Art at home … as a business by Josie Tipler

Art at home … as a business

I painted my first paid commission when I was 16 – a pet portrait for someone in my Dad’s office. He also managed to get me into the Bank of England’s art exhibition at the Guildhall in London that year. I was delighted when I was told there had been an attempted burglary of the show and one of my paintings was found amongst the hastily abandoned pile of pinched art – to be considered worth stealing was such a compliment!

Since then, I have painted hundreds of animal portraits, exhibited at numerous venues and consistently sold my work. But anyone who is creative knows that you can’t switch off that creative flow. I have a huge stock of work at home, work that no longer ‘fits’ in a collection (the rest of the collection having been sold) and which does not get exhibited often.  And I am always painting new individual works for my own personal artistic development.

In 2018 I found the solution to the ever-growing storage problem.

At home we have an annexe to the main house. This is where we lived with our three boys for nearly 30 years before moving into the main house to live with my mother after my father’s death. We decorated the annexe and set it up as a holiday cottage. The previous year we had held our first mini arts festival (now called Summer Trifle) here and as part of this a friend, Anna Acciarini painted some amazing murals on the walls of the cottage garden. My Mum and I also painted murals and I created a (never ending) mosaic. It had a wonderfully bohemian feel and gave us our USP for the holiday cottage. Art. We named it Magpie Artist’s Cottage.

It is a great place to display my work! I have a price list in the cottage manual and have sold paintings to visitors. Surprisingly, it is not local scenes that sell – I thought tourist ‘souvenirs’ of local views might be popular – but the more unusual works such as an ‘abstract’ nude, or a dog by a swimming pool.

Building on the art theme, we now offer art holidays at the cottage. I have tutored art for many years, running my own classes as well as those for local colleges and workshops for art clubs. When booking the cottage, holiday makers can now also book either individual or group bespoke art lessons with me. The garden is a beautiful and peaceful place to paint outdoors if the weather is fine. We can also head out to the South Downs or other local places of interest to paint.

It is not just those interested in visual art who are attracted to the cottage. We have had several musicians stay – one couple came for their honeymoon and wrote and recorded a song inspired by the cottage whilst here! An author came for a week last year to find peace and inspiration.

You can read more about the cottage on our website,

And if you’d like to see more of my art you can visit