Bonny Snowdon 01:19
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 communities 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, and let's get cracking.
I had the loveliest afternoon this afternoon. A young artist from the Northeast who is part of my academy came over for, well it was going to be a cup of tea but she doesn't drink tea, which I'll forgive her. We actually had Normandy, apple and pear, M&S, which was absolutely gorgeous and she brought a load of cakes again was absolutely gorgeous. I have to say I spend about an hour and a half in the company of somebody who at the tender age of 20 has got so much integrity, and it's so inspiring through what she's done and honestly, I was in awe talking to her. She was absolutely fantastic and the most gorgeous, gorgeous girl, honestly, absolutely gorgeous and so funny, just an absolute pleasure to chat to. So, sit back and enjoy the lovely Jessica Liz Fine Arts podcast interview. She is an absolute treasure. So, those cakes look absolutely amazing.
Jessica Liz 02:33
My goodness. I know. You've got the Ukrainian slice, carrot cake. I think that might be salt caramel flapjack. I just seen the top and I was like, that's a meal. Then brandy snaps. I know you can't go wrong. Another big reason I do that all the time and my mom would get them when I was little and she would always be like, oh, it's brandy or not you and she would like let me have a little look up inside. They used to do them like besides my finger and I saw them do it all day.
Bonny Snowdon 03:02
That is like the size of my arm.
Jessica Liz 03:03
That is necessary. I don't know. Have a slice whatever you like.
Bonny Snowdon 03:08
Oh, they're so good. Yes, I might do in a second. Where do you live?
Jessica Liz 03:15
I live in South Shields which is in the Northeast. It's just outside of New Castle. It's probably like the place where most people would know it. But I live between my mom's and my dad's house. My mom is pretty much right on the coast. Well, both live within a five-minute walk from the beach. So, we walk our dog down there all the time and we say that's got a little Border Terrier, Pixie but me and the girls from work on Adele because when she was at the breeder's, they named all the dogs after singers. So, at the breeder, she was called Adele. So, nice, isn't it?
Bonny Snowdon 03:49
Oh, my goodness. That's so nice.
Jessica Liz 03:51
Mark and Spenser know what they're doing.
Bonny Snowdon 03:51
Yeah. That's so nice.
Jessica Liz 03:51
She's so funny.
Bonny Snowdon 03:53
[inaudible]that is so good.
Jessica Liz 03:57
I think I have about 10 balls in the house. When she was in the breeder, she was called Adele and then my stepdad changed the name from Adele to Pixie Loft, but I just think Adele is so funny.
Bonny Snowdon 04:13
You live on your own?
Jessica Liz 04:16
Well, no, I don't. I live between my mom and my dad. They got divorced when I was little. So, I'm still going between that. I am finally looking to kind of branch out maybe find some way of my own. It's definitely the next kind of me and my dad always talks about steps of money-saving like goals, short-term goals, long term goals. So, short term is I'm finally going to get some driving lessons, which I'm so excited about. I've been desperate to drive. So, my dad finally said I could have a little turn in the car the other day because I didn't want to get a lesson and then not have any clue what I was doing. So, I've got a small of the bath and he let me have a little turn they taught me the very, very basics. As soon as I did, I was like, yeah, I definitely want to do it. So, when I come back from Disney, because I'll go to Disney next week, and so I'm going to get some lessons?
Bonny Snowdon 05:08
Paris or America?
Jessica Liz 05:09
America. I know. I went to Paris when I was 10 with my dad and me, my mom, my stepdad and my sister will go to America next week. I can't wait. I literally can't wait. The excitement is too much.
Bonny Snowdon 05:22
Are you a big ride person?
Jessica Liz 05:25
I do like rides. Yeah, I didn't when I was younger.
Bonny Snowdon 05:25
At what stage. You're only 20 now.
Jessica Liz 05:32
Oh, yeah. No, like it was. But yeah, from about a while I did a really when I went to you or Disney with my dad. We did Space Mountain Mission and he'd been to America before and he was saying it's not going to be scared of being in America. I can't be as scary as that and I was only just told to ride it. So, I was a bit nervous. He's was like, come on, do it and I was like, my dad as long as he promises not as bad as America, we went on. He is a photographer and he had his camera with him. The guy was like, you can just hang on to it. But like carry it in between he legs. She was like it's definitely not going to be bad like if he can keep a hold of his camera. My dad came off. It goes upside down firstly, so he was holding his camera in between his like angle is upside down. He came off, he had cuts down his legs. We were both crying. My stepmom, my little sister didn't go on. So, when we went out with my dad, it was worse than America. It was so bad. I think that was kind of the turning point where I was like, I hate it. But I loved it. What is this thrill? Now it takes me forever. I get on the first one, I'll be like, oh, I God, I can't do it. I can't do it. But as soon as I've done one ride, I'm like I'm invincible. That's one everything.
Bonny Snowdon 06:53
The teacups are kind of mine. The last kind of fairground ride I went on was something like the Waltzer and honestly, I did my neck and that was it.
Jessica Liz 07:08
To be fair, I don't do spinning and if it spins, it's a pass and have you seen the Hollywood Tower of Terror?
