Painting career of Sophie Huddlestone
I started my painting career in 2011 in my maiden name of Sophie Appleton. Soon some big hotels began to purchase my art as well as pubs, offices and homes. The author Lynda Page purchased 7 of my paintings in August and then my first exhibition for local artists was in Hinckley.
From September 2012 a gallery in Lincolnshire (in Spalding) sold several of my paintings and a world wide site released ten of my flower paintings on to post cards in May of that year.
After two years my website had become more popular and I decided to leave the physical galleries and focus on the online customers because it was more flexible around child care. Although around fifteen of my paintings still hang on display in Vision House in Leicestershire to this day. My Facebook page www.facebook.com/SwirlySophArt also began to grow in popularity, with some lovely comments from customers worldwide.
In July 2015 I branched into embroidery again turning six of my paintings into beautiful embroidered sweatshirts and printed bags – via my husband – with our ‘Country Swirls’ range, I built the website www.countryswirls.com just for these garments bags and gifts but after the 2020 shutdown it was to costly to hold onto stock, selling the few remaining on Etsy.
In April 2016 I started a range of Art replicas (prints) around 20 designs. These ran until 2020 when I decided to focus on original art instead of prints.
Trying sizes of artwork in April 2016 from large to small, branching into hand painted A.C.E.O. (miniature paintings) measuring only 64mm X 89mm.
Also that year I designed and made an artists app to bring arty folks together, showcase my art, others art, and suggested topics to paint with live chat for us arty folks. It was accepted on the apple app listing (which is quite an achievement itself). The ‘Swirly Soph Art’ app. A community for painters with live chat. Unfortunately with the 2020 shutdown I could no longer afford to run this app and ‘Swirly Soph Art’ app closed down.
After a busy few years selling over 1,300 original paintings worldwide the sales of my paintings plummeted. I made some big errors. In April 2018 I changed my career name to be my married name of Huddlestone (instead of Sophie Appleton) and also moved from my original www.sixfootsophie.co.uk website to www.sophiehuddlestone.com These decisions affected sales badly because not only did I seem like a new unestablished artist (no one had heard of Sophie Huddlestone) but also my past customers could no longer find me with my new website, nor spell my last name easily or remember it. I tried selling on Redbubble and Amazon but being dyslexic I found there websites difficult to navigate and time consuming.
In June 2018 I began ‘Artist Sophie’ www.artistsophie.com hoping it would be a catchier name, then linking it to this sophiehuddlestone website. It was a website diary blog about anything creative, ideas, artworks in progress, writing music lyrics etc. I made the website myself but after a few years decided it was simpler to just add the blog to this site, and focus just on paintings.
While sales were slow I dedicated the year to learning portraiture and in March 2019 I had my first commission portrait, which was for sporting celebrity Russell Osman.
May 2019; I joined Saatchi Art which is an online art gallery based in Los Angeles and started selling a selection of my original paintings.
In October 2019 I started website swirlysoph.com Hopefully this is a more memorable and catchy name to remember. Popularity of my paintings increased again, creating and selling over 2,500 original artworks worldwide.
In April 2020 Sky Arts ‘Portrait Artist Of The Week’ television show selected some of my portraits to be displayed on the floating wall gallery. My portraits were of Noel Fielding s1 ep6 and Rankin s1 ep3.
In August 2020 Portraits for NHS heroes exhibition – my portrait of ‘Hayley ICU Nurse’ was selected as a permanent record for the NHS heroes among over 700 other artists portraits. This online gallery was an incentive by the Artist Tom Croft and is Google Arts & Culture and Paintings in Hospitals.
Also in 2020 with shut down I had to move from my existing home in Burbage and downscale housing costs. Temporarily living in Hinckley making do on a table in the kitchen and art equipment in boxes surrounding me. Finally in 2022 moving back to the village in a smaller home and setting up a new art studio. Home is where the art is!
Examples mentioned above:
Commission Portrait for celebrity Russell Osman. My husband and I really enjoyed hearing about his world wide travels, his acting roll in Escape to Victory with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine, commentating on the India Super League, his lovely family and lots more. This guy really should consider writing an autobiography to add to his list of talents.
View more portraits
Example of the Country Swirls sweaters by Sophie
Examples of the limited editions Redbubble – Steampunk Bunny and Eye Color Love collections by Sophie
Example of the phone app by Sophie
Sophie’s free phone app called Swirly Soph Art is for new and return customers, hobbyists, and art lovers. Have you painted something? Then contact me to feature on the app’s “you did it” section.
I was thrilled to have my app ‘Swirly Soph Art’ approved to be on the list of available phone apps on the App Store and Google Play. Available for free on the app store IOS phones and also android phones at Google Play. New art on a live feed, occasional quiz competitions, live chat, app users art on display, discount codes on the bargains section etc.
(2020 UPDATE – This phone app has ended due to cut backs).
Facebook Page ‘Artist Sophie Appleton Huddlestone’ with messenger @SwirlySophArt