Today is “reset” day…

Today I had my needles…  I have just had over 30 injections into my forehead, jaw, skull, neck and shoulders.

I have an invisible illness.

I haven’t talked much about this journey … I am not very comfortable showing my vulnerability…  it doesn’t define me… but it does shape parts of my life.

Over the last 4 years I have suffered with severe chronic migraines, almost daily.

Early last year I had a turn and the migraine medications I was taking stopped working. After much angst and searching for answers I found a new neuroligist and we started botox therapy.

It is not fun.  It hurts.

A needle phobia means I feel physically sick before and during the procedure.  I get a dry mouth and sweaty palms.  If it wasn’t for the fact that my gorgeous husband drives me there and holds my hand I might not go.

I have to have these injections every 12 weeks.  Every 3 months I sit and cry and have my needles.

This time round I tried to be strong and stupidly put it off for a month – I pushed my appointment out to 4 months.  Not a good idea.

I am not a lot of fun when I get my migraines.  I am not as productive.  I don’t feel like doing much of anything.  So I have to suck it up and have my medicine.

It is not fun.  It hurts.  But it works.

Today was “reset” day.  I have just gotten home from having my needles.  I am going to bed to rest.

Tomorrow I might draw.

Tiny Dancer

 

Nourishment

2017 has bounded in, full of joy and potential.

2016 was, shall we say, an interesting year.  It sucked personally for many health related reasons – which I will spare you the details of – but also was amazing in so many other ways.

I achieved many goals in 2016 and have resolved to accomplish some equally wonderful things this year.

My word for 2017 had eluded me right up until New Years Eve.

2016 words were “Growth” and “Balance”.  I certainly grew quite a lot last year – the balance thing is something I am still working on and one that may actually never really be attained.

“Nourish” is my word for the year.

I wanted something that encompasses all aspects of my life and the different parts I want to cultivate.

I intend to nourish my body and soul so that I can kick some of my health issues to the kerb.  I will be nourishing my relationship with myself and in turn this will benefit my family and friends.

 

For a long time I have had itchy feet – I have always wanted to travel.  My ideal place would be Europe, Paris etc. but in reality I may never get there.  So to scratch that itch I want to travel locally and visit as many art galleries as I can.  Some will be only an hour away whereas others may involve air travel.  This will nourish both my creative soul and stimulate the imagination.

Many of my crazy ideas have languished due to other deadlines or I feel that they are too ambitious for me to try my hand at.  This year will  be different.  I will embrace that out of the box thinking and nourish my creative side.

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To that end I have already started fleshing out some of the madness.  Here is my very first attempt. These are some tiny heads that I sculpted with air drying clay – the smallest is about 5mm in diameter.  I used toothpicks and a pin head to carve these faces – sculpting tools may need to be a new years investment.  This was fun to play with and my kids enjoyed their clay time too – win win!  The final idea is a long way off yet – but I have to start somewhere.

I have also had a dream about some paper cutting ideas that need to get out of my head.

I am really excited for this year – more ideas, more creative fun, and nourishment.

 

 

 

Where to from here?

So today marks the end of an amazing experience – “Echoes; repeating patterns” my exhibition, at the Ipswich Art Gallery has closed and I am due to collect the works this next week.

I have been doing a bit of soul searching again, because, shock horror, the end of the year is closing in on us (where did the last 6 months bugger off to?) and I am doing the whole reevaluation thing, again.  Yes, my birthday is just round the corner again.

Some of my thoughts have tended towards what direction my arts practice will take.

The inevitible “whats next” that comes after a large project finishes.

Another solo exhibition is definitely on the cards for next year.  I have developed an interest in gates – there are some gorgeous examples around town and several are screaming at me to be immortalised in pointillism.

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Colour is another thing I will be working with next year.  The 12 pieces for “Echoes” were all done in black on white.  A lot of people have suggested that some may look good in colour – whilst I love the black and white theme I also agree that adding colour to my work adds an extra dimension.

Outside of that, my jewellery and copper wire will get a look in too.  I have loved the tactile work of the wire and how a finished piece looks.  I think I enjoy the immediacy of creating the piece too. I can see and feel it come to life in a few minutes.

Also some professional development ideas being thrown around – working out what I want from my arts practise, updating webpages/blogs/media.

2017 is shaping up to be another big year.

Can’t wait!

 

 

 

Oh what a night…

It has been a couple of weeks since opening night for “Echoes; repeating patterns” at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Overwhelmed is the best way to describe how it felt that night.

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So many people, so many nice compliments. I left on such a huge high!

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Coming back down to reality has taken a little while.  Luckily I had another opening the following week so I could come down slowly.

I haven’t created anything in nearly 2 weeks and my fingers are getting itchy…  Right now I am in the process of reorganising the studio and sketching up the next few pieces.  Have some great ideas that need to come out.

I’m playing with a new format for this site and working out what the next big step will be.

I want to take my art to the next level and am having fun working out what that will look like.

In the meantime, drawing and playing with wire will keep me busy 🙂

Just being the duck…

And so time has marched on and behind the scenes I have been busy being a duck – cool and calm on the surface – paddling like mad underneath.

