Follow your heart!

image of bird flying towards a heart

It is only with your heart one can see rightly, what is necessary is invisible to the eye.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Many women who become mothers prioritise their children and family life over their career – and dedicate years of their lives in doing so. This was certainly the case for me, a mother of two boys. But when children reach a certain age a woman’s priorities can change.  A shift can take place, time has moved on. At a certain point a mother can begin to take steps towards achieving the dreams and ambitions she once held dear before her children came along.


For some women that can mean concentrating on their career by taking on a job with longer hours, more seniority and/or more responsibility. For others it may mean switching to more satisfying vocational work. For me, it meant dedicating my working life to art.


The above quote, taken from the 1940s novella The Little Prince, written by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is my favourite ever ­­– and one which I try to follow as an artist. To me it says that it is only when we follow the ambitions we hold dear in our hearts that our souls will be truly happy.


My belief is that when you start following your heart, good things begin to happen.

For example, I had longed for a dog for many years but my husband wasn’t so keen.  He finally relented and soon afterwards a beautiful miniature schnauzer we named Tilly came into our lives. Because I loved Tilly and needed to be at home more, I gave up my part-time job at a local secondary school and became fully self-employed to concentrate on my clubs and painting. Because I was working from home, I saw a message about sharing an art studio and was able to answer it.


If you follow your heart, you meet like-minded people and things fall into place. I started sharing the studio of my dreams in February 2019 and now, five years on, I am the sole occupier of Studio No. 9 Oaks Park. My creative temple in the park!


Sometimes your style may change a bit as you develop your art. You may come across an artist whose work inspires you and they may have an influence on your work. But it is only when you truly listen to your heart and produce work that is from your soul that you generate truly original images and the real artist within you fully emerges.  Remember, you are unique and so is your artistic vision!


It might look like a cushy life painting pictures all day, but life as an artist is not easy. I have juggled painting with other jobs for many years, but slowly I have achieved my dream and become an artist in the community.


There are, of course, times I have concerns and say to friends that if it is not meant to be, I expect pathways to be blocked. But projects keep popping up and commissions keep coming. So much so, I know I am on the right path.

  I am not advocating throwing caution to the wind – we all have bills to pay and responsibilities. But if you are unhappy or have unfulfilled ambitions you would like to achieve, try following my tips below: 


Tips on how to achieve your dreams:

  • Listen to your heart (no-one else’s)
  • Try to get a job or a career change that takes you in the right direction.  
  • Go for a daily walk, ideally with a dog. A lot of my thoughts are generated when I go out walking. If you don’t enjoy walking, build in some daily time to give yourself space to think.
  • Progress slowly. Put aside a dedicated small amount of time each week to work towards your dream. With time, you will see successes and feel more confident to invest a little bit extra time and so on.
  • Talk to your loved ones. If they love you, they will want you to be happy and will help and support you.
  • Connect with like-minded groups. This way, you are more likely to be in the right place at the right time to see opportunities.
  • Read books on the subject. I can recommend ‘Creating the Impossible’ by Michael Neill. It is a guide to achieve your dreams in 90 days. 
  • Be prepared to work very hard
  • Be determined and brave!

Jo Sharpe is passionate about art and believes that anyone can draw. She runs regular art classes and workshops for children and adults.  Furthermore, Jo also runs art parties for children and adults. You can find out more about her parties here.