So, you've got your beautiful the enormous murals and then the thing that I absolutely adore that I don't think I've seen anybody else do, is your sketchbook series and they are just, I was telling my mum at the weekend I went to see my mom. It was my mom's birthday and I met with family and I was chatting about stuff and I was like, I'm really excited to be chatting to this lady on Monday and I said she's got the most fantastic sketchbook series where you'll draw the portrait, kind of over a couple of pages within sketchbook and they're just beautiful.
Victoria Scotty 06:55
Well, thank you, Bonny there's so much fun to make. This whole thing started as a summer project. I did my first sketchbook in 2019. I'm originally from Estonia. So, every summer I take the kids and we go for an extended period of time, almost two months we spent in Estonia and I can have two large pieces there we travel around there with the family and have a little bit of holiday also. But they figured, well, what can I do because I love to draw, I cannot take a break. So, I figured, hey, why don't I do just this sketchbook and look at it as an opportunity to develop a body of work, that is maybe something that is in the process and I can develop further later on. Let me use it as a way to gather some ideas to develop some ideas to work on some ideas without having that pressure of having a finished piece. So, kind of it is what it is and so that's what I started doing in the summer and I just loved it because it's a portable thing. So, I can be on a bus or I can be somewhere and I can take out the sketchbook and it's just perfect and so that's how I started and then people started asking me they wanted to buy the drawings. They will go, can you sell it or can you make a print? I said no, the print really does not. The sketchbook has the specific aesthetic and the page and it has to be an original work. I'm not making prints out of them. People ask well really I love it. I want to buy it. I'm like listen if it brings you joy, I'm not going to hold on to it. I have no problem sharing it with people, I have no problem selling the work. So, what I did was I cut the binding, let me see if I had one of them here. So, I take out the pages people ask me all the time, well what do you do like how do you take the pages out? So is this classic moleskin sketchbook and so what I do is that I cut to the binding here I draw usually on these books and then what I do I have like insert the knife and I cut the the binding the threads, and then the page comes out like that and when framed, it's really lovely. You know it has this decidedly handmade feel and it has that feel of the sketchbook so people really love them and it's a joy to make them so over the summer I already bought a new one and I will be posting sketchbook are drawings and I will be drawing and sketchbook, for sure.
Bonny Snowdon 09:52
Have you ever had somebody commission you to do almost like a few pieces within the sketchbook and sell the actual book with the pieces in situ?
Victoria Scotty 10:03
I thought that would be a great idea. I only have people commission me on one page. So, I just have taken them out. But I did think about how cool would it be to just frame the actual book just open it. Like if somebody wanted to buy like the book and you can frame it with the book itself. Just kind of have it open like that and frame it. It's like an object of art, especially somebody who appreciates that kind of aesthetic. So, hopefully, somebody will commission me to do that.
Bonny Snowdon 10:40
Victoria Scotty 10:42
Yeah, because the sketchbooks you know, you can buy them. I mean, these are really good quality, but to frame, it would look really cool. I might make one for myself, and then I can post it, then people will see it, and they will get an idea.
Bonny Snowdon 10:56
Yeah, I know. I think they're beautiful and you have this really lovely you would class your work as realism. You definitely class your work because realism, but you have this beautiful style, that I recognize your work, when it pops up on this farm, whatever, I always recognize your work, and particularly with the horses that have got all of the mains and you have the beautiful sort of curls and everything coming round and the spirals and everything and is that something that you have it just sort of come naturally or is it something that you've particularly wanted to push?
Victoria Scotty 11:34
It's an interesting observation, Bonny. So, many people have told me that. Indeed my work in it is about realism. But it's not about realism. It's not my intention, like your work I really admire because the fur is so realistic, like you want to touch it, it is just amazing. My realism is different. You're right and for me, it's really more about the emotion it's about the emotion of the horse, it's about the connection with the horse and so I go straight for that. So, yeah, I guess it just evolved naturally when I started working, that's just kind of how it evolved for me. But I do feel there are two aspects that I really go for in my work. So, one is the actual form of the horse you have noticed that most of my horses have this very elegant shape some of them like really sculptural I like that aspect of them. Just the aesthetic of it, to look at it, it is like, the horse is a work of art by the nature. I mean, it is just amazing, superb work of nature and so for me just to bring out maybe what I see in it. So, the form of it is something that I go for and the second as I mentioned is the motion specifically was the posture. I like to go for the more romantic, the more dreamy styles. So, these are the two aspects, maybe that are key.