In the past few months all sorts of fabulous things have been created.

12 new original artworks.  Some of them enormous by my usual standard.  And as each one came to life on the page it became my newst best favourite.

I have continued with my experimenting and created some jewellery.

Copper wire sculpture has also become a thing – or should I say slight obsession.  2 new sculptures have just had me mezmerised.  I can see that the amount of time I will dedicate to this new idea will just grow from here.  The wire is so easy to work with and fire can be fun.

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Delivery of artwork is only a week away.  They are currently being framed – I can’t wait to see what they look like when they are done!!

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Preparations are just about complete.

My artist statement has had to be cut down – I forgot about word counts… But this is what I have been working my little butt off for…

Echoes: Repeating patterns by Andrea Baumert Howard

Repeated patterns dominate the organic environment.  We echo the designs found in nature when decorating or building our habitats.  Duplicating images is a practice used throughout history and across cultures.

The work in this exhibition explores these repeated patterns both in nature and as we have adapted them for use in architecture.

Drawing inspiration from all around:

When doing research for my botanical drawings I was intrigued by the way all of the pieces linked together.  It seemed that a single defining characteristic was overlayed, modified and repeated. 

With each repetition, each organism grew.

Architecture has always held a certain fascination and seeing the way patterns are repeated in buildings echoed what I witnessed in nature.   Even a simple brick wall can be seen as a work of art if you look at it the right way. 

In creating this work I am contrasting the way Mother Nature has created her patterns, with chaos and irregularities, and how humans have interpreted them, with straight lines, conformity and an attempt at perfection.

Technique reflects my inspiration:

I chose to use pointillism to create the work, echoing the theme through the very patterns I create.   

Stippling is a very meditative art form; it is relaxing and takes a lot of patience.  A single piece can take many hours to complete.  A steady hand is needed as a single dot in the wrong place can change the look of a whole piece.

From a distance these works can look like simple pencil drawings.  It is only when one gets closer it can be appreciated that there are no straight lines and the whole thing is composed of a series of dots.

By presenting these images in an unusual medium I hope to highlight the natural and inherent beauty of everyday organisms and objects – highlighting the magnificence that exists in the tiniest detail. 

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The hard work is pretty much done – I can now relax a little till opening night.

Can’t wait to show you all my latest body of work – Echoes!

I am still pinching myself…

Hello again… Wow, can you believe that its June!?

Half the year gone already.

I have had such an amazing 6 months!  Looking over some of the stuff I have been up to this year leaves me feeling proud but exhausted.

Still doing my day job, mum stuff and everything else I can to avoid laundry…

My art has kept me so busy this year.

Last time we spoke I was just finishing up some work for a mini solo “Homage to George”.

The two new pieces are amazing!

Lilly pond

 

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Updating my resume made me realise that I have already had art exhibited in 7 different shows, entered 4 competitions, and have created new work for almost all of them!

I got a Highly Commended in Drawing at the Ipswich Art Awards, and was selected for the Online Gallery for the Lethbridge 10,000.

Highly Commended

 

A Chance Encounter2

But I’ve kept the most exciting news till last…..

I am so very proud to announce that I will be having a solo exhibition on the Stage in the Ipswich Art Gallery in October!!

Squeeeee!!!

I am so excited and still can’t believe it!

The theme will be building on my previous work in my “Mountain of Stars” solo last year, I am creating a series of work that will be exploring repeated patterns found in the natural and man-made environments.

Announcing “Echoes: Repeating patterns by Andrea Baumert Howard”

Expect to see more about this in the near future – in the mean time I will continue to be extremely excited/nervous/busy… and pinching myself …

 

 

Inspired …

I am not a nerdy artist.

I have not studied formally.

I don’t know all the masters by name.

Casually chatting with art people and hearing names like  Cezanne, Degas, and Michelangelo always makes me feel a bit like a fraud.  I have heard these names ( I mean who hasn’t) but I couldn’t point out their work in a gallery from sight – I would have to read the didactic to tell you who was who.

My nude line work has been inspired by the likes of Matisse.

 

Some of my black and white pointillist (or stippling) work has been compared to Aubrey Beardsley and Albrecht Durer… (I had to look them up too)…

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And now I am working in colour… something I have been moving towards over the last 6 months.

Which brings me to a new work that has been inspired by Georges Seurat.

Lilly Pond – Work in progress….

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This piece has come about because a lovely (and clever) friend, Tammy Linde,  asked if I would like to exhibit some coloured pointillism pieces in the foyer of a musical she is directing called  “Sunday in the Park with George” with the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company.

The play is based on Georges Seurat’s relationships whilst working on his masterpiece “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” .

Naturally I had to look him up.

Immediately I find parallels between my work and his – I felt connected to him – I understand the time consuming labour intensive method he used…  his most famous painting took over 2 years to complete.

Seurat used pointillism on a massive scale.   He was on the forefront of a new way of seeing, part of the pioneer neo-impressionists movement.

