Resolutions…

So a new year has begun.

I have spoken in the past about the whole end of year and inevitable over-thinking syndrome I suffer from.  However my self criticism and navel gazing session this year has been much more gentle than normal.

This has a lot to do with the fact that 2013 was pretty awesome to me in the “art” facet of my life.

"Simple Joys"

I won a 2nd place award for my pointillism piece in the 2013 QT Ipswich Art Awards.

I sold work.

I exhibited in a number of group exhibitions.

I got the opportunity to share my passion for art with some very enthusiastic and clever 4 and 5 year old kids.

Christmas Decorations

One of my pieces was used as part of the promotion for the 2013 Home Grown Exhibition.

Home Grown DL invite 2013  v4 (1)-1

That’s my “Plight of the Bumble Bee” right there on the left… I was a tiny bit excited about that one.

And then of course there was “The Image Makers” exhibition….

It was a 2 week group exhibition shared with three lovely and talented artists, Tom Mason, Lyn Mason, and Glen Smith.  The four of us hung some of our best work and put on an amazing show.

I exhibited 23 pieces of art.  12 nude line drawings and 11 pointillism drawings.

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I was absolutely floored by the amount of support we got.  The four of us are from Ipswich and we exhibited in Brisbane.  The number of wonderful people who made the journey for the opening night amazed me.

I am enormously proud to say that I sold 8 pieces on the night.

The whole experience was a huge learning curve.  

I discovered that I work well under pressure (well, I am a mum so I guess that is a trained response).  

I enjoyed producing a body of work – more than a one off piece – the “sets” look wonderful together.  

And I loved how seeing that many of my pieces all hung in one gallery made me feel.  I loved seeing a large number of people looking at my work, lingering in front of my work, discussing my art with their friends.

I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  It was like a “coming out” as an artist.  The “recognition” as an artist.  Having people wanting to talk to me about my art and ultimately having people love my stuff enough to want to take a piece home and hang it on their walls.

I floated on air for a long time after that!  And I still feel humbled that my work meant something to somebody other than myself.

I have had a quiet few weeks since then, with Christmas and school holidays to contend with.  The sketch book is getting a bit of a work out – so is my idea’s book (yup, got me one of those now).

And now another year has begun – more potential waiting to be unleashed.

I have lots of things I want to accomplish – I set myself some goals and resolutions last year that didn’t get realised for a number of different reasons.

As this year is still in it’s infancy I again sit and contemplate my resolutions and goals.

A trend which I have only recently become aware of was the “one word” idea… it’s an idea that has apparently been around for a while…  (bit slow on the uptake me…)

Anyway, the idea (just in case you are not familiar with it) is that you chose one word that will act like a mantra or focus for the year.  Lets face it, a list of resolutions usually never gets anyone too far – well, me anyway – and a single word to concentrate energy into manifesting seems like a good way to go.

This year will be a year of “change” and “purpose”.

My youngest is off to school full time.  We will be putting our house on the market again.  I want to make my health and fitness more of a priority.  I intend to enter more competitions and exhibit more outside of Ipswich.  I am going to try my hand at sculpture. I have ideas, and germs of ideas, for large bodies of work.  I want to do something about issues that bug me and I am passionate about.

I resolve to embrace the change and live and create with purpose.

Just a moment…

I know that I have been a bit slack on this blog lately, but I promise I have a really good reason.

I have been busily getting ready for my largest group exhibition ever.

When I say large I mean the most amount of work I have ever had on display at one time, the actual number of artists involved is just four.  A comfortable group of friends who share a love of art.  Here is a link to details of The Image Makers exhibition… https://www.facebook.com/events/457818967605835

As well as being mum, wife and my normal Saturday morning job, I have also been doing my Artist in Residence thing with 4 & 5 year olds at kindergarten.  This has been an enormous amount of fun and a huge learning experience (more so for me than the kids I think)…

Painted Pinch Pots

And so my priorities have been even more skewed, away from housework, than normal.  I have to admit that parts of the floor are getting decidedly crunchy, and there are two baskets of laundry that have sat there, in the lounge room, not sorted and un-folded, for nearly 2 weeks.  (Shocking, I know).

But…. I have completed and framed 11 pointillism pieces, and 12 nudes, made labels, created catalogues, promoted the bejeebus out of the exhibition …

And, as a side note…

I am also very proud to say that one of the pieces I submitted to the Home Grown Exhibition was chosen to feature on the invitation … a personal achievement that I am very excited about…

Home Grown DL invite 2013  v4 (1)-1

That’s my bumble bee piece!