Bonny Snowdon 13:20
Yes, and those two words dreamy and romantic; they absolutely describe your work to a tee. I mean, they really, really do because that's exactly what they are. They're, they're almost like you were saying, like sculpted and they've got this sort of beautiful, sort of feel to them, and they're elegant and everything. So, a horse is, I'm guessing, but I don't know, because you don't give much away in your Instagram or your website or anything like that about about you as a person. Do you ride? Have you always loved horses? What was it that made you decide just to draw horses?
Victoria Scotty 14:01
It's an interesting story. As a child, I always wanted to ride I wanted to have a horse, but it was not possible for my families to to give me a horse or riding lessons back then and so when I had my own daughter I suggested, well, maybe you want to ride and so my daughter started riding and so I started going to the stables more, and I started riding as well. So, we rode together for for a few years and so I really felt this really strong connection to be so close to the horses to be connected to that world. But how I actually started drawing them, it was very curious, because I'm actually an art therapist by training. So, I don't have a fine arts degree. I am an art therapist, but I got this amazing sign from somewhere from the universe, I do not know, I got this sign I looked, there's this one horse, I looked him in the eye and I felt that I have to take out my sketchpad and my pencil. So, the next time I went to the stables, I brought my joint materials with me and so I started sketching from right there. So, I had this weird sign, I don't know what it was, I don't know where it came from. It's still a mystery to me. I just followed it. It was weird and then I was doing my PhD in art therapy. I actually did all my training in the United States. So, we went back to the States, and I did my PhD and then after I defended, we came back to Spain and we went on holiday, to the south, to Malaga and we stayed in this rural area and in the field, there was this grey horse and I walked over to it and I had again, this feeling that oh, my God, there's something here. So, I was on holiday, I had just defended my dissertation. I was getting ready for an academic career in the States and I dropped everything and I just started drawing horses. It was crazy. My husband is like, are you crazy. How can it be that I went to America with you? I came back with you and you wanted to do this academic career, and you work so hard and now you're drawing horses. You really didn't need a PhD to do that. Did you? I said, yeah, you're right. But it brings me so much joy and I just don't know why I want to do it. But I do want to do it and so that's what I'm going to do. So, my husband is very supportive. I'm very fortunate. Of course, that he said, well, okay, let's see maybe it's a phase or something. But I haven't looked back Bonny I have not looked back. It's a mystery to me. But I think that's something that I meant to do for some reason.
Bonny Snowdon 17:10
Do you know, I just knew there was a reason, but I needed to talk to you because that is just just the most wonderful thing. I mean, absolutely fantastic and what's lovely about what you've sort of just been saying and how you've got into all of this, is the fact that it wasn't just on a whim or anything like that you had this sort of encounter.
Victoria Scotty 17:37
I did. I have a sight and it's so so clear and so strong, I could not ignore it. I just could not and now I'm just drawing every day and when I listened to your podcast with your Academy members, there was this lady who said, she started drawing when she was 71 years old. She was amazing and she told everybody how much joy she finds in drawing animals and drawing with coloured pencils and I so much related to her except that in my case, I didn't want to wait till I was 71 years old. I'm just blessed that I had that sign before.
Bonny Snowdon 18:26
I think if more people were a little bit more, perhaps in tune with taking these things as a sign that actually this is what I'm supposed to be doing, I think there'd be an awful lot more people who were really happy. It's almost like we feel these things and think, oh that's not a thing. This weekend, I was over at my mum, she lives very close and there were a few of my sis, I've got quite a big family and there were a couple of my sisters there and we were talking about the universe and manifestation and all of that sort of stuff and we were getting honestly, I mean, I am such a massive advocate and believer of the universe and things that happen for a reason and all of that type of thing and it just fills me with joy when I see people doing what they're meant to be doing, and just having a really blessed life and it's just wonderful and I have no that happened with you. You see your beautiful pieces and you've got a really lovely website and everything like that. But there must have been something that kind of drew me to ask you to come and have a chat because it's made me go all tingling.
Victoria Scotty 19:58
Well, thank you so much for inviting me, because I've been such a huge. I think you were one of the first people I followed on Instagram. I've been such a huge fan of your work and now that you launched the podcast, I started to listen to podcasts and like, oh, my God, that's great and so when you asked me, I was like, oh, my god, that's amazing, I want to be on that podcast.
Bonny Snowdon 20:24
No, I think people are going to really, really enjoy hearing what you're saying as well. The art therapy side of things that you did this PhD with, and then you just sort of went, yeah, now I'm not going to do that. I'm going to do my art, is that something that kind of maybe sort of feature down the line, or you kind of bring into your work, or there must be something in there with all of the studying and everything that you kind of draw on no pun intended but you're drawn for your work, and to run your business and all of that type of thing.
