Updated: Jul 17, 2019
School started back this week after the Easter holidays. I have been procrastinating and spending too much time scrolling on social media, when I know I have a really long list of things to do for my business. I am committed to working my butt off this year by promoting myself and creating more art.
So here goes…
One of the things on my "to do list" is to blog regularly. I have a very long, ever changing list of blog topics, and the most pressing one is to let you all know about the services I offer and see if any of them speak to you.
I should probably give you a little bit of background information before we get started.
Who am I? For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jade Forder, I live in the Blue Mountains, Australia and I wear many hats. I am a mum to 3 boys, I am a partner, I have a part time job that I have been in for 13 years this year which is not very creative, but I always find ways to get around that. My purpose in life is to create, and share it. That is what I was born to do. I am a self taught mixed media artist and I set aside one day a week to create, just for me. I regularly enter local art shows, I have had 3 solo exhibitions and have another one booked for June next year. A few years ago when I home schooled my own children, I discovered my passion for teaching kids, which lead me to start teaching art classes.
This is the shortlist of what I do in my creative business:
· Make mixed media art
· Sell my art
· Take commissions
· Facilitate kid’s art classes – groups or one on one
· Run kids holiday art workshops
· Facilitate Art Classes for Busy Mums
· Host “Drop in Friday” art journaling classes
· Adult and child classes
Here is each one in finer detail.
I MAKE ART
Making art isn’t just a creative outlet to get paintbrush to paper. It pushes you and challenges you. It takes you to places you hadn’t thought of. It makes you listen to your intuition and overcome any negative voices. It is daunting and frustrating and is beautiful and rewarding at the same time. It can be intentional or unintentional. It can be healing and help you overcome. It can be familiar or be a learning curve. It can be grounding and an anchor when things around you are changing.
Making art for me, is all these things and more.
“I make art to show my soul I am listening”
I set aside one day a week to paint with my painting buddy Cindy, which we have been doing for 3 years now. I have had a huge shift in my personal life in this time and it has grounded me, especially when I had my son almost 2 years ago. Being an artist is who I am. Just because I was pregnant or had had my baby, didn’t mean I was going to let that part of me go. On the contrary, it was more important to keep that part of me as I was giving the rest of me to everyone else. This is a whole other blog topic! My almost 2 year old has seen me do this every week and sits at the table with me whenever I paint, with a pencil and paper. I love that it is normal for him. He tells me what he is drawing, or I ask him to draw something and he is so serious about it. It is so cute!
Making art is also a release. Quite often I fill the blank page with words before I start an artwork. I purge whatever is going on in my life and get it all out before I start. It is uplifting and freeing and gives me space to move forward to make something positive. This process has helped me through all sorts of situations.
My artworks are almost all mixed media. I LOVE texture! My paintings have layers upon layers of collage paper, acrylic and water colour paint, ink, washi tape, pens, sometimes beads or jewellery and anything else that tickles my fancy.
I paint female portraits and abstracts.
My girls are Goddesses. They are strong women who have a story to tell, they are feminine yet don’t conform, they have secrets, they have an inner peace, they are self-reflecting, they are manifesters of their desires, they make the rules, they are compassionate, they have lessons to learn and lessons to pass on, they are spiritual, they are lovers, they are loyal, they know what they want.
The other art I create is more playful. It uses the abstraction method.
What on earth is that you ask?
Well it is unintentional fun! You pick 3-4 warm or cool colours and paint blobs on the page. You can join them up or have spaces in between. You then pick 3-4 of the opposite colours to what you started with - warm or cool colours. You can then add some black or white or leave it as is. Then it is time to sit and observe. This might take a while and you must turn the page round a few times until shapes or figures jump out at you. The figures or shapes are then the basis for your painting.
Here is an example. I started with cool colour blobs then used stencils to paint warm colours over the top. The blue jumped out at me as a girl and a reindeer, so I worked on them with more paint and markers to bring them to life.
I SELL MY ART
I have my art available to view in person at my home.
My art is available to view and purchase on my website www.creativeabyss.net.
I am ridiculously excited to be having my first solo show at Platform Gallery in Katoomba in June 2020. As quoted on thier website, they “prioritise artists whose work has a progressive social agenda, and we particularly want to support those who have fewer opportunities in the art world, including women, GLBTIQA+ artists, artists with disabilities, artists of colour and Indigenous artists”.
