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.
Inspiration…. it is something that seems to sneak up and tap you quietly on the shoulder to whisper sweet nothings in your ear. It is the idea hidden in an insect’s wing, or a child’s laugh. It appears in that half seen shadow at the corner of your mind.
For some people finding inspiration seems to be a struggle, for others the thought trigger got stuck on go.
Having an abundance of ideas might seem ideal for an artist. And invariably it is better than not having any at all, but it can also be a curse.
I am one of those people with lots of ideas. Some might say too many ideas.
My muse is constantly sitting on my shoulder and shouting in my ear to do this or that. Unfortunately the problem is that I have a lot of interests, and this encourages that screeching witch to continue her rant.
Painting, drawing, sculpting, beading, sewing, collage, pyrography, digital manipulation, lapidary, jewellery making, photography, writing, cooking, gardening, bonsai…. etc, etc.
Ideas for new projects are always near at hand. The quiet moments alone are filled with thoughts and images in my mind for something new and completely fabulous. Quite often however I don’t get the time to devote myself wholeheartedly to these fresh endeavours. This naturally means that I am the queen of half-started projects, and always have at least 3 on the go at any one time.
I love the beginnings of a new idea. That feeling that you are onto some extraordinary design.
And then when something that you have envisaged in your minds’ eye comes to life in your hands it is almost a godlike feeling. You are the origin of this fabulous piece of art. This thing you have fashioned from ideas and magic speaks to you during formation, and then is silent. It speaks to your audience once completed, and then the itch in your ear needs you to start something new again.
Inspiration for me comes in many different forms. I have two young girls and they influence a lot of my work. If I am ever after an idea of something to draw I just have to ask them. I have lost track of the number of butterflies or unicorns I am asked to create. Being children they also have a unique way of looking at the world so some of their ideas are completely off the wall, and sometimes it is just the seed of an idea which I then build up to something else. Like my flying elephant for example.
I also enjoy the outdoors. I grew up in a very small town in the Northern Territory surrounded by bush and beach, and occasionally find that I physically need to spend time amongst the trees or on a beach to help ground me. I collect leaves, feathers, nuts and seeds that spark my imagination for future pieces. Sometimes the actual items I collect become part of the art piece as in my mixed media bird…
Or this leaf…
Having spent a lot of time recently just sitting around, I have been keeping my muse at bay by literally working on 5 different projects at once. I have 3 pointillism pieces going into an exhibition at the end of the year. The piece below is titled “Parade of the Planets” and is done completely in pen dots…
Because of the repetitive nature of this work I am working on all three so that I don’t get bored, and just in case, I am constantly within arms’ reach of my sketch book. Which is how the below piece came into being…
Plus with Christmas just around the corner (only 75 days) I thought I would start on a set of cards, so I began doodling some illustration ideas…
Oh and I also have an idea for a childrens’ book I want to write …
And a series of pointillism pieces, done in pyrography, on reclaimed timber…
A steam punk inspired insect drawing …
I also need to finish that collage project …
And I really do need to have my own solo exhibition sometime soon … I have the theme sorted out, I’ve got the ideas …
Can someone find me some more time please …
And in the mean time I will work on silencing the muse ….
This post was going to be about inspiration, but that is going to have to wait for another day because I want to share something more personal.
There has been a lot of rhetoric about the arts. It seems that there are quite a few uninformed politicians and even some members of the general public who believe that “Art” has no value.
In Queensland funding has been reduced, courses dropped, awards axed. And it appears this diseased thinking will continue.
Art, in all its disciplines, permeates every single part of our modern lives.
You wake in the morning to your alarm clock playing a classic from “Queen”. Wearing your designer dressing gown, you collect the morning newspaper. Watching your favourite morning show on TV you notice an advert for the latest best seller from your favourite author. Using your “smart” device on the train allows you to catch up with the episode of that show you missed over the weekend. Later a friend calls to ask if you want to join them to see the new play at LaBoite. Then after work you go to the local pub to listen to live music.
And this scenario is just a tiny example. The reality is that art is literally everywhere and unless you live under a rock, in a cave, you are being exposed to some sort of art all the time.
Not only does art enhance life aesthetically but it also has other uses.
It has been proven that listening to music can help calm and heal. Artistic play helps children’s cognitive and communication skills develop. Carers for children within the autism spectrum and mental health workers use music/theatre and other art forms to connect with their charges.
I can personally attest to the fact that the act of creating art helps heal.
The first time I painted in acrylic’s I was going through one of the darkest times in my life.
I had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured at 12 weeks. I nearly lost my life. The weeks following that were difficult – I was healing physically – but emotionally I felt empty… like I had a hole where my heart should have been. I saw a psychologist and took little white pills for a while.
Then I picked up a paint brush and began to paint. What I painted wasn’t important as the mere act of pushing paint around a canvas was therapy in itself. An overnight cure it certainly wasn’t but it gave me a calm space in my mind to process feelings of guilt, longing and hurt. And eventually the darkness lifted and I was able to carry on with my life.
Since then I have found that quiet space extremely useful. Many times I have sat down to draw or paint and I am able to completely lose myself to the piece of art I am creating. I am one who tends to think way too much and stress is not my friend, so having the ability to still my mind is extremely valuable.
This skill has come into its own recently.
As some of you may know I have been very ill lately. I have an unexplained pain in my pelvis. Ultrasounds and CT Scans have left my doctors scratching their heads. I have endured 5 weeks of pain which at times is quite severe. I find walking uncomfortable and haven’t been getting much sleep.
One thing that I have been doing a lot of is my pointillism art. I am working on a set of three pieces based on the end of the world. Because of the nature of my pain, sitting and doing dot work is very therapeutic. It is like meditating. I am concentrating on where the next fall of the pen should be and not the pain in my tummy. I am sure that if it wasn’t for the distraction of completing these pieces I would be climbing the walls.
The next step is to do some exploratory surgery to hopefully find, and fix, the cause of my torture. I am booked into have a Laparoscopy next Wednesday. The fabulous doctor who saved my life 7 years ago will be the one performing the operation.
I wonder what sort of music will be playing in the background…