MY STORY - CHAPTER 1

Hey there, thank you for taking the time to read my story.  I'm Natalie Parker and I'm an artist specializing in floral paintings and custom bridal bouquets. 

I never officially 'decided' to be an Artist, I've always been an Artist and developed my work in some capacity. I remember in Kindergarten painting rainbows at my easel and being so totally immersed in what I was doing. I was in my zone, just me and my brush and my yummy paints. I had little need or desire for friends or social interaction. Total introvert but totally working on it too ok. 

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In the small community I was raised I was known as an artist from a young age. I entered and won many of the local coloring in competitions winning things like board games, bags, and even a bike! I pursued and developed my talent right throughout my schooling and was the top of my art class. I spent a lot of time in the art room, like a lot.

After college I went to University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. After art school myself and two other graduates set up a studio and called it 'Safety Pin' Studio. Honestly I have no idea where that name came from. That experience was short lived, as we all realized the reality of a making a living wage from our art so fresh out of college was going to be challenging.

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I then did the classic art school graduate trick and took up a job in hospitality. I loved my time in hospo, I loved the hard work, the coffee, and meeting new people from behind the safety of the coffee machine! During this time I set up my first business called Enfuze where I sold loose leaf specialty teas at markets and through the cafe I worked. I was then given the opportunity at the sweet young age of 24 to become co-owner of the cafe I worked in. Totally took on the challenge, loved every minute of it and grew oh so much. There's something very unusual about going from being just one of the workmates to being the boss. But I totally handled it with grace and integrity.

Then due to change in circumstances I had to move to another town so sold my share in the cafe, pretty sad but I had no other options. In my new home town I got my first office job as a personal assistant for a Chiropractor. Again, learning new skills and being challenged everyday. I loved my PA job, I'm a natural born organizer and lover of to do lists so it was really the perfect job for me.

Then something weird happened, I got this urge to paint again. For nearly 5 years after art school and my failed I'm gonna be a full time artist gig I hadn't painted or created anything. So I secretly started drawing again, just little sketches at night after work, nothing too big and only in an attempt to feed the creative need. And can you guess what I started drawing? That's right, flowers! Magnolia's in fact. I had the most gorgeous Magnolia tree right outside my living room that sparked the creativity.

After about a year of doing my PA thing by day and being a secret Artist by night I decided that I would be an Art Teacher. I always had being a teacher in mind, but after 4 years of Art Study I had no desire to do another year of Uni to get my teaching degree. So I gave my notice at work, very sad, and moved yet again to a new town to do my teaching thing. And this is where my painting really kicked in. As I was learning the school curriculum I wanted to be as authentic teacher as possible, so I decided I would paint a Level 3 painting folio to get hands on experience of what my students do. Suffice to say it wasn't easy and my technique was pretty shabby, but from this the painting bug caught me and I was hooked. Ok, so side note, I actually majored in Sculpture in Art School, I didn't take painting because I didn't think I was good enough, even though that was the medium I loved the most. Life lesson, do what you love.

I'm in my 9th year of teaching now. During the course of my teaching career I have inspired a lot of students and many have followed me and my art practice. I've painted on the side during this whole time, most recently painting 20+ hours a week. I've had solo art shows at city galleries, developed a strong following and client base and exhibited at the top NZ Art Show.

The next step for me is to leave teaching and pursue my art full time. This story has just started! Stay tuned for chapter 2 ...........

Natalie Parker