Victoria Scotty 20:57
Definitely. I haven't abandoned art therapy, I still teach from time to time, I just don't do it full time as an academic career. I love teaching continuing education courses and things like that. So, definitely, I think with all the symbolism that you study, in art therapy, something that I could say, actually, every piece, every drawing, or every work of art, is actually a self-portrait. So, I think it is also an exploration of the self and recreating an aspect of the sell, that is important to me. A lot of it is unconscious, and some of it has been processed, also over the years. But I think that's for the listeners also, to think, but why am I doing this or what is it in my work, that speaks about me, and there's always something? So, in my case, I think to have the freedom the horse is the symbol of the freedom of the unconscious, of beauty of grace the beauty of nature, all of that is an opportunity for me to explore through those drawings and even if I do commissions, I think some people want realism like, even, whatever their horse looks like, they just want that photo recreated. But then I love having conversations with my Patreons, as my clients and I explained to them always that way, for me when I buy a piece of art, or if I commission or something, I would look at two aspects. One is the obvious emotional aspect that you have with your animal. So, obviously, if you have a horse, you have that emotional connection with that horse. So, when you see that horse, in a work of art, you recognize the horse, and you're like, oh, my God, that's great. That looks just like my horse. So, that's that emotional aspect that you have. But then you also have in any work of art, obviously, an aesthetic aspect. So, if you have that hanging on your wall, and somebody else comes to visit you and looks at it, and sees who doesn't know your horse? Like, does that piece communicate to me? Does that communicate the emotion of the horse? Does that make me look twice at it or does that make me contemplate or say, wow? So, that's the aesthetic aspect. So, I tried to bring those two together. Sometimes if the photograph is not the most professional one, or is that a weird angle, or maybe does not show the horse as its best maybe somebody gives me like one either at a weird angle, or has like a winter coat. I prefer the summer coat, because much smoother. So, I told him, I say, hey, do you have other photos or can we use another horse also as a reference? I might have other photos of other horses, that let's say make that posture for the composition. Maybe we can change that so that it is not just a copy of the photograph. But it is a work of art that communicates something beyond that.
Bonny Snowdon 24:39
Do you know, absolutely and I love what you're saying about yes, it's going to portray the emotion and the character of the horse, but also have that somebody who doesn't know the horse, it's also got to kind of have a meaning behind that as well and I think we almost not forget it. But with realism, you are so intent on making it look just like the photo half of the time, that potentially that the other sides of things can be missing, so having that intention of bringing character but also other bits and pieces in as well I just love that. I love that.
Victoria Scotty 25:24
I always think when they create, I'm like, I want to create something that I would want to hang on my own wall. So, then you as a teacher if you didn't like it, but listen, I'm going to keep it. I'll give your money back; I have no problem. But I want to create something that I am 100% happy with, that I will be happy having in my own home. So, that's very important to me, I would say quality over quantity I work quite slowly, too and I really take my time planning the whole composition out and looking for other references if needed and if it's a large piece, then it takes a long time, but I've been very blessed with my Patreons and collectors, who are told that they say like, listen, take your time, I have no deadline I just want the best piece that you can make of my horse or the best collectors I have. They just say I just want to commission a horse, it's not my horse, I suddenly don't even have a horse, they just have seen pictures and they are like, I would like to have a picture of the horse, a beautiful horse, and you choose whatever horse you want. So, I'm like, well, that's great. Because this way I can show them several ideas that I think are going to look really great and then they can say, okay, I really like this one, or that one and we can discuss if you want in black and white, or if you want in colour, or you want a mixed media because I can work in different styles based on the horse that whatever speaks best because graphite is my first love. So, I started just in black and white just in black in graphite and I still love it, especially if I work with darker coats, any kind of dark, bay or black, I tend to go with that monochrome. Because I think that just the form that you just focus on the form really, and it's so clean and so elegant. So, I don't even want to mix and bring the colours in it, I would just want to keep it black and white. But now if you have a particular kind of grey, or especially a Pollio something like those very unusual colours. Maybe you've seen I have some like almost pink horses. I'll take a breed. So, you know for them, I'm like, oh my God, I want to show that very unusual colour. I want I see all those different pink tones on her poles and they are almost otherworldly they are so human-like in their skin. It's like human skin and they are like from a different planet. I swear. So, I love drawing those as well in colour and then I have those, recently I've gone crazy about Appaloosas and club strippers. I'm obsessed with that. Oh my god, all these scripted markings and it's like putting together a puzzle because they have different and so I love, love doing that as well in colour to bring all of the terms out.
