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!

 

 

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”.

 

 

DSCN3734

 

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!

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.