Louise Barson, Founder of Louise Barson Art
A watercolour, acrylic and mixed media artist working across a wide range of themes
Resilient is my middle name. My story isn’t intended to court sympathy, but to deliver the message that no matter what life throws at us, the human spirit can – and will – prevail.
When I was 50, I’d worked in the financial sector for 30 years. It was 2008 and the recession had engulfed the nation. Senior management positions were disappearing, so after a project I was working on had ended I took the opportunity to embrace change. I wasn’t going to dwell on the doors slamming shut.
I’ve always been a problem-solver and mentored people informally, so after 12 months spent researching my options, I decided to launch a concierge and decluttering business in 2010. Using coaching techniques, I helped many clients – including a number of hoarders – to learn new habits and make progress, as well as signposting them to additional sources of support.
I loved my business and created and trademarked an organising manual, ‘My Life Pack…Your Life at Your Fingertips’, but everything went on hold in 2013 when I was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t tell dad because we discovered he had cancer too and his prognosis was short. Putting the operation I needed down to ‘women’s issues’, mum and I spared him from the truth; he passed away that September.
The next few years was where my resilience went into overdrive. Still recovering, I lost mum very suddenly in January 2014 and then my brother, who had a terminal illness, in 2016.
Determined to stay focused and not ready to retire, I turned to art – having found a painting kit at my parents’ house. I hand-painted my Christmas cards in 2016 and from that acorn sprouted an oak: a brand-new business venture…
In the past three years I’ve seen my work displayed at exhibitions; I take commissions and have had clients purchasing paintings from my ever-growing portfolio; I’m an ambassador for a local charity, Chelwood Foodbank Plus; and I continue my lifelong practice of informal mentoring over a coffee.
To me, it’s important to pay it forward. Giving people a helping hand can change lives, because the things you know and take for granted could be an absolute boon for someone else.