Bonny Snowdon 07:15
Jessica Liz 07:16
So that's one in Disney, that's in both your Disney and America. Literally so it's designed like a hotel. It looks a hotel from the outside. You go in at the bottom, you all sit in a lift, it takes you all the way to the top and it just drops you back down. Everyone is obsessed with the ride and I'm literally like what are you doing? Nobody ever goes on that in your life. But it's so popular. My mom and my sister can't wait to get on it and I'm like, there's no chance. I'm gone on that one.
Bonny Snowdon 07:41
I think I'll pass out.
Jessica Liz 07:42
Yeah, 100%. If it drops like dropping or spinning, I can't do but like your local stairs, they're quite like.
Bonny Snowdon 07:52
I'm a bit of, remember in Ripon?
Jessica Liz 07:55
Bonny Snowdon 07:55
Tiny little city. When I was about 10, they had a fairground, and they had a big wheel. You can imagine how big this big wheel was, wasn't very big at all and I had to stop it and get me off.
Jessica Liz 08:06
I know it.
Bonny Snowdon 08:12
Oh god, I can't. I just can't.
Jessica Liz 08:14
Really, not at all? To be honest, Disney for me, I think it's more the carry does the experiences. I like a ride, I do but that's not where I'm going. When I meet Mickey Mouse. Bonny, I thought I was excited to meet you and honestly when I meet Mickey Mouse, I will 100% cry. So, my mum goes at it. So, my dad took, what year was it? Like when we were 10. Then every single birthday and Christmas after that, I was like I want to go to Florida, that's all I ever asked for. So, Christmas 2019, the Christmas before COVID, my mum was in my bedroom on Christmas asking, so what do you think your dad got you for Christmas? Then I was like, I don't know, mom, but it's not going to be what I truly want. She was like, when was that? I was like, it's Disney World. But I come to the conclusion, I've just going to have to save up and go myself when I'm an adult. It's not going to happen and she went, all right, night, see you in the morning and left and I swear I didn't have any England because my mom was terrible at secrets. I thought she wouldn't have been able to keep it and I had fully come to the conclusion it wasn't happening and then we got the next day and I'm not going to lie. It was a rather small pile and I'm not the kind of person to be like, it's not many as many Christmas presents as like, what my mum does usually go all out and there was maybe only five and I was like, maybe it was a bit harder for this year, I was bringing back our best or turning the lights off and then we'll open them and she looked at the sit back and went, I think we've got one more present will have forgot about it and I was like, what is it? So then they brought a big box and it was wrapped and made me so sad, I pulled it off and Disney balloons came flying out and even when I see the Mickey Mouse balloon, I was like, I'm not letting myself believe that this is what it is because I didn't want to get my hopes up and then if we're not going to do that, and what I'll have to show you the video actually, I've got a video blog in the schools and it was saying we're going to Disneyworld in Orlando. Bonny, I was a mess. It was so funny. I was shaking, like physically bawling. Like, I can't believe it and that was three years ago now. We were supposed to go that July. So, this is the third time it's been moved.
Bonny Snowdon 10:43
So outside has just been growing
Jessica Liz 10:45
Growing and growing. Then I think I've also kind of like pushed it because I've been like, I don't believe it and I think all four will like we're not going to truly get excited until we're on the plane in the sky. Because you just don't know what can happen. But oh my god, it's so close now. I've got two sets of ears and then so will land at half-past four on the Friday and then like half-past four the evening. So, we're not going to go to a park, but we're going to go straight in the shop and just by years every day. I can't wait. I literally can't wait.
Bonny Snowdon 11:16
That sounds brilliant.
Jessica Liz 11:16
And exciting. So, Facebook just going to be filled with posts of me while in US.
Bonny Snowdon 11:23
That's brilliant. How lovely then that you're getting to go. I love that. I do that with my when they were little taking photos when they've got something like really excited and they pop up on Facebook every now and again. It's like, oh, look how cute they were, getting excited about her. My youngest son getting a tractor. I remember, we got tickets for One Direction for my daughter and she was in floods of tears.
Jessica Liz 11:56
Yeah, definitely I'll cry.
Bonny Snowdon 11:57
Oh, God, we're all criers, but all of. Bless you. Well, I mean we're just sort of chatting about everything. I'm loving it. I really want to know about your art and I guess all of the incredible things that have been happening just recently. And just sort of telling me a little bit about how you got into doing the art? I know you had a few people, one person in particular, who told you shouldn't be doing it in and you couldn't be sort of successful and everything and I think really, really good to talk about those sorts of things, because it shows for the people or the young people that actually, you can do whatever you want to do.
Jessica Liz 12:44
You don't need to listen to those people who, if you believe in something yourself, and you've got the motivation to go there without the help of whoever it is, that's telling you no, you should do it because you can make it shows start from the beginning.
Bonny Snowdon 12:59
Yes, go for it.
