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!
So far I have already completed four pieces for my planned solo exhibition. I entered two into a competition, (didn’t win anything but that wasn’t the point of it), and have created another two pieces for the annual local competition/exhibition Ipswich Art Awards, aaaannndd I have another two pieces planned for the Lethbridge 10000 small works competition.
I am so in love with my latest finished piece – I really think it is my best work so far!
But, I am keeping this one secret till the exhibition… you may have seen a couple of sneak peeks on my Facebook page in the last couple of weeks…
I will say that it is a children’s illustration inspired piece and it features a little girl and a wolf.
In between all this creative stuff I have been trying to update my CV and images on both this blog and my Facebook page. Turns out I am not that great at record keeping – I never seem to find time to upload these pics… and I have to remember to scan or photograph them in the first place.
Anyway – I have to get some of this stuff done in the next few weeks because we are going on a family holiday at the end of the month and won’t be home for 4 weeks! Really excited and looking forward to reconnecting with the little people in my family.
Needless to say the sketch book will be coming with me 🙂
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.
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.
One of my pieces was used as part of the promotion for the 2013 Home Grown Exhibition.
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.
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.
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)…
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…
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 …
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…