Secret life

Getting into art

Locum optometrist Jaime Patel tells OT  how painting has enriched her life

Jaime Patel's artwork
Jamie Patel

My artwork started with a trip to Brighton with a friend around 15 years ago.

He saw a piece of artwork that he liked which was really expensive. I don’t know why I said this, because I had never painted anything in my life, but I looked at the artwork and thought ‘I could do that.’ I went off to an art shop and bought a canvas and paints. I was reasonably happy with what I produced and my friend really liked it.

I have had a few commissions over the years. An older woman knocked on my dad’s door when she was passing and wondered if she could have a look around because she had grown up in the house. My dad let her in, she looked around the house, and when she got to the living room she asked about one of my paintings. My dad gave her my details. I didn’t think I would hear any more of it. She called me within a couple of days and commissioned me.

The journey has been very enjoyable and it has also been effortless. A lot of things in life are hard, but with this it seems to be something that always points me in the right direction.

It is a stamp of approval if someone wants to pay money to buy something that you have created and wants to put that on display in their home. My mum is my biggest cheerleader. She will go up into my art studio and will tell me ‘Oh that piece is beautiful.’ Whilst I am sure she is genuine, I also know that she is a bit biased. If someone is willing to give their hard-earned cash to buy something that you have produced, that is an honour.

When you are creating art, you have to let go and see what happens


When you are creating art, you have to let go and see what happens. That is something that is bit alien to me because everyone always tells me that I tend to go for perfection. Letting go is challenging. When I use alcohol ink in my work, often you have to go with what the ink wants to do because it has a mind of its own.

I think there is something really beautiful about the iris. I look at them all the time in practice and I have a few ideas around experimenting with their shape and form. Sometimes I also think about doing something based on the fundus.

I can’t put into words the feeling that creating artwork gives me. If I go up into my studio, I can be up there for hours without realising. It is time to focus on what I am doing. You switch off, relax and go where the paint takes you.

To view more of Ms Patel’s artwork, visit her Instagram account.

  • As told to Selina Powell.