When I completed my Portfolio Course in North West Scotland over the winters of 2017 and 2018, I kind of got swept along by all the young people on the course who were applying to do art at University.
Although I was old enough to be their grandmother and it had been over 40 years since I'd done a degree, I applied to do an MA at a prestigious South of England University and got an interview.
Bridge House Arts in Ullapool is outstanding in preparing students for this outcome and I was interviewed, exhibited my physical portfolio and was accepted on the MA.
My age precluded any form of student loan so I was self funding over two years.
Sadly within three months of being there I realised that I was in completely the wrong place. My initial reason for wanting to go to university was to continue developing my practice in an eclectic, vibrant group of artists. The reality was that as a part time student, I was working in isolation at home and reading books about art and creating none. In Ullapool for four months at a time, I had been painting intensively, six and a half days a week, sometimes for as long as 10 hours a day and working alongside eleven other similarly, dedicated artists. This was not the case at University.
In January 2020 following time off due to a very bad dry cough (!) I had time to re-evaluate and my conclusion was to leave. Within days I was back at my easel and producing lots of new work.
It was as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I realised that I didn't need completing an MA to validate me as an artist - just being accepted in the first place was good enough.