Bonny Snowdon 26:43
As I'm speaking to you now, you come across as a very, very calm, you've got this lovely calm quality to how you speak. This maybe sounds really strange question but have you got quite a calm lifestyle? Is this how you are? Is this your personality? Did you get worked up about things? Do you get worried about your work? Do you get a little bit anxious about things? You come across as being very grounded, and calm as if you're just you know exactly where you are, know that this is your time and where you're supposed to be in doing what you're supposed to be doing.
Victoria Scotty 29:36
Yeah, as you say, it's my time to do it and I would say 20 years ago, I would not be able to do what I'm doing now. I'm now 44 years old. When I was younger, I was very energetic. I liked to move around. I loved to travel. I loved all different experiences. My artwork was spontaneous. I tried all different materials like I love something spontaneous, like a painting or maybe a collage or something like that, I would never have the patience to sit down for a month to draw a huge course drawing mirror. But people change and when I became a mom, I have noticed those huge changes I become more patient, you appreciate things and now that my kids are even adolescence, I have even more time, and I love the slow life. So, now we have purchased a little cottage in the countryside, sometimes I share snippets of that in my stories or Instagram and so I work in two places. I work in Valencia in the city and then I also work in the countryside. So, when it gets warmer, like now, I have a huge drawing there set up that I will be working on there. So, I will be going between the two places and I will be working always wherever I am. Because I work from home. I have space for that and my materials are dry. So, I don't need like a huge place to wait it for dry or it's not a problem. I just cover them up. But yeah, for me drawing, it is like meditation. I go to a completely different world. I forget about the time; I have to set the alarm to pick up my kids from school. So, I could do it day in and day out. I'm sure it's the same for you. Like, even yesterday was Sunday, I thought, okay, I need to take a break but if oh, maybe I just make a little sketch I'll just play was the new materials, I got this kind of graphite that is like kneadable, like weird material about. So, I still couldn't help it, I still had to make a little sketch even though it was Sunday. So, it's just about doing what you love that's what I say. There are so many people out there who do things that they have to do and that I'm not saying that they're things that they don't have to do certain things, but finding the time, having the time to do what you love and I had a problem with it when I was younger because I didn't know how to enjoy myself. I was very ambitious and I always felt the need to fulfil somebody's expectations to get a job and had a career be the best and all that and then when it came to like, well, what do you enjoy doing? I do enjoy making art, but I don't have the time for it. So, you're just robbing yourself of that opportunity and some people wake up when they are 70. But some people never, never get to do that and that's sad. So, I always say, well, listen, it takes some discipline to get started to get going. But then once you're in that route, I mean, once you're in that creative space, you just want to keep going back there, you just want to keep going and doing it and finding that joy in the art. I think the life somebody said live for the art is never wasted and I couldn't agree more.
Bonny Snowdon 33:50
Yeah, I'm so with you on that. So, with you. I found that I don't draw nearly as much as I used to when I first started drawing and literally, it was just every single spare moment and every unspare moment I would kind of forfeit doing any house cleaning or cooking or anything like that. I'm just like, no, I'm just going to draw and I'm quite selfish in a way that actually I do put myself first quite a lot of the time and I'm like, I love doing this. So, this is what makes me happy and I'm going to do it. But I've now found that as my business has grown, there's so much more I have to do.
Victoria Scotty 34:37
Yeah. Oh my god, I mean, you have the academy. You've got the podcast; you've got the commission waitlist up till I don't know 2025? It's all booked. I mean, you're a very busy woman obviously.
Bonny Snowdon 34:53
Yes, and I'm kind of sitting here listening to you and there's almost part of me that's like you I mean, I live life quite fast-paced with what I do. I mean, I'm not a regular racy person or anything, but I'm always on to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing, there's all sort of connected and I do want to start eventually just sort of slowing down a little bit, and just really, really enjoying my art and one of the things that I've decided to do is still do all my big tutorials and everything, but to do some smaller ones that are maybe 15 minutes of just real index talking about one specific thing, like a colour there's one of the things I've been doing at the minute, Orange is a really difficult colour.
Victoria Scotty 35:46
Oh, my God, it's a very difficult colour.