And so now, as we come closer to opening night of The Image Makers (Friday 22nd November) and most of the preparations are completed, I am able to take a moment …

To breathe…

To contemplate…

To enjoy…

I am taking a moment, to be grateful for this moment – to be thankful for all the circumstances that have lead up to this moment…

Have I told you I love my job?

One of the nicest things that has happened to me this year is getting a part-time job in the local art shop. (Check it out here http://www.arttime.com.au/).  When I say part-time, I mean one day a week, with an extra shift thrown in every now and then.

I haven’t worked in a full-time job since before my babies were born, so that’s about 8 years ago now.  I always said that if I went back to work it had to be something I enjoyed and the hours had to work in with my kids.  So the Saturday morning thing totally works for me and my family.

And I work in an ART SHOP! 

I am surrounded by inspiration and fabulous art materials. 

At the back of the art shop is a gallery and working studio.  Local artists are able to hold solo or group exhibitions (of which I have attended many), and several different art classes are also held there. 

Coming in and seeing the latest exhibition hanging or walking past a watercolour student working away on a new piece always fills me with a joy that is difficult to describe.

The readily available art supplies can be a little dangerous though, especially when one needs to “focus” on one’s upcoming exhibition and not get distracted by interesting side projects.  Like wanting to try printmaking because of beauty in the pieces of the current exhibition.  Or seeing the potential in a new design because of a book in the corner library.

I love that I am always learning new tricks, and new ways of using different materials. 

But one of my favourite things about my job is the wonderful people I get to meet.

I get to talk to some of the most interesting and creative people every week.

I am constantly being surprised by how many talented people are out there.  And most of them are only too happy to talk about their creative processes, to pass on a gem of an idea, or proudly show a picture of what they are working on.

It’s encouraging to see that creativity is alive and well. 

The artists who come into the shop vary in age and skill level, there is a huge variety of disciplines and paraphenalia, but the underlying common thread is that we all love art.

When I get home in the afternoon I nearly always head for my studio to sketch out an idea or try out a new method.  After a day of breathing in the dust of inspiration it is hard not to scratch that itch.

The muse constantly whispers sweet nothings.

Sometimes feel bad that I am paid to come to work – to me it is not work…

I love my job!

 

 

Stealing time…

I am a Mum.

I am an artist.

But I am a Mum first.

But I am an artist trying to carve out some sort of a career in between all the things that being a Mum involves.

This means that some of the things that I should be doing – like washing, hanging, folding the laundry – mopping, vacuuming floors – wiping benches doing dishes – gets sort of left till I can squeeze it in between other Mum things.  Picnics, play dates, reading books, playing hide and seek or tickle monsters are all more important while my little ones are still little and want my attention.

But I am an artist.

I sneak away while my children are playing a game of treasure hunts outside so that I can write this blog post.

I slip into the studio while they are eating breakfast to quickly scratch out that idea for a new piece.

When it gets too hot outside and we spend some time watching a movie together I get time to work my latest pointillism piece from the comfort of the couch.

Organising a crafty session means I can bring out my acrylic paints and we can be artists together.

I know I am stealing time – but hopefully they won’t notice.

And if they do then I hope they realise that I am doing something I love, and that if you find something that brings you joy you don’t have to wait for the perfect time to do it.

Just squeeze the most out of the time you do have.

The interconnectedness of all things…

I believe that everything happens for a reason but also that things happen because we make them happen. 

One of the things I hoped to gain when I when I first started putting my stuff out there was to meet other artists.  I knew I needed guidance and wanted to develop a network of like-minded people who would give me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

What you put into something ultimately comes back to you…

I joined art clubs, went to exhibition openings, attended workshops, and life drawing sessions all this in search of arty companions.

Being part of the arts community helps you open your eyes to the talent hidden just beneath the surface.  This journey towards becoming, developing into an artist, has seen me meet some of the most amazing, talented, genuine, and accepting people.

Over the past 3 years I have met photographers, painters, sculptures, poets, musicians, songwriters, jewellers, dancers, authors… people who speak through their work… through acrylics, oils, encaustics, words, music… people who use collage, multi-media, photography, fibre in ways I have never seen before.  Artists who inspire me through their work.  People who encourage me to try new things, to push my own creativity.

