You know, it’s really hard to write the first post on a new blog.
I’ve been stalling writing this post for months now never really knowing what to say. Do I talk about me? About Greendore? What I’ll be blogging about?
I’ve done some research and noticed a lot of my own favourite bloggers tend to start at the beginning of something. Maternity leave, moving in, starting a health goal. I don’t really have any of those. I’ve procrastinated so long trying to find the perfect moment I’m actually just smack bang in the middle of everything. My youngest is a toddler. I started redecorating last year. I quit alcohol and caffeine weeks ago. Nope. There’s no beginnings here.
So instead I will try and round up a little about everything I want to explore here, who I am and what to expect. Let’s start with why I blog.
Why a blog?
I’ve had a blog of some description or another since…… wait for it………… 2004. I am not a fresh faced, optimistic newbie looking for a distraction from their job. I have been doing this for a very, very, very long time and I know exactly what I want from it.
My first blogs were all diaries. Those really traditional style blogs on Blogger with hardly any images where the author just writes whatever they want to write and nobody cares about affiliate marketing or cookies. I loved those. They had real authenticity about them.
Then I built my first website for my artwork and with that created my first successful blog showing my works in progress or giving tutorials and doing product reviews. That one became a business and I learnt how to sell my work through my blog and my shop. I was ‘discovered’ and had my artwork and articles published in magazines and I was asked to write for other blogs.
This blog, Greendore, is my latest venture. Sort of an amalgamation between the two. On the one hand it will be a lifestyle blog where I write to my hearts content and have fun with it with no pressure or expectations. And on the other hand I hope to introduce you to another side of my artwork, which is how I’m creative at home and with my family. A behind the scenes sort of thing. I wanted a place where I could explore my other interests and passions without confusing anyone.
What IS Greendore?
Greendore is the name of my house!
We’ve lived here since 2015 but if I’m completely honest, I’ve only just started to see it as a home. I hope this blog will motivate me to find more ways to feel like that about this place.
Eventually, my ‘Big Dream’, is that Greendore will become a home and lifestyle brand with a little shop selling art for the home and showcasing talented designers and their products, including my own. For now though I need to finish redecorating!
Cue time warp music.
My property developer husband purchased the property back in 2014 and it has always been seen as a project, an investment. I never chose to live here. I never fell in love with it. In fact, true story: I didn’t even see the house until we had the keys.
And this is what I first saw:
And it didn’t get any better inside.
Empty for 10 years. Falling down. Roof completely trashed. Couldn’t get a mortgage for it. Infested with bugs, dead birds and damp. And we were supposed to renovate and move in our two children by the following Easter or basically go bankrupt.
It was exhausting, stressful and financially treacherous. We risked everything. Thankfully, as a family, we had the experience and skills to transform it and by March the following year we moved in and named it Greendore. Because it has a green front door. Yep. That’s as intelligent as our humour gets.
To push us over the finish line we decorated as cost effectively, simply and quickly as we could meaning everything was a variation on white, grey or wood. To be fair it didn’t look too bad and it was a great backdrop to showcase my artwork on but by 2017 and the birth of our third child I was getting bored and stressed out. After nearly 12 years of moving from renovation to renovation and always compromising on what house I had to live in I decided it was time to leave my mark. I needed colour back in my life. So in 2018 I started redecorating from top to bottom and tried to see it as an opportunity to not only make it a more welcoming environment for my family, but to also explore a passion of mine: Art for the Home.
What’s Art for the Home?
Since 2008 I have been working as a professional artist and in 2011 I found Instagram. One day some of my work went viral and I became established as a portrait artist.
For a year or two this was great fun and then something bad happened.
My mental health imploded. A cancer scare triggered what I can only describe as a complete meltdown and I ended up in therapy to work through a lifetime of issues including some very nasty PTSD from my youth.
By 2016 I felt ready to return to work…….. but something was different. Something about what I was doing didn’t excite me anymore.