Bonny Snowdon 35:49
I put something on Instagram this morning about it being almost like a Goldilocks colour, it's like it's too red, it's too yellow, it's got to be just right. If you're trying to capture a colour. I mean, you were talking before about when you draw darker coloured horses, that you do them in the graphite, and it's about capturing the form and I'm absolutely totally with you on that. For me, the most important part of a piece is the value. So, getting the values right, so you get the form and everything. But then sometimes you have to get that colour. So, when you're working on those more the sort of chrome yellows and stuff like that those horses where there's a specific colour that comes out, you've got to capture, you have to capture that colour as well and it can be really tricky to sort of go oh, well, I've got this range of pencils. But I haven't got one that matches the colour exactly and I've got to kind of mix them up. How do you use your colour? Because I know you were saying your love is the graphite in the black and white. When it comes to colour, how does your brain work in choosing and picking a colour? Do you see images? Do you swatch? Do you intrinsically know that if I use this colour and this colour, I'm going to get that colour? How does that work in your brain?
Victoria Scotty 37:06
That's a good question, Bonny and I mean, you're a coloured pencil artist, I am primarily a graphite artist. So, I have like, kind of stretched out to that I have recently explored more of the colour, so I actually work very intuitively, very intuitively. I just kind of had a vision of an idea that I would like to see and then I start doing it. You have maybe noticed that my colour palette, still it's very muted. Whatever I do, it is quite muted and that's due to the fact that I actually have graphite layers in them too. So, it's never purely coloured pencil, therefore it has that different kind of feel to it they are not so bright, they are more muted. Because I have the graphite layers in there, in between. I look for a vision, and sometimes it doesn't really match the photo completely I might exaggerate on some colour, but that's how I see it, or that's how I want it to look or I think that that's going to look good like that. So, yeah, I work intuitively but definitely to see a range and I layer different tones so that I have a more depth in in those layers. So, that's how I do it.
Bonny Snowdon 38:45
So, probably a little bit like me, in that you've almost visualised your final piece where you start and you kind of know, this is how it's going to look and how it's going to feel and you sound like quite a feely person as well when you're talking.
Victoria Scotty 38:59
Yeah, very intuitive. I'm very intuitive, I think I just go for whatever feels right what I think is going to look good and what feels right. Like, sometimes I see some very unusual, like turquoise colours in the coat and so I just put that in the shadow areas, maybe and just some unusual. I think that's a nice balance, then it brings the surprise elements in it and it makes it look differently at the work because if it's strictly realistic, there's beauty, there is a lot of value in it. I love to look at like very realistic the coat is perfect, like the way you draw fur, oh my god, it's amazing. Frankly, I don't know how to draw fur so well. So, I need to look more at your tutorials. My horses are mostly smooth, so I usually don't draw with the coats or very fuzzy ponies. I go intuitively and if there is a surprise element, I think it's also cool if a horse has like this beautiful pink, I love seeing that if they come out or are having the knob stroke that I did in this sketchbook, I had all kinds of different colours there. So, it was kind of fun as well.
Bonny Snowdon 40:29
Brilliant. Honestly, this is just so loving our chat. It's taken me into this sort of just this sort of serene area, you're you've got such a lovely calming quality. With the art therapy that I'm really, really intrigued, if you were going to kind of do or hold like an art therapy session with someone, what are the elements that you bring out? Is it all about getting people to draw? I have no idea how that kind of thing works?
Victoria Scotty 41:10
Well, art therapy for those people who don't know it is about self-expression and self-exploration through the art. So, at the same time, it is a form of psychotherapy. So, we do work from the theories from psychotherapeutic theories, but we use the creative arts, we use the visual arts, to then explore that person. But the person, of course, explores themselves with the help of the art therapist. So, I might have them I see myself as a fellow traveller, I would say we're all on a path and sometimes we don't know where it's going to lead. You may have an idea now, but maybe five years from now, you're going to be on a different path, or you're going to be in a different place on that path. So, it's a good idea to explore from time to time, take the time and look inwards and contemplate, Well, where am I? How did I get here? Where do I want to go? To use just words for that is one-way talk therapy. But then you can also use the creative media, you can use so many different materials and that's really how clients surprise themselves with what they can create, and what they can see in the work when they like to talk about the work and ask them some questions like, oh, what do you see in that or tell me more about that? How they start talking about the work but they're really talking about themselves. As I said, before, every work is a self-portrait, whether you want it or not, it does come out. You can look at yourself, almost from a more objective point of view, because you're looking at the work that you created but it's really you, it's really about you.
Bonny Snowdon 43:20
I'm just writing that down because I'm going to quote you on it. It just totally literally is free and it's almost like you're saying things and I'm like, oh, my goodness, I agree. I totally. Yes, like that, but you've just kind of brought it to my consciousness, which is fantastic and that every piece of work is a self-portray and that is such a wonderful thing to say because I deal an awful lot with people's confidences so I obviously teach people to draw realism with coloured pencil, but there's so much more and actually, anybody can do anything, if they have the right mindset, and they are the ones to do it and to bring this every piece of work is a self-portrait, that it's fascinating to now then start to explore that.