Jessica Liz 13:02
Well, so I've always done drawing like bit legs since I was a kid. Since I was tiny as a kid. That was two years ago, since I was tiny and I would draw like birthday cards, Christmas cards, every card that was handmade and then it wasn't really until in secondary school like the art lesson that I kind of thought maybe this is something that I am quite good at. I did enjoy it and my art teacher in in comprehensive school was lovely. She was called Mrs. Danbury and oh my goodness, she was amazing. So, encouraging of whatever you want to try, whatever ideas you had and her words was so, so powerful. She always had the perfect way of critiquing, but giving you so much motivation and praise where it was deserved. So, I took it like a GCSE and I did like human portrait, because I started in year 10 when you start your main bulk of portfolio work. You kind of have to pick a theme and so I thought I think that was time or inside out. It might have been something like that and I thought I will do my grandpa. My grandpa's face was amazing. So, wrinkly had like loads of blood marks on his face and on his hands and skin. Used to work down the mine. So, like all his knuckles were dead gnarly and it's funny because a normal person wouldn't say that. But when I looked at my grandpa was like, you're unreal. Like, I need to draw that. So, I thought I'm going to do that and like he used to work down the mine. So, you had a really interesting history which can be incorporated in art in so many different ways. I thought I'm going to do him and I took some photos of him. This is a sad story, trigger warning and so I thought I'm going to do him. So, I started in it and the week before one of the half terms, took photographs and then I did a full portfolio of photographs and I didn't know how much that time would mean me taking those photographs, because over the half term he passed away. So, I had those several hours documented and everything about him. So, I'll never forget what you looked like, because I did all those photographs and I went back to school, and then we had a different teacher at that time and I love these books but can you get some more? Can you just get some more? I was like, oh, well, no, and I think she thought I was been a bit cheeky saying I don't want to and I burst into tears and I said he died. But it gives so much motivation to put some more in and that was that kind of cemented that. That was something I was really passionate about and it kind of showed me how you can create something that means so much. It's a piece of paper, but it can mean the world to somebody and that is what drew me in to it. So, I finished that as a piece and I continued it for the full two years, I didn't want to stop just because he'd gone. He'd wouldn't have wanted that. I did it and I completed it and I was so proud and I've gotten into an exhibition actually, in South Shields where I live and I was so pleased with that. So, then I took that. So, I did sixth form. My dad told me not to do sixth form, he told me to go to college and do art, that's what I would want to do. I said no dad, I'm a big girl, I can make my own decisions. I'm going to go to sixth form and do performing arts and art alongside each other. That failed miserably. It was the school's fault. They said I could do both, they hadn't realized both lessons overlapped. So, I was then doing performing arts and teaching myself art free periods. I basically didn't have an art teacher and I think I stuck out for about eight months and I said no more like, it turns out actually, I really want to do this art thing and want to do it full time. So, I went to Newcastle college, and I did it fine art extended diploma there and we did a lot of stuff. I enjoyed, I suppose things like abstract textiles, fashion, you kind of do a bit of everything and I did enjoy doing it. But it wasn't the art I enjoy to make and I always tried to fit in some realism where I could, that was what I loved to be able to see where you're aiming and if you've got their and if you've done it perfectly kind of thing and so I always put that in wherever I could and that unfortunately is where I had this lecturer who told me time and time again step away from portraiture, step away from realism, step away from it. I did try but I always came back to it because that's what I knew I was doing well and even though he was saying don't do it, that why he was giving me the higher marks. So, because he knew he could not get down because it was the best I could produce. So, I kept on doing it anyway, then it came to whether or not to take a degree. Now when we're talking about university in sixth form, I knew it wasn't for me and I did think about it. But I thought, I don't think I'm ready to move away and at this point, I thought I was going to textiles because he pushed realism so far out of my head, and had buried it so far down thinking it was absolutely not the path to go on, thought I was do textiles at university. So, I would have to move away to get a good course. I didn't want to do that. So, my dad was kind of, maybe she should get a degree, but I totally understand if you don't because with him being an art director, he tends to do interviews for his job and he judges whether they get that job from their portfolio, not from what they've got whether a degree or whatever. But my mom, her dad was very much, you're going to do a degree and me and Nana had a degree, my granddad had a degree, she had a degree, her sister had a degree, that was what you do and she really wanted me to do it. So, when I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to do a degree, it kind of took a little while to get everyone on board with that idea. But my mum did come around eventually and she's always from when I was a kid being very much, whatever is going to make you happy that we'll do if I wanted to go off and do Performing Arts, which is where I originally thought I was going to end up, we'll go to London, we'll do it. So, I knew which is why I kind of thought if I do take the jump and say no she'll get there eventually. So, I was discussing with my lecturer degrees and obviously there was a point where we all sat as a class and he went round and named everybody who was to do a degree, whether that was your choice or not and I was on that list, and I'm not going to lie, Bonny. I'm not backwards and coming forwards and I'm not wanting to keep my mouth shut. So, I paid straight up and I was like, who you were, tell us if I'm going to do a degree? I was like, we've already discussed that. I probably won't and he was like, don't be silly. You're doing a degree, and you're going to do textiles and I was like, all right. So, I said, look, come have a discussion at the end of the day, because I thought, it's a bit rude bringing it up in front of