What’s My Scene… ?

One of the things I love about ART is that there are so many ways of expressing yourself. 

Painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, collage, mixed media, digital, landscape, seascape, cityscape, still life, illustration, printmaking, architecture,  portraiture, traditional, contemporary, realistic, naturalistic, conceptual, abstract…

Acrylics, oils, watercolours, gouache, pastels, charcoal, pen, ink, ceramics, wood, stone, bronze, glass, metal, natural fibres, leaves, bark, paper, wax, plastic, wire…

In fact the list is almost endless… just about any material can be used in just about any way to convey an idea to a viewer.

I personally have way too many interests.  I have dabbled in many different mediums and styles.  Ink and Brush, watercolours, pen, pencil/charcoal, pastels, collage, and am at TAFE studying acrylics at the moment.  Beading, sewing, sculpture and paper art are all things that I enjoy and would love to spend more time developing.

I completed the below pointillism for a portraiture competition recently. 

John Cleese in Pointillism

 This piece took me every spare moment I had available for about 2 weeks straight.   I found a photo of John Cleese on line and sketched the outlines onto my paper and then with a .005 felt tip pen spent hours doing individual tiny dots.  Not one single straight line exists in this drawing.  It is amazing how difficult it is to resist the urge to actually “draw”.  The finished piece is absolutely fantastic – I didn’t win anything but I am very proud of how it looks.

This next line drawing piece was inspired by a photo of my daughter and her dad fishing together. 

This style came about almost by accident.  My friends and I had gone to the Matisse exhibition in Brisbane for some inspiration, and then we had a life drawing session not long after.  I wasn’t getting the results I wanted from my usual methods so my lovely friend suggested I “leave something out” as we had seen Matisse do in his work.  So, I did, and the resulting piece was just lovely.  After some humming and ahhing I was encouraged to enter the piece into the 2012 Just Nudes exhibition where it sold and won Best in Show by a Local Artist.


 I enjoy the contour line drawing style because of its simplicity, the ability to convey a feeling in as few lines as possible.  And this style appeals to my eye.

But then I also love the colours and movement available with the use of watercolours.  This piece was inspired by the birds that sit in our front garden to eat the nectar in the native trees we have planted there.

I started using watercolours when I was asked to illustrate a book back in 2010, I had never used them before.  I had worked mainly in pastels or pencil.  I like to think I still have a lot to learn with them.

But with some artists you just have to look at their work and immediately you know who created a particular piece.   

I am not there yet, and I am not sure I want to be there.  I am still having fun, and learning about different mediums and what results can be achieved.   

For a long time I have worried that my art didn’t speak.  I have been to many different exhibitions and read a lot of artist statements about why they created a particular piece or series of works.  And quite a few of them talk about what it is they are trying to say with their art.

I don’t create a piece to voice an opinion, or impart a message. 

I create art because I “feel” it.  I am inspired by many different things and often an idea for a piece will just emerge and I am compelled to create it. 

One of the best things I have done for myself and my art is to put myself “out there”.  This year I made a resolution to actively get my work into the public eye.  I have entered exhibitions, I have deliberately put more work on line, and I have sought other avenues to promote my art.  One of these ways is the Handmade Highstreet Shop in Annerley, QLD, and the other was the Sunset Markets in Ipswich, QLD.

The quickest way to build self-confidence is to stand on the side of the road with a selection of work and let complete strangers critique you.  The very first day was gut-churning and nerve wracking!  As any artist will tell you putting work in the public eye is hard, standing next to it and trying to sell it is harder!  At least at first.

I have met many, many different people.  Some just give a cursory glance and continue walking, others pause and make appreciative noises.  And then some people share with you a personal story about why a particular piece of art made them stop.

I am at the very beginning of my journey, and because of all these reasons, I am going to continue to create art simply “because”.  I am going to continue to use different styles and mediums because different images simply “feel” better in a certain medium or style.  And I am going to continue to push myself creatively till it all just clicks into place. 

I don’t want to be pigeon-holed, but it would be cool to think that one day someone will look at my work and say “That is an Andrea Baumert Howard original!”

The unorganised housewife

Do you ever wish that you had a super power that gave you more time in the day? 

My friend and I were having a chat the other night about how busy we both are at the moment.  Between doing homework (we both study), looking after the kids, running a household, family and community commitments and working on our respective small businesses there isn’t much time left over for “me” time or to simply get creative.

I worked out that I need to be more organised with my time. 

It’s not that I don’t have the time – it’s just that I am not very disciplined with the time I do have.  Somehow I always end up staying up really late, and feeling terrible the next morning, because I have set myself some ridiculous deadlines.   And I am the type of person who constantly has more than one project on the go, my mind is always ticking over with other ideas of things I would like to do – if only I had the time…

One of the things that seem to get away from me is the mess in the studio…  before I start any new project I have to tidy my space only to have it be a total jumble the next day…

I am extremely lucky to be able to have one room of our house dedicated to my art.  I started out with a corner of a desk in the home office, and then moved to a desk of my own in the corner of the lounge room and graduated to this…  somehow this room doesn’t seem to be big enough anymore. 

 

Here you can see at least 3 projects that I have started.  And believe it or not this is actually tidy!