Victoria Scotty 44:18
Yeah, and obviously, if you work very realistically it maybe it's less to a lesser degree than if you created really, whatever. In art therapy, you don't work from photographs or you would really create something with different materials, and then it really comes out. But there's also an interesting side like why is it that many people want to do realism and why is it that so many people want to do things perfectly? For some people it suits but then other people have a whole side of themselves, which is free expression of finding their own style you can still draw the subject that you enjoy, let's say birds, but you could have a completely different approach to that you could bring different materials in or, or you could have different styles so that it's recognizable that's you could speak through that bird, let's say you have a blackbird, or you have whichever it is sparrow and it's you, it's really you like my horses, they're really me, many of them even though they are horses, and I'm a human, but I didn't see such a huge distinction really, between those?
Bonny Snowdon 45:38
Well, no because, I mean, I've never spoken to you before and I honestly, this has just been such a beautiful conversation. If you take your images, the drawings that you do, and then you kind of overlay your personality over the top, you have that calm, serene gentle, but you've got all of those qualities in your pieces that you have within.
Victoria Scotty 46:07
You see. It's like that. Everyone is a self-portrait.
Bonny Snowdon 46:11
Just wonderful and when you take that, because obviously I teach and I have like lots of lots of people who do the same subjects, and they will all come out slightly differently, because of course, they'll come out slightly differently. Because we pour our personalities into whatever we do and I've never really looked at it, as you know, each piece is a self-portrait and even with the realism, I mean, with my work, mine ends up looking, oh, you've got all of the fur, and I'm so not a perfectionist.
Victoria Scotty 46:40
I am really shocked.
Bonny Snowdon 46:42
Oh, my goodness, I am so chaotic.
Victoria Scotty 46:46
You were real perfection, because, I mean, the detail is just really good.
Bonny Snowdon 46:51
I make do. I make do and when I start my pieces that always really messy. I mean, I'm not going to say I'm a loose artist at all, but when I draw, when people follow me, it's quite quick. So, the initial layers are like really speedy, let's just get this in, let's just whack a bit of colour in there and whack a bit of colour in there and as the layer’s kind of progress, I've got quite a lot of dexterity around pressure. So, I can go from like, really, really gentle pressure to quite hard pressure, wherever I feel it needs it and it's almost like I have this connection with the subject and the surface and with my pencil and I kind of know, I need to go softer here, I need to really, really make this a lot gentler or then I'm like, right, I just need to get in here and make this really, really dark and again, it's quite an intuitive thing. But I am so not a perfectionist. I honestly, I get to the end of something and I'm like, yeah, I know, it'll do, it'll be fine. My whole life is just a whole let's say fair oh, it'll be fine. It'll do and I won't tinker on a piece. So, when I finished it, I won't then go in and go, oh, I'll just get this right, I'll just get that right, this needs to be better. Wherever I do, when it's finished. I'm like, do you know what, it's finished and I'm really happy with it and, it's funny how people look at my work and go, gosh you must be a perfectionist, you must want to get everything absolutely spot on. I don't copy my photos. You'll have some of my students tearing their hair out, and they go, but there's a big curl lab on me that you haven't drawn, and I'm like, well, we don't need to, we don't need to do it and that's why I like fluffy animals because then I can just do my own thing. You get the feel of the hair, you're like, okay, so it's a little bit fluffy. It's a little bit, whatever and then I just do my own thing.
Victoria Scotty 47:03
Wow, that's wonderful. Your fluffy animals, they are the best.
Bonny Snowdon 49:03
It might look like the photo, but if you overlaid them, they'd be massive differences.
Victoria Scotty 49:11
It really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. The most important are the eyes, you need to have the eyes right and then everything else like even if you did not finish all the fur, it would also still look really cool, every hair doesn't have to be perfect.
Bonny Snowdon 49:30
No, no, absolutely not and some of my favourite pieces that I see from different artists are actually in the halfway stage. I've actually bought a piece from an artist in Australia, and she was drawing this a lion cub and she'd done the face and she'd done some of it and all of the pores were missing and she got all of the gridlines and everything in there. I was like, can I buy it just like that? And she was like, no, I've got to finish it and I was like, no, I just wanted like that. There was so much, it's just fantastic. unfinished.