everybody. But I was like, I'm not really having him telling me what I'm going to do when I know that's not what I'm going to do, because it's not what I enjoy. So, we're sat and chatting and this was basically an income accumulation. So, it would have two years of him saying, don't do realism, you can't do realism. It's boring. It's rubbish. No one likes it. It's so boring. It's not real art, for two years. We sat down and said, Billy, I'm not doing a degree, and he was like, well, I think that's silly. What are you going to do? I said, well, I think I could make my own pet portraiture, business and in doing realism, because I have done at this point for final exam, he'd see the rules or do whatever you want. So, I had done realism, it hadn't gone down well, but it got me a triple distinction, double star in the end. So, it is what it is. I did it because I knew it would get me there. So, I was already in his bad books and he basically said to me, no, you don't want to be doing that. Basically, he told me, well, I don't support that. It's a terrible idea. It's boring. Nobody would pay you money for that. He even got another lecturer to come in. So, before this, this lecturer had seen my work. My lecture said to the other one, Jessica doesn't want to do a degree, she wants to do realism as a business. Oh, no, no, don't do that. So, boring. It's so boring. It's not real art. It's not real art. So, I just said, just hang on one second and I don't know if you've seen I did a bear years ago now and I had this it was Biggie three. It wasn't even finished. I flipped over and I said just have a look at that and he actually swore he was like, I won't say it but he swore like he was so gobsmacked and he was like, wow and then looked at my lecture and look back at me and I could see in his head, he didn't really want to agree with what my lecturer was telling me. So, he kind of, I mean, you are really, really good. But yeah, Billy's right. It won't sell, it won't sell and I think it took me a long time, as I knew I wasn't going to do a degree. So, degree was all about whether he thought I shouldn't do my business or not. So, it took me a long time to kind of regain the knowledge that is something that people want and I think if you've got it inside you to push past everyone's barriers and everything that's in front of you, there's no way you can't make it. Because it's always down to you. My dad always says if you work hard, and if there's only you who can get you there, there's nothing that can stop you if you can make it. So, that's what I'm doing Bonny. I'm working as hard as I possibly can. So, it never really intended to be in coloured pencil. But in the very first lockdown, I got so bored and college really struggled to send out like work and things like that. So, my dad like I said he's a photographer, and he was doing some wildlife photography and he had some of my fox and I was bothering him during work in that because he was working from home and he said, look, you say that's worse than colouring pencils upstairs. I've sent you a photo with the iPad, draw it up, do it in coloured pencil and I said don't be daft dad. I've never used coloured pencils in my life That's not possible. I've never drawn fox; I've never drawn an animal. I've never used coloured pencils, complained to no end basically and my dad is so funny. My dad said you know you're not in trouble, but he was like, go upstairs and colour that Fox in now. I was like, okay and he was like, just see what happens and it was the third time in a long time that had kind of put all thoughts. I'm very much an overthinker, every time pencil hits paper, I'm thinking all the time and it was the first time in a long time, I didn't think at all and I just drew what I saw because I thought I've never done before, if it's terrible, it's terrible if it's okay, that's a massive bonus. So, I think I did it in two days, three days. Because obviously, there was nothing else to do. So, I was just doing it all the time and that drawing, my dad, I love him to bit. He is really, really supportive. My mom is so supportive in a different way. She always says to me, oh, that's amazing. That's brilliant. As my dad, he never says it because of his job, I think he finds it hard to think, you can stop there. That's really good. He always has given you more feedback and I did that drawing and my dad said, actually pretty good kid and I was like, I've made it, I've done it, this is what I'm doing and then so I did another one. So, that was the first ever coloured pencil drawing, I did and that is one to always remember I've got it up massive. It's like A1 printed in the room, I got it framed, and I'll give you a card with it. It's that one that's on the tag.
Bonny Snowdon 26:14
It is absolutely fantastic.
Jessica Liz 26:05
I'll see if I've got one because when I was writing the of the card, I was thinking this is the first drawing I ever did and I mean, I very rarely say I like my own stuff. But the stuff that I'm creating now is just completely so utterly on a different level. It's ridiculous how much have come in less than a year. Because, well, it's probably nearly two years since I actually drew the fox. But a year, less than a year since I set up my business. So, was a Labrador I just drew before I went away a few months ago and I just think that the difference and even that I was in Africa, the difference is something that I'm so proud of and apart from me singing, I love singing and I love dancing. I've always been proud of that. But apart from that, I've never really felt pride in myself before doing that fox, before then continuing on and looking back at how much I've moved forward. But yeah, some of them still come hard. I mean, none of them come easy and I think I was over on but that I tell you this, but I think it's important to be honest about art and about business and everything and I'm not going to lie, it's not something I love to do. I love the outcome and I love how it can make people feel, and I enjoy doing it. But it's not my greatest love of all. Personally, I think there's a difference between love and enjoyment and passion. It's something I'm definitely passionate about, like no other. But it doesn't give me the freeing feeling that singing does. But that's why I like doing it as a business. Because I don't think I'll ever be worried that doing it so much would ever take the love away. Because it's already something that I see that's what I'm good at doing. I do enjoy doing it but it's not my love. So, I don't have to worry about losing the love for it and I've always got like my singing and things to come back to and as I was saying, I've got the perfect balance because I can draw and I'm enjoying drawing. But I love singing, but I can't sing all the time whilst I'm drawing, much to the neighbour’s pleasure, I'm sure.