Whilst Seurat used paint, I use pens.  I am relatively new to the use of colour in my pointillist work.  Layering of colours can bring depth to a piece, and agonising over the placement of each is something I can totally understand.

Tammy’s idea of showing the audience what a pointillist piece looks like up close so that they understand more about the artist and what is happening in the play, is just pure genius.

It is forward thinking like this that hopes to highlight the bond between visual and performance art.  Quite simply the artist Seurat inspired the playwright and they have both inspired me,  and I am happy to say that this mini exhibition will feature 2 new pieces paying homage to the style of Seurat.

I can’t wait to see the play – who knows how many others will be inspired to go on and create something wonderful.

Hello 2016

Well, here we are – another year over and a new one waiting to blossom into existence.

My words for 2015 were “change” with “purpose”.

I did make quite a few changes on purpose – set goals and achieved them.  Entered more competitions, added colour to my pallet.  I also held my first ever solo exhibition, and I got a day job – on purpose :P.

Some of my favourite pieces from this year:

Whalenbergia
Native Australian Blue Bell
Limestone Street
Limestone Street
Ulysses
Ulysses Butterfly
Spirit guide
Spirit Guide

2016 will bring more fantastic opportunities with it.  I am eagerly waiting to see what the universe will deliver.

I intend on playing more in 2016 – by trying new and different ideas and materials I want to grow in my arts practise.  I also want to bring more balance to work/family/making stuff.  Having only been a working mum for a few short months I have a deep appreciation for those out there who do it on a day to day basis – you guys are heroes!  I don’t want to suffer from artist burnout or mental exhaustion so have to work out a way that I can wear all the hats I need to without any one of them being neglected.

So my words for this new year ( still stuck on having 2 words instead of one ) are “growth” and “balance”.

Let’s hope for an amazing and creative 2016!

 

Which hat?

It has been a very busy few months in my house.

I have been working in a day job for what feels like, forever, a very long time, but in actual fact has only been about 3 months.

I have found the transition from stay-at-home-mum to working-mum to be an interesting exercise for me personally.  In between getting normal houseworky stuff done (which, let’s face it, has never been a huge priority) and looking after and feeding kids, and doing artwork I find that there is little time in the day to do much else.  I am constantly juggling which hat I need to wear, and when – it can mean that I am four different people all in the space of a few hours.

And that is why this blog has just sat for a while.

However, the end of the year always brings a touch of urgency to me – a list of accomplishments tallied against the list of goals, each marked off and either postponed to next year or counted as a win.

Last year I gave myself  the words “Change” and “Purpose” for my focus.

I also had a major goal of my first solo exhibition.   (Which was awesome and I felt like a freaking superstar for the night!)

This coming year, 2016, is still a bit of a mystery to me in what I want from it – I am not sure what to ask the universe for …

In the mean time, I will begin with a small list of goals.

I am already planning some new fabulous work, and I would love to have another solo exhibition.

If all goes to plan, at this stage I will have artwork in exhibitions each month right up to April.

The first of which is a group exhibition curated by the Ipswich Art Gallery team.  I am among 18 artists whose work was selected for the “People-Place” exhibition in January.  It’s pretty exciting to be selected again to exhibit amongst some amazing talent.

I have created 2 new works based on my interpretation of the theme “People-place”.

Limestone Street

This is a large Pointillism piece – in colour!! Titled “Limestone Street” after the street in which this gorgeous old building stands.

The second one is about the same size as the door – but a stained glass window design based on the native Australian bluebell Whalenbergia stricta which featured in my solo exhibition.

As it is still a work in progress I have just included a sneak peek of the detail here:

Bluebell - Work in Progress- Detail

Remember how I said change was one of my words – I think I kind of like the colours….

Anyway – I have better go put my maid’s hat on and fold some laundry so that I can actually get to the couch and put on my artist’s hat 🙂

 

So I got myself a day job….

Some of you may be surprised that I don’t earn a wage from my art – crazy, I know, right….

My art is sort of a hobby that pays for itself and while this has been awesome and definitely helps with the motivation, it certainly isn’t bringing home the proverbial bacon.

We have a young family and live in a modest home which needs some doing up.  I have been blessed that for the last 10 years I have been a stay at home mum and (dare I say it) housewife.  It was a decision my husband and I took before we fell pregnant.  I would stay at home till the kids were in school – I managed to stretch that out till the youngest is nearly in grade 2.

So the opportunity came to get a job that was truly flexible and was happy for me to only work school hours (and that means not working school holidays) so I jumped.

Today marks day 3 in my corporate adventure.

I find that I am exhausted – even though my hours are only 9am to 2pm – and I don’t have the energy to dedicate to my art.

I am working to a deadline at the moment – one that has been looming for a while – but has nevertheless snuck up on me.  I am part of a group exhibition which I am actually excited about but my lack of artwork is a bit of a worry.

A few new pieces will be finished this weekend – and I have a couple of pieces already done – which is awesome considering delivery is next week.

I am hoping the tiredness goes away as I get used to my new normal.

My art will continue to be important – probably more so as I endure the monotony of a working life…