Then I got pregnant. And it was a HARD pregnancy. Sitting there for over 9 months because I was physically unable to do much else gave me a lot of time to think about that feeling and I realised that this ‘something different’ was that, much to my horror, I didn’t want to be a traditional artist anymore. No matter how I presented it to myself I didn’t want to exhibit in galleries, I didn’t want to make work that would go in galleries and I didn’t even LIKE galleries.
Yes. I’m an artist and I don’t like galleries. Don’t judge, I haven’t finished my story yet.
I very nearly quit art forever that year. In fact I closed down... deleted everything. My blog, which at this point was getting 20k page views a month... shut that down. I deleted my Instagram account of 14k followers. I burnt almost all of my work. I packed up all my materials and put them away or sold them. It was like a really ugly divorce but with myself!
My husband saw that I was struggling. And I mean STRUGGLING. But he didn’t know how to help. He thought I just needed a confidence boost. So on one particularly dark evening he asked me a question. He said ‘if we took some of our savings out, would you PLEASE go apply to do Fine Art at Goldsmiths?’ And something very odd happened.
Without a second to gather my thoughts my body took over, like it was possessed, and I said, very clearly, very firmly: ‘No, i’d retrain in Illustration, that’s what I want to do’.
I immediately recoiled. This was not okay.
Illustrators and designers always seemed to be these cool edgy types who created slick, shiny work with the latest tech, or presented really important social and political messages through their work. Then there was me with my colour pencils, 9pm bedtime and mum tum. Not only did I lack the skills and taste levels but I couldn’t even see myself as an illustrator. I didn’t fit at all!
The interesting thing was, despite my fears, for years I had been lurking on the peripheries admiring illustrative portrait artists and lusting after textile designs and clever bird illustrations in gouache. I followed lots of designers and tattoo artists without ever having a tattoo or having much design at all in my white, grey and brown house. I knew more about illustration then fine art. I could NAME more illustrators then fine artists!
The symptoms were all there. I wanted to be an illustrator.
So that week I did some research and ended up signing up to do a very popular online illustration course called Make Art That Sells and through that the flood gates opened. Fabric design, home ware, book covers, editorial illustration, wall art, t-shirt designs, stickers, stationery, colouring books. I found my passion. I wanted to make art for the home. I wanted to make art for people. Not galleries.
For several weeks my brain was humming with excitement. I felt alive! I went back online and rebooted my website and my Instagram. That’s when I found the interiors and home community online and realised there were thousands if not millions of people making beautiful creative spaces full of artwork and looking for illustrative work just like the stuff I wanted to make.
‘Could this actually WORK??’ I began to think to myself.
And so, Greendore, this website, was born. With the purpose of bringing my art to you in a way that makes sense- through my own home and my own life. I decided to lead by example and start showing others how to turn a house into a home through creativity and appreciating the wonderful world of art, whether that’s in upholstery, dress making, wall art or redecorating.
My home is the gallery I always wanted.
So that leaves one final question to be answered…
Hi. I’m Lianne.
You can tell I’m a rebellious blogger because not only do I not have a clue about what I’m doing, but I’ve written an absolute essay of an introduction AND I’ve saved introducing myself to the very end. The Google bots are going to have a heart attack and resign me to internet hell any second now I’m sure.
I am a married, 30-something mother of 3 children. The Big One (9), The Middle One (7) and The Small One (1). We’ve lived in Kent all our lives. I was raised in Maidstone and then have been moving about North Kent following my husband from project to project since then. Yes. I am exceptionally good at packing.
I consider myself a creative lifestyle and home blogger but as this is my first post, anything can happen really. I did think carefully about branding but I’m not known for my committing to one idea. You know how it goes. I get a creative whiff and off I go on a new adventure. (Even this week I’ve suddenly bought a chicken coop, incubator and won some fertile eggs in a raffle! In that order by the way- check out THAT law of attraction.) So whatever will be will be.
I’ll allow future blog posts to share a bit more about me rather then keep you any longer.
Thank you SO much for reading, you didn’t have to, this is a brand new blog and I know how fickle the internet is these days so I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read all my waffle. I hope to see you again and feel free to say hello in the comments, I am intending on giving those my full attention.
Have a great day!