Victoria Scotty 50:05
I was just talking to somebody the other day, there is this freshness about the piece if it's not overworked, because had she gone, maybe she will not only had to finish the paws, she would have gone back into the face too, I didn't know, maybe put another layer that is really not needed anymore and like overworked because if you overwork it, it becomes kind of tight and it doesn't speak the same way. So, I also love those half-finished pieces.
Bonny Snowdon 50:34
Yes, definitely and you can see the workings out, the artist has been doing she works on a grid and you can kind of see how she's got a little bit there. But sort of there's a bit of a rubbing out maybe or there's a little bit of a mark there and I that tells this just the most amazing story of not only the piece of art but also the artists who've been creating it. I love pieces like that. Really, really love pieces like that. But gosh, we've nearly been an hour just chatting away. Oh, I have loved this conversation.
Victoria Scotty 51:13
Yes, me too. It was a great way to start the week and so inspiring to talk to you and just to reflect also together on what it is to make art and be an artist, and that is what the artwork really is telling us about.
Bonny Snowdon 51:31
Yes, and I'm just kind of sort of thinking out loud here and I'm just wondering if maybe you might come and be a guest speaker for my students, particularly around the mindfulness, and you know, maybe some of that sort of art therapy stuff. They would just adore you.
Victoria Scotty 51:54
Yeah, absolutely and I could give maybe people some insights that they don't know, like, they go, why am I going to get? Well, I just like to draw. But there is always something else that that leads us to that so it is always good to explore, to be more aware of yourself, gives you greater freedom I mean, you can choose not to explore yourself at all, and just keep doing what you want to and that's totally fine. But then if you have a little bit more insight, well, that opens more doors to you and gives you more choices and give you more freedom like, oh, yeah, okay, I know that about myself. So, now I can choose what you want to do with it. Versus you just don't know and it comes out in the work or maybe you're unhappy with yourself some people, as I said, have confidence issues and people don't know, well, why am I unhappy? I'm working really hard here and I'm still not happy with my work. That's really important to kind of work out, I think because I think it's wonderful, the joy that you get from the creation if you're happy with the work if you're satisfied with the creation, it gives you so much back, but if it becomes a frustration or something that you pressure yourself to make then it becomes a struggle a bit there. So, you need to work through that so that you can enjoy your work like that lady who I love her so much on your podcast.
Bonny Snowdon 53:28
Victoria Scotty 53:29
Yes, yes, Judy. Send the greetings to Judy, if she's listening, I really, really enjoyed her the way she spoke about her art and how much joy it brings her, and how great it is, and how she just wants to do it all the time. So, we should all be in that mode.
Bonny Snowdon 53:47
We should all be Judy.
Victoria Scotty 53:48
Bonny Snowdon 53:49
I also think if you get to know yourself best, so I've done a lot of internal work, I have regular coaching sessions. I've trained as a coach, and I'm doing some more training now and I've really reflected on me the good parts and the not so good parts and actually means that now, when I hit those moments of a little bit confused about something or maybe unsure about something, or maybe something doesn't work, as I'd hoped it would work, I can then reflect back and I can look into myself and I can then understand how I behave in these certain situations, and how I usually react and then I can start to look at my behaviour and think well, if I behave slightly differently, or if I reacted slightly differently, then I'm going to get a different outcome. But because I know myself so well, I can then make a conscious decision on how I'm going to react in a certain situation, which means that I can keep on doing my art and I don't get to the point where I'm either burnt out doing it or I'm not enjoying doing it and you hear so many commissioned artists talking about how they start doing their commission's and then they just fall out of love with drawing because it's almost like they're on this this treadmill just one after the other.
Victoria Scotty 55:23
Bonny Snowdon 55:25
Actually, I've never felt like that, but I think it's because I know myself so well and I've done so much internal work, and so much reflection that I know when to say no. Now I know when to sort of say, the client sends me a photograph, I know when to say, really sorry, it's just not going to work. Because I know if I use that photo, I wouldn't enjoy it.
