I was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire (of 'crooked spire' fame) in 1959 and have been told I could always draw. When I was young, I was lent a beautifully illustrated edition of 'The Jungle Book' by a neighbour. For months I religiously copied the exquisite pen and ink drawings of animals which adorned its pages. I made a portfolio from card and wrote 'NICK POTTER, ARTIST. KEEP OUT 'on the front. It seems all I have ever wanted to be was an artist. Unfortunately life doesn't always give you what you want, well not immediately anyway.
I enjoyed a comfortable and happy childhood. My father worked in a steel factory, my mother was a teacher. Both worked hard to provide for me and my two younger sisters. During my secondary education at Netherthorpe Grammar School I engaged in a wide variety of activities and sport. As a fairly strict school, blazers were to be worn at all times, except for sport and in the art room. I was very good at games and art. I was the only pupil in my year taking 'A' level Art. I therefore received one to one tuition from my art teacher Bob Widgery, a kind and talented Welshman who was a friend rather than a teacher. Our paths still cross. He was very encouraging and taught me to observe rather than see. My then girlfriend Gillian was a talented artist with a style of her own. She taught me lots including the art of watercolour. I sold my first painting to my headmistress for £10. She wryly suggested I might invest some of it in a razor!
Despite attaining an 'A' at A Level I was encouraged to go to University rather than Art School as this would give me 'proper qualifications' I went to Leicester University and read Archaeology. Although I continued my art most of my time was taken up with student type activities such as beer, girls and sport- oh, and of course study.
On leaving University I did a P.G.C.E course and reluctantly went into teaching in Chesterfield. This didn't work and I got a job as an Educational Publishing Rep. My wife and I then moved to the beautiful village of Great Bowden in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. Living in the country and fuelled by frequent visits to Cornwall, Scotland and the Lake District I became much more interested in Landscape painting. I sketched prolifically and painted watercolours and even exhibited at various galleries and in exhibitions. I longed to paint loose watercolours like Edward Seago or Edward Wesson but failed. My style was more like a cross between James Fletcher-Watson and David Bellamy. I became very frustrated, despite illustrating a couple of children's books and a cookery book.
In 1988, when my two children were young I moved back to Derbyshire. The responsibilities of parenthood and a mortgage have always made me cautious. Even when I was made redundant I still found the need to get another job. When my father died suddenly in front of me and my son Tom, it made me aware of the fragility of existence. I ached to do something more with my life. My frustration affected my relationships and eventually my wife and I amicably divorced. I bought a small cottage, turned the main bedroom into a studio and painted. I discovered the vibrancy of silk paints and used them like watercolours. My new partner, Natasha, was very keen for me to use my artistic talents. We bought a house together and she set up a company called 'Altered Images', selling my paintings and cards to outlets around Derbyshire. My youngest son, Dylan was born in 2001 which complicated things but my work proved to be very popular. 'Treeline Gallery' in Bakewell, gave me my first real break with a one man exhibition. I exhibited around 70 pictures, had a great preview and sold some paintings.
In 2003 Natasha and I had the opportunity to become partners in our own gallery, a dream come true.