This month is art vs artist month.
It is a time where artists share a social media post with a photo of themselves and a selection of art they created during the year. It is a time for reflection and checking in with your audience.
I hopped on the bandwagon too but decided to go a bit further with it.
The first image is the art I am most proud of making this year. Reflecting back on how it has changed from last year, this year my love of nature has definitely shone through.
I live in the Blue Mountains and am surrounded by the bush. I have a fantastic garden full of natives and a succulent and cacti garden.
We have possums, a myriad of birds, lizards, snakes and bugs that come to visit.
I get a lot of inspiration from the sounds, the quiet, the colours, the growth, the cycles.
In my 40s, I am feeling my flow and am dedicating more time to paint, more time listening to me and more time to be playful on paper, more time to share my story, more time to hone my message and help you feel empowered through my art.
I decided not to teach online classes for kids when lockdown hit as I knew my limit of having my day job and having to school my kids in isolation. Flashbacks of the stress and burn out I felt from the previous year's lockdown came flashing back.
Saying no meant that I had more time to paint. I even took a holiday from my day job during lockdown and it was wonderous. I painted and did my art business 7 days in a row and it was heaven. I was so productive.
Anyway, here is the first image...
SOLD & COMMISSIONED
The second image is a selection of artworks I sold and was commissioned to do.
I created Nora & Marg (middle left) as a tribute to my Great Aunty Marg. She is a very special painting and I wanted to make sure it went to the right person. My friend Beck is a massive supporter of my art owning 4 artworks and buying my Redbubble products and cards as gifts. She is also a nature lover. As soon as she saw her, she bought it so I can visit her whenever I like and know that she will be cherished.
I had quite a few commissions from newborn presents, birthday presents and new Mumma presents.
I always get scans of my art so I can make products and prints of them, so don't feel like you missed out if it was sold.
The third image is artworks I made for myself or very personal gifts for friends. 2 friends lost their parents at the end of last year and this year so I gifted them something with hope.
I completed my Triple Moon Goddess mosaic that took me over a year most fortnights to create.
I did a paper sculpture course with my Aunty at Mountaed Ari hosted by Jane Lennon and felt like I was in my element. I made a bowl and a cactus with matching planter.
I also did art journaling pages which is mostly the type of art I make for myself.
It allows me time to be still, to listen, to reconnect, to ask and answer questions and to feel connected to something bigger than me.
Kick Arse were my words for the year (top middle). It did not go to plan at all with lockdown happening for months but I kicked arse in new ways getting to paint more when my classes weren't on and spending more time doing art biz stuff. That will be another post down the track!
Art is a healer, whatever shit is hitting the fan, it has a way of getting answers out of you and helping you grow. It can be playful and fun, intuitive, purposeful, messy or precise, calming or frustrating. Either way you come out the other end with something deep from within, something you can learn and grow from.
Art is an experience not just something pretty on a wall.
I'd love to know what it is that you do just for you.
THEN & NOW
The last image is taking stock, looking back to where it all began and the journey on the way.
I don’t particularly remember being that arty as a child. I remember being surrounded by my creative family – both my Nanny’s, my aunty, my dad. I always loved being on the tools with dad.
I remember colouring in and sewing with my nanny and the beautiful china paintings and embroideries my both nanny’s would do.
I did art in high school but my teacher played favourites and I wasn't a fan. I gave it a miss in year 11 and 12.
When I left school I moved in with a beautiful family as their nanny for 3 years and attended community college courses to pass the days when the kids were in school. I loved these classes. I learned to sketch, use watercolours, acrylics and pastels. I loved life drawing. I made silver jewellery. I did pottery. I did picture framing. I did a small biz course and learnt Spanish for a 4 month trip to South America.
Years went by and I made my own art in my spare time and had a solo show in a cafe in Dulwich Hill. I had big plans of quitting my day job and running my own art biz but I was a baby and really had no idea what I was doing.
I got married and had kids and my art tapered off for a long while. Everything sat in the garage packed away.
I discovered Leonie Dawson and Tamara Laporte and my world began to change. My relationship was very rocky and the art I was doing with them helped me to realise what I wanted out of life. It was to not be in a toxic relationship anymore. I left and began to paint and work out who the heck I was after being in a relationship with the same person for exactly 1/2 my life.
Home schooling my kids helped me discover my love of teaching. I ran a weekly group for a year then started teaching private classes and group holiday classes. It has grown from there. Now I teach 12 kids every week! Even though it is only an hour a week, I am deeply invested in their wellbeing and confidence to create art freely and to feel like they have a voice and a safe place to be themselves.
Their mums wanted in on the action too, so I started teaching classes for busy mums which has evolved into Mindfulness Through Art classes for everyone. I love helping women find their inner voice and speak it through art, even if they think they aren’t creative. These classes aren’t just about the art, it is about the journey.
I paint to help my mental health. Art has helped me through all sorts of tricky situations. It helps me give a voice to the words I can’t articulate. If I am feeling down or out of sorts, stressed or anxious, it is usually because I haven’t painted in a while, haven’t had time to be myself. As soon as I get started a wave of relief rushes over me. Art is my happy place. Mum’s think making time for yourself is bottom of the list and we often feel guilty. I don’t think that way anymore. Sometimes it is my survival technique when things are really bad. It makes me happy and gives me insight. If I am happy then everyone else is happy because I am able to cope better. If the kids eat chips for breakfast one day because I need to get all my emotions out onto the page, they aren’t going to be harmed. Sometimes I need to put myself first.
I paint my strong, mindful women and Goddesses because women are more than careers, workers, housewives. We are multifaceted superwomen and we deserve to feel heard. It is about time we put ourselves first and do what makes us happy, check in and see if we are on the right path and dream big! Art is an experience and I hope having one of my artworks in your home inspires this.
So what is next?
I haven't sat down and done my planning for next year yet but on the cards is:
* More online courses.
* Getting back to teaching Mindfulness Through Art classes now that things are the new norm.
* Of course, I am going to keep on painting
* Creating the calendar I had planned for this year
* Beginnings of a Mindfulness Journal type of thing. The idea has been buzzing around my head for a while.
Maybe you have some ideas for me too?
What have you loved this year?
Why have you stuck around?
What do you want to see more of?
What new things do you want to see?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
I can’t imagine my life without art! I need a creative purpose.
If you want to tap into this too but are feeling a little bit apprehensive, send me an email and we can work out a way to start small and gain confidence.
In the mean time, if you want to be playful and have a bit of fun at home, I have a free course Things That Make Me Happy. It was the first thing I ever recorded and did it to keep people connected during lockdown last year.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and everything you dreamed for in 2022.
Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to this small biz girl.