Victoria Scotty 55:55
Absolutely and that's my point exactly that you need to enjoy it and you don't have to do every commission, as you say, you don't have to, you need to do the ones that bring you joy and you need to work with the people who are willing to work with you if they want something that is impossible still, well, it's not going to bring you any joy, it's not worth your time even for the money. So, I think some people get very frustrated also, because maybe they take on too much maybe they used to be working under stress, that's what they know to just have that pressure on you all the time. But maybe you actually don't need to take on so many commissions maybe you can take fewer, or spread them out a bit and say, hey my calendar is filled for this month, but maybe two months down the line, I'd love to do it. So, I'm trying not to take too many at the time. Because I really want to take the time with each one, I can work on like two at the same time, which is fine. But I do not want to be like very pressured, because I work quite slowly and so I try to space them out so that I'm not stressed and it's fine. Definitely, it's very important and I think it's wonderful that you have the academy, because people have the support there and you can talk about these things and sometimes somebody just needs to say, hey, you don't have to do it do you know you can say no. But some people are like, really, but she asked me, but it doesn't matter people ask me all the time to do cats and dogs and with all respect, I say that's just not my area of expertise. Because you don't want to specialize in something like my horses, you get to know the anatomy, you get to know the code, you get to know the eye. But for me now to start learning like about a dog, it will take me a long time. Because they have different eyes, they have different fur, they have even paws all of that. So, I would be putting a lot of hours go into your tutorials, looking at how to do it and that's not something that brings me joy anyways to draw dogs, so that I'm going to send them to you because I know that you do a much better job and it brings joy, but I will do what I'm best at, the horses.
Bonny Snowdon 58:33
Yeah, absolutely and, do you know, one of the things, because I really do love what you do, and having just been sitting and talking to you for the last hour, it's made me really want to order a piece from you and not only because I really love your work, but because now I've met you, I've talked to you, I feel like there's some kind of a connection there and that is what would make one of your pieces so special. I'm sitting up on my wall thinking I could have quite a nice big one up there. But it wouldn't just be the beauty of the piece. It would be this part of you in there as well and that is such a big part of what artists do. It's not just oh, that looks really pretty. It's understanding who the artist is knowing their personality, knowing what they put into the pieces and understanding why they do that they do and the whole thing is like this fantastic package and that is just the most wonderful message I think to give to people. It's not just about what the piece looks like. It's about connecting with your clients, building relationships with your clients so that they understand what you have gone through to be able to create such a fantastic piece and that has come through incredibly strongly in this last hour just chatting to you thinking about having one of your pieces on my wall, it's not just a beautiful piece of art, it's part of your beautiful personality as well.
Victoria Scotty 1:00:13
Well, thank you first of all about compliments, but I'm so glad that they came through and it was such a lovely chat indeed, and it was a pleasure to meet you in person. That's why I love Instagram because you get to see all of these beautiful artists where you get to follow them, you get to know them and then finally, oh my goodness, as a bonus, if you actually get to talk to them, it's cool. It's really fantastic.
Bonny Snowdon 1:00:42
It really is from all over the world and whatever sort of genre you're working in. But for me, it's about getting that connection with somebody and almost feeling that sort of, like you kind of just start to kind of fill up inside, don't you? It's like this glow when you find somebody almost on that same frequency as you, it's just wonderful.
Victoria Scotty 1:01:09
It's wonderful, and to feel the support too to feel that as artists we can really support each other on Instagram social media, or however I love listening to art podcasts, and so I feel okay there are other people out there as well creating, it just makes it feel good to have that virtual community if you can have the real-life one from all over the world like you're saying.
Bonny Snowdon 1:01:38
Wow, well, I think that's honestly been such a lovely start to my week. Thank you so, so much for joining me. It's just been wonderful talking to you. Absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you offline about creating a piece for my studio, I think, because, honestly, I'm looking at the space now and I'm thinking yes, that's where it would go. So, we'll catch up afterwards. But thank you so, so much for joining me.
Victoria Scotty 1:02:05
Well, thank you, Bonny, so much for inviting me and it's a pleasure to talk to you.
Bonny Snowdon 1:02:10
Victoria Scotty 1:02:11
Have a great week ahead.
Bonny Snowdon 1:02:12
You too. Thank you so much. We'll catch up soon.
Victoria Scotty 1:02:16
Okay, bye. We'll be in touch.
Bonny Snowdon 1:02:58
Victoria Scotty 1:03:00
Bonny Snowdon 1:03:02
I really hope you enjoyed listening to this episode of my It's a Bonny Old Life podcast. If you did, I'd be so grateful to you for emailing me or texting a link to the show, or sharing it on social media with those you know who might like it too. My mission with this podcast is all about sharing mine and my communities experience and hope by telling your fascinating personal stories, championing the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community and to create another channel through which I can support you to realize your coloured pencil and life dreams. If you haven't done so yet, please help me on my mission to spread positivity and joy throughout the coloured pencil world by following me on my socials at Bonny Snowdon Academy or by getting on my list at bonnysnowdonacademy.com, and remember, I truly believe if I can live the life of my dreams doing what I love, then you can too. We just need to keep championing and supporting each other along the way in order to make it happen. Till next time.