Bonny Snowdon 28:45
I get that though. I do get that and I think it sounds like you've got quite a good business head you've made a decision to do this as a business. Whereas quite a lot of people, me included you kind of fall in love with drawing, and then it's like, oh, I can make a business from this. I guess I have that business acumen beforehand, because I've kind of been a senior managing, studio manager and everything and coaching, what have you. So, actually, all of that, all of the experience that I had from them, and many, many years of kind of working in corporate, then I guess sort of sandwiched together quite nicely with the art and then I've got a passion for both of them. So, that for me works really, really well. Although at the moment as my business is growing, oh my God, it is so scary. I can't tell you how scary it was. So, I'm now kind of going from the freedom of doing art to creating something that's really heavily structured and the structure and the processes are around all of the backend stuff, not the drawing and it stresses me out. Because every time I look at figures, my mind just go.
Jessica Liz 30:05
I am with you Bonny.
Bonny Snowdon 30:07
How can you run a business if you don't know, you know what your figures are? Yeah. So, I've had a webinar this morning at eight o'clock, about a new system that we're hoping to take on for workflows. I'm sitting here thinking, I'm going to take care of workflows now. I'm an artist running a business and I'm now having to get all of these workflows and it's just like, oh, my God, it's brilliant. But it's becoming much more of a business, definitely a business rather than, I think a lot of people do it as a hobby and then they can be on [inaudible]. What I'm doing is definitely driven as a business and it sounds like you're doing the same thing or seeing it as a way to make a living.
Jessica Liz 30:55
Yeah, that's definitely.
Bonny Snowdon 30:57
Jessica Liz 30:58
That's definitely my long-term plan. Well, my end goal is to have like, a luxury, maybe pet portrait business. I don't know if that could branch, but a luxury drawn brand, almost. Because I think I've got such a massive imagination sometimes and a lot of people like, even my grandma, my family do laugh and I think but it is possible, like these ideas. So, you kind of think like, designer clothes, you've got brands, you've got labels, you've got cars that are known to be more expensive. You've got Marks and Spencer, it's known to be an expensive top high quality supermarket. Why can't that be the way for art as well?
Jessica Liz 31:46
Why can't Bonny Snowdon Academy just well as fine art be a household art name, brand label? That's where I'm headed. My name is going to be in Monaco, in America, it's going to be everywhere.
Bonny Snowdon 32:05
Jessica Liz 32:06
I know that sounds crazy. But I think you've got to think like that to make it happen.
Bonny Snowdon 32:12
Yeah, it doesn't sound crazy all. I think it's really, really important to have that even if it's like an enormous goal, you've got that goal, you've got the vision and now it's about all of those little steps in between that you can just cross off as you go along them. But that vision is always there, sort of staring back at you and that's in the back of your mind.
Jessica Liz 32:36
100% and it's so motivational. Because I do suffer terribly from mental health and I'm having a day where I'm like, I'm not even picking up a pencil and like, you will, if you want to go up Monaco. If you want to get there, you'll have to pick up a pencil. But that's my goal, like a luxury I think I've been very fortunate grown up in that, I've never really wanted for anything, I've never gone without, I went to dance lessons for a lot of years, I had singing lessons, I want to, I'd like to say brilliant schools, I went to schools that are known to be brilliant. What you get out of it, is what you get out of it. But I was very fortunate growing up and I want to be able to continue that life and provide it for my children, but also back to the family that gave me it who helped me get to where I am now and who always got me everything I was after and I mean, that makes me sound really spoiled. I wasn't, because my dad my mom as well taught me really well to understand the meaning of money and how important it is and how it works and how grateful you should be for things that you can get from a young age. If you want to pocket money, you did, the washing up, you did, the dishwasher. So, I then learned really quickly how good it feels to work hard to earn your own money, and then get the things that you really want and I think that's something that a lot of children unfortunately now don't understand. It's something that I like to teach in [inaudible] when kids come in the shop, if they've got their pocket money, they've saved hardly in their own pocket money, you get a bath bomb, we do a thing called Random Acts of Kindness where you can you can give a free bath bomb and if they've brought their own pocket money, I always give them an extra bath bomb and say well done and congratulate them on how well they've spent their money and how well they've saved. I think it's something that's really important and think I am quite young to understand all of that and to be where I am and I think that is completely because from a young age I had quite a good understanding of money and how important but difficult it was because we have definitely gone through some tough times. But when you know how to spend money and when you know where it's coming from and how hard people have worked it to earn it, everything you get is appreciated greatly and I think that's something else that I think people when they purchase art, that's how they feel. So, a lot of people think all art, it's something that rich people buy, or all the time, I couldn't spend that much money on a drawing or whatever and I think that's partly why I like the feeling so much, because I know how much people will appreciate it when they get but yeah, I'm gone back, I've gone home.
