It has been a long time since I felt motivated to write. In fact, the last time was about 6 months ago just after “reset day” and now I am due for the latest lot of injections in a couple of days’ time.
It has been a busy few months with the end of the year rolling round and the new one starting quietly. My normal end of year re-evaluation and word selection was slightly more meaningful this year.
My migraines affect my thought processes and my anxiety.
I was feeling quite down and sorry for myself thinking that I hadn’t met my goals or lived up to my own expectations. When I updated my CV earlier this week I actually surprised myself with how much I accomplished last year despite my illness.
I had entered work into 12 separate exhibitions.
1 acquisition award, and 1 sale, at the Ipswich Art Awards.
I had a piece selected to tour as part of the 2018 Queensland Regional Arts Awards Tour.
I’ve made a number of sales, and now have a range of prints and cards available.
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.
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)…
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….
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.
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”.
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:
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 🙂
I recently watched a very inspirational interview with returned astronaut Mr Chris Hadfield.
He said that he saw the original moon landing at age 6 (or 7) and from that moment on he knew he wanted to do that – he wanted to be an astronaut.
He was asked about how he got there – what steps did he take to get to where he is today.
The answer seems quite simple.
He said something along the lines of – (I am paraphrasing here because I can’t remember his exact words) – work out what success looks like to you, and what is the next step in getting closer to that goal.
My definition of “success” is still evolving.
When I started this art journey I believed that selling a piece of art was what success looked like to me. I made art and it sold. Success!
I entered competitions – made it to finalist stage and even won a couple prizes. Success!
Then I was going to be brave … and … create a large body of work … and … have a solo exhibition … Success!!!
A Mountain of Stars has outshone itself. The work I created is stunning (yes I am a little proud). It is cohesive – expresses an idea – and started conversations and up close examination of the work. That in and of itself was a success to me. When I remember how long I have been doing this and where I came from I count this solo exhibition as an enormous success.
Add to that, this was a first ever and I was nervous about the whole process, I sold more pieces than I ever thought I would! I honestly would have been happy with just a single sale because that was not the sole point of the exercise – it was more about the journey and the personal goal to create work worthy to hang on a gallery wall.
The fact that other people saw the value in what I had created is tremendously uplifting. It is the pat on the back that we all need – you are doing good work – you are on the right track – keep going…
So, my definition of success is still evolving.
My next steps towards that success are going to be baby ones – more competitions, more group exhibitions and I will be gradually working towards another solo exhibition.
I am doing something I love, I have the support of my gorgeous family (truly couldn’t do any of this without them), I have met some amazing people, and my art is touching other souls… Success!
Today the five pointed star shape is one of the most universally used and recognised images throughout the world.
It is used in decorations, religions and emblems. It represents so many different things to so many different people.
But why is that?
Why is that shape so ubiquitous?
The idea I am exploring within this body of work is that when humans first began noticing the world around them they saw the shape in nature.
This star shape subtly and subconsciously crept into our minds.
And, over time, the human race translated that into our own symbolic and written language.
As a kid I spent a lot of time exploring the bush near my home. The shape jumped out at me. And ever since then I began to see stars everywhere in nature.
The drawings I have presented here display the natural star shape I fell in love with. I chose to use pointillism as I feel it is the best way to depict them because it has a very organic look.
Stippling is a very meditative art form, taking a lot of patience. A single piece can take many hours to complete. A steady hand is needed as a since dot in the wrong place can change the look of a whole piece.
I love that 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.
I strive to make art that is fun to create and beautiful to look at and I believe that these drawings achieved both.
Today officially marks 8 weeks till opening night. It’s bare knuckle time.
I have sent out real ‘paper’ invitations. Even the mayor accepted my invite to be a guest – although he does have to dash off to be official and open some other important function.
I am very close to having the 24 drawings I set out to create. I have written my essay – artist statement.
I have come up with a dozen different ideas for other works – but – I have not allowed myself to get too side tracked… yet…
I have had mild panic attacks. I have questioned my sanity. I have been overly optimistic about how long a couple of the pieces would take to do. I have been disappointed when the idea in my head didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
I have been on the biggest roller-coaster ride of emotions when it comes to my art. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. This process has taught me a lot about myself, and my work.
I still have some star shapes swimming in my mind so there may be more than 24 drawings… and a few 3d pieces too 🙂
I am very proud of what I have created so far and I seriously can’t wait to show it all off!
I recently read somewhere on the interwebs that you should keep your goals secret. Apparently the more people you tell, the less likely it is that you will achieve those goals. I am not sure I agree with that ….
One of my long term goals has been to hold my own solo exhibition ….
I told a few people quite some time ago now that I wanted to do it and since then I have slowly but surely been working up to it.
Now I have told a few more people, booked a space, created more art and guess what?!
I AM HAVING MY FIRST EVER SOLO EXHIBITION! SQUEEEE!! (insert enormous grin)
Nervous excitement ensues!
About 12 pieces are complete – with another 10ish planned. There are essay’s to transcribe, invitations to design, blogs to write and more art to create.
I love the work I have been creating – it is all pointillism though – so if I look at you funny next time I see you, it might just be my eyes adjusting 😛
Here is a sneak peek of some of the work that will be showcased …
Notice a bit of a theme happening?
Yup – the five pointed star is the “star” of the show … These guys have been following me around for years and I am finally doing something with the idea.
I am creating a Facebook event so you can join us but I am also sending out real actual paper invitations to those that would like one.
Save the date – Opening night 7th August – Ipswich QLD. Let me know. Would be awesome if you could come.
So – I am going away for a few weeks… naturally this means that there is packing to be done. I was going to take one of my favourite shirts with me but as the kids pointed out it is getting a bit worse for wear…
So I did what any normal person would do a couple of days away from departure… I painted me a new one!
I started by transferring the image to the new shirt. My tracing paper was too small so I used baking paper to copy the original and then carbon paper for the actual transfer.
Then I used a product I haven’t tried before. Derivan Fabricart marker. It is a double ended pen with fabric paint as the ink! Genius! And very easy to use. One end has a bullet shape and the other is a chisel which makes the mark making very easy.
Next I used one of my acrylic paint brushes and Permaset Aqua Textile printing ink to fill in the colours…white first…
Then some red and pink…
Then back with the fabric marker to fill in the eyes, go over the black lines, and add the whiskers…
The image is heat set with a hot iron over a tea towel and then a quick wash.
The end result… one happy lady!
The whole project took about 2 hours (if you don’t count the washing and drying bit). I am very happy with the way the paint and markers turned out on the fabric.
So much so that I would like to do more of this type of stuff – I am now wondering if I could do a bunch of star inspired fabric’s, calico bags, t-shirts, tea towels….. the possibilities are endless….