Every single one of them are so generous and giving of information, of sharing their knowledge or love of a particular skill with others.  Because part of the joy in creating is the joy in sharing that process with someone else.

I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work part-time in our local art store and here I have met even more artists.  People who have been working professionally, teaching for years, and others who have just begun to rediscover the magic of making marks.  Some want to broaden their interests in retirement, still others who bring that joy through their work with the elderly or disabled.  And parents, fabulous arty parents, who encourage their little charges to nurture their creative sides.

I am an over-thinker, I fret, and I suffer from self doubt.  I went looking for encouragement and mentors, and I made connections with fellow artists.

Instead of finding what I thought I needed, I found new friends….

 

 

 

 

 

PS:  Wordpress has just informed me that I have been blogging for 1 whole year! Go me!

 

PPS: On Friday night I was MC at a Solo Exhibition.

A first ever solo exhibition for my lovely and talented friend Rachel Brennan (www.http://rachelbrennanartblog.wordpress.com/) Go check out her stuff!

A lot has happened since we last spoke…

Last time I posted on this blog it was just before the QT Ipswich Art Awards and I talked about the pieces I was entering for this local competition, that was way back in April…

Well – I am very pleased to be able to say that I won an award in that competition – 2nd prize in fact! 2nd Prize in the Drawing Category for my piece “Simple Joys” – the pointillism piece I agonized over!

"Simple Joys"

 

And – I sold the other piece! My mixed media “Tree of Life”.

 

 

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I am not sure which one shocked me more to be honest!  Winning my second ever art prize – or selling a piece which I was fully intending to hang in my own home, because I believed that no one else in the world would be able to “see” my vision for the piece.

Since then I have started and scrapped a couple of other pieces for the “Tree of Life” Series (yes, I work in series’ now!)  I can’t seem to get that image right – but creating the original piece was a bit of an angst inducing experience – so I am guessing the next piece will also come from this sort of angst.

I am also working on a series in an “animation cel” style.  This is proving to be enormously fun and naturally more learning is happening.  My whimsical cartoony characters are coming to life in new ways..

And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon

 

And, of course, there are more exhibitions to prepare for – “Stimulate the Senses” in August and “The Image Makers” in November.

So the work/play continues…

Even more exciting news comes in the form of an amazing opportunity through my daughters kindergarten.

I have been asked – and graciously accepted – the chance to act as “Artist In Residence” and teach young children the joys of colour, texture, and pattern through art…

There are no words to describe the honour I feel at being allowed this important task.

It will only be for the last semester of the school year and I am a bit daunted by the idea,  but I strongly believe that if I can impart just the tiniest bit of my love of creating onto these precious young minds then I have done a good thing.

Who knows, I might inspire the next young Margaret Olley!

Giddy Up…

Motivation… it is something that has been lacking recently…

I could blame it on my shamozle of a studio ….

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The result of having lots of things packed up ready for the sale of our house (which seems to be somewhat put on hold)… I have to admit that this has certainly added to my general lethargy… but I am lucky to even have a space to use!

Or I could use any number of other excuses, some of which I am sure we have all used at some point or another…  my kids started a new school, my husband has been sick (apparently the “man-flu” is a real thing), my house is a mess and I need to clean it (oh, hang on… ummmm, can’t really use that one can I?)

But the truth is far simpler… I am being lazy … so I need to shake myself out of this slumber and begin work in earnest!

One way I read about – whilst I was procrastinating – is to start writing lists.

This might sound like a simple thing but being able to cross things off a list actually sounds pretty good to me…  Smaller more manageable deadlines, lists and more time dedicated to actually producing artwork… Sounds like a plan to me…

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With the November exhibition calling, and a few competitions in between, plus some other personal goals I really need to pull my finger out!  In the meantime here are some pieces that I have sketched out ready to work on.

 

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It’s not like I am lacking ideas… just got to get into it again…

I’m Ok…. You’re Ok

I am having angst!  I am beginning to worry that I may not actually have what it takes to stand up in this art world…

Deep breathe… mentally slap myself… move forward…

One of the things that cause my self-doubt is when I look at other peoples’ work.  Then my biggest enemy becomes “Comparison”.

Last night I went to my first Dr Sketchy life drawing session and it was the first life drawing session since, I don’t remember when.

It was fabulous – actual burlesque queens, 4 of them, in costume and stunningly beautiful hair and make-up!  We were in a small room with a large bed in the middle – we were so close we could touch them!