Bonny Snowdon 35:43
Well, I mean, talking about going big or going home you're amazing. The video just recently on your social media and actually, you revealed it in my art club, which was honestly, I had so many messages that came. Oh, my goodness, what a lovely girl, how amazing and I was just like, just isn't it brilliant, because I remember was it last year, I think we had like a confidence session and you contributed and you did get quite emotional about different bits and pieces and you like to do if you're passionate about something and you want to do something, if something's either not working, or you're working towards something, and may be is happening. I believe we'd have that session. And I always sort of think about you and that session and then of course you kind of revealed what you were doing in the art club and I was just like, oh my goodness, this is just the best, it was just brilliant. So, talk to me about how it came about, what it was and kind of what that means to you.
Jessica Liz 36:57
Yeah, so in South Shields, there's a theatre called the Customs House. Now the main man at the Customer's House is called Ray Spencer and he's always been a family friend and like I said, in my coffee morning, my mom is from the theatre and my dad is from the theatre. My full family is theatrical. We've always been in and out of the theatre on stage. So, we're very good friends with Ray and everybody in the theatre and most theatres in South Shields, as is everybody else who does singing or dancing in South Shields and he sent my mom a message to say that he was interested in drawing and I was like, oh, yeah, brilliant. Because I normally have got a dog as well. So, I was like, oh, good, must want and we should do it and it kind of gives me the impression it was a human and I was like, all right, and it's been a while since I've done a human, but all right. We'll see what happens. So, I sent him a message and said, hey, Ray, my mum said you've been in touch. What can I help you with? The next thing I know he's ringing me and saying, now Jessica, this is all very confidential. You can't tell anybody. It's all on the download. Nobody knows. I was like, right, it's like you want commission and I was like, brilliant and he was like, it's to draw a human. Would that be all right? And I was like, well, yeah, depends who it is and he was like, so Hillary Clinton's coming to South Shields, and will want you to draw, and I swear, I think I laughed and went, good one. Because I was like, what's she coming here for? He went, no, no, I want you to draw a portrait of her when she comes. She was coming to do a lecture with David Miliband. This is South Shields lecture every year and she's coming to be the guest speaker this year. She's going to probably the Customs House and she's going to see this exhibition and we want her to feel comfortable and see a drawing of herself. So, I said, okay, and we discussed. Well, first of all, I said, okay, I'll have to think and I'll get back to you, because I don't make any decisions without help. So, I ended the call. I ran downstairs to my stepmom, Helen and she was like, what is it? What is it? I was like, Helen, Helen, I don't know if I can tell you. I don't know if I can tell you. But I'll just tell you and I was like, you can't tell anybody but Hillary Clinton is coming and Ray wants me to draw a portrait of her and she was like, wow, like me and Helen, were freaking out in the kitchen, there was nobody. So, she was like, we'll ask my dad and see what he thinks. Because I'm very, very lucky in that everybody in my family helps me in some way with my business. I could not do it on my own. With my mental health, I have what I like to call a full brain and there's nothing else going in there and people tell me things and I go yeah, no worries and less than 30 seconds later, it's completely gone. So, money things keeping up to date with everybody on social media, messaging people back, emailing people, if I didn't have Helen and my dad and my mom, and even my grandma sometimes remind me, I would not be where I am today. But I am getting much better at organizing it. But she was like, right when we speak my dad and see what he thinks, because it was a very short deadline, four weeks or something five weeks, and it would put other people's commission's back, and it was going to be something that I couldn't message somebody and say, I can't do a commission right now because it was completely 100% confidential. So, I went to my dad and said, dad isn't this amazing news? He was like, well, you know we really need to think about this and we really need to think about that and I don't really know whether you should do that and how do you feel with your mental health? Are you going to be okay? Because he was in work, he was in work mode, and bless him. I hung up and I was like, that was good and a bit rigid and I can't believe he was not happy for me and bless him, he must have realized he'd gone into work normally, sent me a message saying I'm so sorry, kid. I'm so proud. That's amazing. Let's talk about when I get home. Anyway, we decided I was going to do it. Because I thought swift like short haired dogs, I can smash through really quick, long-haired dogs, hard pass. But if it's short hair, I can do it really quick. So, I think I'll explore something with short haired. So, it was something that I was going to be able to get back from quite quickly and I thought, it's something I couldn't see in all day. So, we'll discuss pricing things and that was something that was really difficult, because I never asked for that kind of money before and it was going to be on a scale like A2 that I've never drawn before. It was going to be needed to be like the best frame like it's needed special art class and my dad was saying, well, if you think about like how much you would do for any three portraits of a dog, how long it would take, because I had taken some time off lush as well and etc. So, I will kind of settled on about 550 and even then, I was like, it's far too much. I can't ask for that much money. But there was also a tiny part of me in the back that was like, this is going to take me a month, I should be asking for more. But I just felt I couldn't and I thought based on me a massive favour by asking me to do this and the publicity that comes from that is going to be worth more than anything. So, we'll settled on 550 and I was I sent him a message and I remember all driving back from Tin Valley, which is the shopping centre, and then I had sent the message and I said dad, what if he says no, what if he says no? I have blown my chance and then you just text back through it, we see. Brilliant get quiet and get