Anyone who has ever been invited into my home will tell you that I give the illusion of being organised and have an immaculate house.  I am also extremely lucky that I have a very accepting and helpful husband… without his help I am sure we would be living like those hoarders you sometimes see on telly.  After all, my philosophy really is Art before Housework… well let’s face it the reality is that it’s Anything before Housework… for example here are the 3 baskets of laundry I am ignoring in favour of writing this…

 

They are clean – I just haven’t found the time to put them away – yet!

This week I have to finish a portrait for a competition I have entered.  I fussed and fidgeted with several idea’s and then settled on doing a pointillism piece, which looks fantastic and will be gorgeous when it’s finished BUT it is taking forever because it contains several dark shadows and is naturally humungous!  The size of the piece is approx 38cm x 38cm, which doesn’t sound too bad till you realise that there are NO straight lines and everything is done in thousands of tiny dots created with the tip of a felt pen!  Apparently I enjoy this sort of torture!

If you throw in a couple of sick kids, self imposed pressure to create new work for the markets, and the competition deadline, there really isn’t much room for procrastination – but I have to admit I am guilty of that too!

I really want my art to become a full time occupation for me, so I have decided that I need to start treating it more like a job instead of a crazy hobby.  One of the things that I need to do to make this happen is to be more accountable with my time – sounds easy enough… I went out and bought myself a diary and whiteboard for the studio wall.  I have started a to-do list.

I am also going to have to slow down a little, finish a project (or two) and allow myself to take the time to relax and enjoy the creative side of this adventure.

Hopefully these simple little changes will help give me that super power control over time…

Andrea 🙂

Hello world!

ART Before HOUSEWORK

I am a wife, mother and emerging artist.

I love that term “emerging artist”, it makes me think of the transformation that a caterpillar undergoes.  It’s a bit how I feel about my own journey into the art world.

This blog will be the place I share this adventure.  I will talk about what I am doing, my current projects, my inspirations, frustrations and self doubt.

I must admit I am a bit nervous because I am new to this.  A friend pointed out that I am, in a way, already blogging my journey through my postings on my “Art Before Housework” Face Book page, (which I will link here somewhere once I work out what I am doing), but I want this blog to be different to that.

Today I want to talk a bit about dreams.

Not the kind you have while you sleep, but the “what if” sort of dreams.  The ones where you daydream about what life could be like if you were able to fulfil some lifelong ambition. 

Some dreams are obvious, like furthering your career or having a family, buying a new car, going on an overseas holiday.  Others are hidden just below the surface and we don’t even know they are there, it’s not until we scratch an itch that we begin to see what they are.

When I was younger I had daydreams of becoming an author – I would see myself sitting at a desk, cat on my lap and one of those big old typewriters in front of me, piles of paper on the desk.  And for a long time I pursued this dream in my spare time, I have many, many pages of different half finished stories.  I have created characters and even a pseudonym to write under.  But it was always just a dream – something to do when I retired from a “real” job.

Fast forward to 2006, we started a family and I quit my “real” job to raise my daughter.  This was a decision my husband and I made before we fell pregnant, I was going to be a stay at home mum.  I knew that when I went back to work I wanted to work from home so that I could still be there for my family when they needed me.  For years I thought up ideas for home-based business’, from party plans to service type ventures.  Nothing seemed right. 

I began toying with the idea of writing children’s books.  I developed a character but the story just didn’t come to me.  I had always drawn and painted for personal fun or gifts for family and friends so the idea of illustrating my own book really appealed to me.  But as it sometimes happens, life gets in the way, we had another baby and everything got put on hold.

Then one day I was asked to illustrate a book for charity.  I naturally jumped at the chance.  It was a huge learning curve as I had never done anything like that before.  All my previous works were one off’s, in this instance however I had to create a series of pieces that told a story.  It was also the first time I had worked with watercolours, which was another whole learning experience again. 

I realised that although I could draw I wasn’t up to the standards that I thought an “illustrator” should be.  I searched out books and websites to help me learn how to draw better.  I read a lot of different artist’s blogs and came across some things that really spoke to me.  One of them said something along the lines of “inside every one of us is 100,000 bad drawings, so it is best to get as many of them out onto paper so that you can get down to the good ones”.  Another site talked about an artist who was drawing a dog everyday till it got to the point where he would doodle a dog without even looking at his page.

It was these two things that helped me with the next stages of my journey.  I challenged myself to do a drawing a day and posted these on my personal Face Book page.  I got such a fabulous response that I was encouraged to continue, and so I started my “Art Before Housework” page as a way of keeping myself honest and consistently working to improve.

I never knew I wanted to be an artist.  It wasn’t until I scratched an itch and followed through with a dream that the ambition came to me.

I entered several competitions over the past 2 years.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I won the 2012 Just Nudes Best in Show by an Ipswich Artist.  Since then I have been commissioned for several pieces and my work is represented in a number of private collections.  My work is available at Handmade Highstreet in Annerley and I am at the Sunset Markets at the Top Of Town in Ipswich every Friday from 3-7pm. 

And all this after only playing with an idea for fun.  I have to keep pinching myself to see if I am going to wake up…

Do you have an itch you need to scratch? It is never too late to find out…

Andrea 🙂