My name is Petra Richards. I live in the Oxfordshire countryside with my husband, our two boys, and our black lab, Rocco. I am originally from the Czech Republic but moved to the UK in 2007.
I have been a professional artist since 2011. As a child, I spent all of my free time drawing. I was fascinated by people’s faces, particularly their eyes. My heart was set on art, and, in fact, anything creative as I grew up. Being born into communism has undoubtedly had an impact upon my choice of career. Going down the creative route, especially the artistic one, was not deemed a worthy career choice. Instead, I went down the more accepted route of studying Law and Finance.
However, the creative streak remained within me. After my graduation, when I moved to the UK, I met a wonderful Slovakian portrait artist who saw my drawings. He helped me to understand the basics of portraiture drawing, which inspired me to pursue a career as an artist.
The drawing on the left is the first portrait drawing I ever did. Her name is Isla. She was very dear to me. I have no doubt that the emotional connection I had with her had a profound impact on my ability to draw her. I was inspired. I knew that I wanted to become an artist. So, after doing a few more drawings for family and friends, I decided that I would apply for an art course at university. However, I knew my English was not good enough to be accepted so, before doing so, I decided to take as many English courses as I could to resolve this. Within a couple of years I had enough certificates to wallpaper a downstair loo! I went to two interviews. I was incredibly nervous as this was the first time I had let people critcise my work.
Unfortunately, on both occasions, I was told my art was not good enough. I left the interviews in tears, my heart shattered into pieces. I could not stop crying. All I had wanted was help to improve. I felt like an utter failure. I packed up all of my drawing material and put it in our loft. I had neither the confidence, nor the desire to draw anymore.
I picked up the pencil again when my first son was born to do a little sketch of him. I realised then how much I missed art. I was cross for letting someone else’s opinion take away from me something that I love. I fell in love with drawing again, and, for that, I will be forever grateful.