on and I was like, should I ask for ask for more? So, it was [inaudible] and it will start it and then went on a massive roller coaster of what it was and it changed from being that it was going to be an exhibition that she was going to look at, then a flight got cancelled. So, she wasn't going to make it to the Customs House. She was just going straight to the lecture. So, then it was going to be put at the lecture for her to look at and then leave, then it was going to be a gift for her than it wasn't a gift for her and then eventually on the day of meeting her, it landed that she was going to take it home, it was a gift for her. Now when doing it, I kind of went back to the mode of when I was doing my grandpa and thinking about something that you probably wouldn't have had before. Because I'm sure it's something that she'll been presented hundreds of and I wanted to give us something that didn't show her in light of politics or media or the way she's portrayed mainly in the world. But something that was more personal to her with it been a gift. It ended up working really well. Because it didn't speak anything about what's going on in America at the minute, what's going on here at the minute. It didn't speak anything about where she's been in the past or what you might do in the future. It spoke completely about who she is in herself, who she is as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, completely, utterly herself with no other connotations around and then I had a big blank space in front of her because I wanted it to kind of portray that in her future to her choice if she wanted to leave politics, leave it whole behind, that's what she can do. If she wants to continue being a grandma, that's what you can do and I want to leave it empty because I wanted that to kind of see without everything else, the future is her for whatever she wants to do, it's the same for everybody. Whatever you want your future hold, whether it be what you've been doing for your entire life, whether it be something completely different, whether it be a bit of both, it's yours to do with whatever you want, no matter who you are what you've done. So, yeah, then I got to meet her and it was amazing. It was so, so, so complicated, because from day dot, I said I was on holiday, when it looked as if she was going to be coming and it had been booked for ages, my dad and Helen and I were going to go and do the North Coast 500 in a motorhome and I was so excited, would like plot each day, every activity we're going to do each day and then everything just came and dropped myself in on day 10 of a 14 day trip and I was like, dad, what am I going to do and it wasn't literally until two days before we left that I finally decided I really want to go because I was kind of thinking I'm all right with that just being given it by somebody else. Do I really want it because it hadn't been on a holiday and so long? But I was like, no, I can't not be there and present this what I've done myself to add myself. So, my mum, saving grace. So, she came on the Friday and the morning of the Friday I was literally at the bridge of the [inaudible]. On Thursday evening, my mom drove up all the way to Inverness with my little sister and stayed overnight and then my dad drove me in the motorhome from the [inaudible] to Inverness dropped me and then he went back [inaudible] to continue on and my mom brought me all the way back to Inverness in a day. We didn't stop at all and then on the way home, Ray texted me saying, so it's going to be a gift for her and we need to have some sort of reveal. Have you got a piece of material? Now, two weeks prior before I'd went on holiday, I texted Ray saying, I don't know if you think it's going to be a reveal or whatever, do you want to get something for a reveal? He was like, no, it's fine as it is and then when I was halfway on the mortar way from Inverness, he texted and said we are doing a reveal. So, we all went into full panic mode, but it got sorted and I found the perfect piece of grey cloth to go over it and then when we got there, so I had bought a pink power suit, obviously and then when we got to the school where the lecture was held, it is massive. I was carrying it and then something came over me and I was like, I've made it. I'm here, make sure everyone knows and I was just walking around going, does anybody know where they want the artist? Does anybody know where they want the artist guys? I'm the artist down here. They literally were like, what, you're an artist? I was a mess and I have sung and danced and performed in front of thousands of people on stage and my mum was like, why are you so nervous? You've been on stage before and I was like, mum, I'd literally rather go on stage solo at Glastonbury. Like, I'd be less nervous for that than I am to meet this one lady and I've always said it's so much easier with like, loads of people than it is like one on one. But I think it was more excitement than anything else rather than nerves. But I was already freaking out because she has like a full staff team with her at all times and they're like huge, massive tall security guards who all talk in their wrists like you see on the movies. It was so cool. Like so basically, they followed us around everywhere walked and me, my mum had like a guy. The mayor and the Lady Maris had like a guy and they just falling around. So, my mom and I and the mayor and Lady Maris all should enter one room and with Ray as well and there was like a security guard, bodyguard guy stood outside and every time we made a movement and he would like speak into his wrist and we were like what's going on? But it just made the experience so much cooler because it was literally like a film. Anyway, so I was already freaking out with it just being me, the mayor and the Lady Maris who had never met anyway and my mum was like it's just the mayor, don't panic and I was like, yeah, I know, but just still they're more important than me. I was like it's still really cool. So, we'll just have but they were both lovely. But I was certainly like, so ladies, you're nervous? They were like yeah. They were lovely. It was dead funny and like had a really good chat and kind of settled each other. Anyway, then they went out and there was several other people and the police constable and everyone was going to meet her as well and there were several other people who've got to go on and they saved me at last and I was like, wow. This full time she stood there talking to all these people and there's just this easel with a big thing on and [inaudible]. She must have been thinking desperately not want to know what's kind of feedback. Anyway, so then, like the security guard came, I