When the drawing started I found that I was so out of practice that a 5 minute pose felt like 1 minute… and I realised the value of drawing exercises.

Looking around the room I saw a lot of seasoned life drawing artists – producing amazing pieces of art.  Some of them were so quick they were able to capture minute details in their subjects, even adding things and making a comic-styled story out of a single image!

I began to feel inadequate… but then remembered that I have only been doing this for a short time, I haven’t done life drawing in months and these artists whose work I admired have probably been to university and studied graphic design and other artsy stuff.

Deep breathe… mentally slap myself… move forward…

I am pretty much self-taught and am proud of what I was able to capture in my 5 minute drawings.

Dr Sketchy 1 Dr Sketchy 1a

So… I am still working hard at not comparing myself to other artists.  I think it is inevitable that I will still do that every now and then, but I am getting better at recognising my own talents and appreciating others skills for what they are.

I’m Ok… and I’m ok with being ok.

 

 

Ready – Set – Go!

As we so very often do at the ending of a year, we review, and take stock and make plans for the coming months.

We say goodbye to old habits, close doors that no longer lead anywhere and find new paths to follow.

One of the things we have had to say goodbye to is the Swich Contemporary Art Space at the Top of Town in Ipswich.  Their final exhibition “The End is Nigh” was a fabulous showcase of local artists and a fitting way to say farewell.  LeAnne and Gil’s presence will be sorely missed but I wish them both the very best as they begin their next journey.

I am proud to say that my work has hung with some of the talented artists in Ipswich.  On this blog I showed you some ‘in-progress’ work for that exhibition … here are the finished pieces!

“Parade of the Planets”

Parade Of The Planets

Worlds End

“Worlds End”

Ouroboros

“Ouroboros”

One of my resolutions this year is to be more regular with my blog posts.   Life sort of got in the way the last few months and I lapsed.   I am now fully recovered but we are still in between moving and selling our current house so my studio space has been semi-packed for a few weeks which hasn’t helped.  My sketch book has seen more of me than my drawing desk.

So I haven’t got anything new to show you … yet!

I am thrilled to be able to announce that I have been invited to take part in a group exhibition in November this year!

Together with three artists, whose work I greatly admire, Tom Mason, Lyn Mason, and Glen Smith, we will be “The Image Makers” at the Petrie Terrace Gallery of The Royal Queensland Art Society.

Our work differs greatly in style and subject matter and I am really looking forward to sharing some sneak peeks with you.

I have a long list of other things I want to achieve this year.

My first challenge will be to complete something for the QT Art Awards.  I have had several ideas already and this year I will be trying to buckle down so that I am not rushing at the last minute again.

So – last year ended with a whimper – let’s start the new one with a bang.

The annual navel gazing festival… what have you done lately?

With less than one month till my birthday I have begun that inevitable self examination of the past year’s accomplishments.

This year is not nearly as bad as previous years, which is a blessing, especially because this birthday is one of those unmentionable “milestone” birthdays.

I am proud to say that I have achieved several of my new year’s resolutions.  I have been actively putting myself and my work out into the public’s eye, exhibiting artwork locally in no less than 5 exhibitions, with two yet to go before the year is out.

Selling some pieces has been an enormously validating experience.  It has shown me that others value my work and given me then encouragement to keep going.

I am still no closer to discovering my “style” but that can perhaps be the next year’s adventure.

For now I am happy to continue “playing”.  I have realised that one of the joys of practising my art is that there are no set rules to follow.

I do know that I enjoy my pointillism work – and it appeals to other people as well.  The below piece is finally finished and will be exhibited later this month as part of the “End is Nigh” exhibition at the Swich Contemporary Art Space in Ipswich.  I think I will continue to develop this style and I already have ideas for new pieces.

Planetary alignment

I had grand plans to create Christmas cards and publish a children’s book but these have been shelved for a little while because my family and I will be moving house in the very near future.

This is another adventure that will mean quite a few changes.  For now it means that my studio space is packed up into boxes so that the room can be presented as a bedroom to any prospective buyers.  While it does not prevent me from doing any new work, in fact my sketch books and pencils have made their way to the dining table, it does mean that my focus is now on packing and tidying and making the move as smooth as possible for my two children.

I still have a few things I want to achieve in the last days of my thirties.  But I am happy in the knowledge that I can sit back and revel in my success even if I don’t manage to finish that piece or start this one.

I have done alright this year, bring on the next one!