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.

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 🙂

 

What does success look like?

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!!!

Walk through of A Mountain of Stars

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!

4 weeks to go!

Right …. 4 weeks …. First ever solo exhibition …. Do I start panicking now?!

I keep coming up with ideas for new pieces… write them down

I fantasize about what they will look like framed … framing jobs get started Monday …

Freaking out that I haven’t named each piece as I created it … better make sure they are all signed too …

Worried that my obsession won’t make sense to anyone else … that is what the artist statement is for …

Have I created enough art? … doesn’t matter – it is a decent collection that will fill the space …

Butterflies starting to tickle as the time ticks closer … enjoy the moment …

4 weeks …. not panicking …. yet….

Star knot 3

8 weeks and counting…

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!

8 weeks and counting!

A Healthy Obsession…

I am delving deeper into an obsession and developing my solo exhibition ideas.

It is very exciting to be thinking about this – I hadn’t realised how much fun it would be to create a large body of work based around a central theme.

In the past I have normally only done one off’s or a small set of themed pieces.

To create 24 to 30 pieces all with the same subject matter was a bit daunting at first but as I began to look through old sketch books and scribbled notes I became more comfortable with the idea.  It seems that the subject matter has been haunting me for years and now it feels only natural to collect all the fragments together.

I am really looking forward to seeing how these works develop …

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starrynight

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.