was like, you're up and I was like, okay. So, went out and then reintroduced me and I shook her hand. And, as soon as I started speaking to her, she put us at ease so quickly, she was so lovely and I said, everybody, no matter what she's done politically that people disagree with all people have got, everybody's got their own opinions on that and I don't really follow politics, I'm not up to date with it. I don't follow it really. But no matter what is going on there in our past, or what she does in politics, when she spoke to me, she was lovely and I could fault her. She was really truly interested and how I'd create my business. What I had created this drawing with? What pencils had I used? How did I do it? How long did it take me? Do I have a business? What else do I draw? She even took a business card and she literally turned all that stuff as soon as I unveiled it and she was like, I'm going to butcher the American accent right now, oh, my goodness, can somebody please get this home safely on the plane? I'm so worried about getting home safe and I was like, oh, God. She actually really wants to take it home. That was kind of the moment where I was like, wow, she actually does like it. You wouldn't just say that. You would just go thank you if you didn't have to. I was like, wow and then there was a moment where it was me, my mom, and Hillary and staff kind of like come and run because she'd been blocked by I think it might have been Ray having a conversation with Gib Miliband and her staff were like, you see them edging where they were and she just lifted her hand and kind of looked as if to be like, all right, I'm having a conversation and was closed out then like you are with me now and we just had the chat for five minutes and I was like, it was surreal. It was incredible. I was just thinking when you're out of the room, I just wanted to say, this is a little bit deep. But I just thought it was necessary to say for people who listened because I know, well, like being in the community being on like, the Zooms and there were a lot of people who struggle with confidence and I just wanted to say that I sound really confident and like I've got a plan and I know what I'm doing. I want to say, for the record, that is not the truth. I think I might just be a really good actress. Because most days, and I'm getting better now. But most days, I'm really poorly with depression and anxiety and I don't want people who listen to me now to think that they can't get where I've got or do the things that we've done. Because they have those thoughts as well. Because those are things I struggle with every single day, every single day and there was a time when I was smashing out commissions before Christmas and I probably didn't sleep for months and there's a footwear I took that we all take make up work outfit now because you've got a laugh, otherwise you'll cry and I was appalled and my final commission finished before Christmas, and I was smiling and it was the fakest thing I've ever seen in my life and the bags under my eyes were horrific. But I know that so weird to mention. But I just thought it was important to mention, because I know that if I had somebody who sounded quite as confident as I probably do that I would think, wow, she's got it together.
Jessica Liz 53:42
But I don't. But I think it's important for people to know that it is possible even on the days while lying on your bed and you're thinking I'm rubbish at this, I'm terrible at this, I'm not going to get where I wanted to be, I shouldn't even get out of bed, even if you're having those thoughts, you can do it and it's even to myself, it sounds daft saying now because I could say that let me solve on one of those days and I wouldn't believe it. But now I am where I am meeting the Beyonce of colour pencils.
Bonny Snowdon 54:20
I'm not sure about that.
Jessica Liz 54:23
It is easy to say that it is possible. You can get up one morning, you can push through those things that are the thoughts are telling you can't and you can fake it till you make it.
Bonny Snowdon 54:40
Actually, if I hadn't kind of talked to you before if I hadn't sort of had you on some of those zoom calls, you do come across as confident, you come across as you know what you want, you know what you're doing, and I don't think that's fake. I think you've come across as really quite authentic today. But there's all sorts of different facets to everybody. There are days where you're really happy. There are days where you really grumpy. Yesterday I had a particularly rubbish day and that was just things that happened that got on top of me because I was so tired and it's then I think that you can start to think why do I bother, blah, blah, blah? It was castic everywhere.
Jessica Liz 55:26
There is that one. The balls [inaudible]
Bonny Snowdon 55:28
I'm not telling you. Honestly, I've made this most beautiful tea on a Tuesday at Riverford. All my lovely veggies and salads and stuff. Make the most gorgeous salad and I've got fresh basil. Really lovely salad. I'm sitting here and I've got my salad here and I'm eating my salad. I heard the cat who was on the chair next to me going, like cats. So, I stood up whipped the chair out, so she wouldn't be sick all over the chair. I'm so sorry. As she was throwing up, I pulled the chair out. The sick literally went everywhere. It went into my salad. It went in my hair. It went all over my coat. I was just standing there thinking, and then I've shouted an awful lot and I've got like a really horse. So, you can have those days and it's whether you allow it to drag you down or whether you [inaudible], I totally get that. But you do come across as quite together and you know exactly what you want and I think that's part of who you are when it comes across the way. There's an element of faking it till you make it. But I don't think there's anything fake about you. I think you've really got an idea of what you want, which I think is just amazing. I think it's brilliant.
Jessica Liz 56:54
Bonny Snowdon 56:54
So, my camera's about to die. But we've been chatting for quite a long time. So, I just think it's been absolutely wonderful talking to you. I think you were fascinating. Honestly, you're just such a lovely, lovely person.
Jessica Liz 57:09
Bonny Snowdon 57:10
It's just so nice to chat to someone, you've got energy and it's kind of just oozing out of you and you bought me Normandy apple and pears.
Jessica Liz 58:07
It was so good.
Bonny Snowdon 58:08
So, I'm going to shut this off and we'll have a cake.
Jessica Liz 58:12
Brilliant. Thank you so much for having us, Bonny. I can't believe I'm here.
Bonny Snowdon 58:23
Bless you. 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