I love that they have a dedicated emerging artist exhibition space where students, hobbyists and new artists can apply to exhibit. It is not just for the big guns, everyone has a fair go. I get the feeling that they really back their artists and they have a lot to offer. They have feminist book clubs, they have their Ask A Curator blog page with tips for artists on how to run their business.
“As part of the NSW Government Business Connect program, you can get 4 free sessions of business advice that's tailored to creatives and freelancers”. There is a lot of support there and I am tingly all over at the thought of getting to be a part of their community.
I take commissions for children’s collages as well as art for adults. Lots of examples of these can be seen on my website.
Style 1 is to use a child's name and any other details such as birth weight, height etc. These are popular for new babies and birthdays or Christmas presents for any age. I create a background using my own made collage paper and use a contrasting colour for the name. They are A4 and framed.
Style 2 is when you give me a theme to work on. This is more intensive and can be up to A3 size and framed.
For adult artworks my process is to speak to you and work out your needs. Using that information, I create an inspiration board on Pinterest. I share the board with you and talk over my ideas for your own unique artwork and get to work!
I take 50% deposit and 50% on completion. I am in contact with you throughout the whole process and send progress shots along the way. People who come to me for commissions are already familiar with my work and know I like to use all sorts of materials. Depending on the subject matter, your picture could have all sorts of details added such as paper bark, gem stones, wood, stones or fabric. If there is a particular material you would like or definitely don’t like, just let me know.
KIDS ART CLASSES
My aim for the kids in these lessons is to give them the tools and confidence to create wherever they are. I want them to look around the house or in whatever environment they are in and use what they have, not be dependent on expensive supplies. By coming to a group lesson, I want them to realise that everyone is different, we all have different ideas and skills and they can learn from each other. The kids love to have a sticky beak and talk about what each other are doing and why. It is amazing how different ideas come out of the same class.
My motto is "There are no mistakes in art, only happy surprises".
If something doesn’t happen as expected, the kids can learn from it and work out how to turn it into something else. I have found this to be a great confidence boosting tool for kids and it helps them to problem solve. I often show them examples of my own mishaps and tell them how I got around them to create something even better than I first imagined. I have drummed it into the kids and they love to parrot me if someone is new, learning the ropes, or upset with how something has turned out.
I want the kids to use their imagination and not copy from me or anyone else. I get frustrated by the way art is taught to big classes in main stream schools. I understand why it has to be taught that way, but I feel like it stifles their creativity. When the kids come to my classes, it takes a few lessons for them to be reminded that it is their artwork. They can put a line or a colour wherever they like, they don’t need my permission.
I offer the techniques and I want them to use their own ideas to create their masterpiece.
My teaching style is laid back, fun and encouraging. The kids have usually already had a snack and a quick run around so are happy to come and sit for class. I encourage conversation, but respectfully, only when I have finished explaining the lesson or the next steps and not over the top of others.
I only have 2 "rules", which I go over in class –
1. Be respectful of each other and yourselves and as I have already mentioned
2."There are no mistakes in art, only happy surprises".
I have a dedicated art space in the middle of my house. It is a fun place that can get messy. I am not precious about my tools or paints or tables.
I don't do anything for them unless they are really struggling, and I can see that it is getting them down.
My own kids often join the class including my toddler who can often be found with a pencil in his hand drawing away (hopefully on paper!).
Here are some examples artworks:
I run group lessons during school term for up to 6 kids in my home in Winmalee, NSW, Australia.
The program is usually 10 weeks long, once a week and 1 hour long. The returning kids and I brain storm things they would like to learn or get better at the next term. I also incorporate ideas I think look fun and challenging.
I create an inspiration board on Pinterest. For the parents who want to follow this board, it gives them in idea of what their child will be doing in class. For the kids, I show them examples of what other people have made with our theme for the day.
We have had all sorts of lessons from papier mache to water colour birds, embroidery to self-portraits, jewellery making to manga.
I also run one off 1:1 classes which are popular as birthday and Christmas presents or as a taster for kids who aren’t sure if they want to do a full term. These can be organised at any time and don’t need to be during the school term. I speak to you beforehand and tailor the class to your child. These can be 1hr or longer depending on what you would like.
I like to run these workshops at least twice a year. They are a fun way for friends to reconnect during the holidays or for kids to meet new friends.
They are small classes, 4-6 kids depending on what we are doing and how much space we need.
I run 2 classes a day so your kids can come to one, or stay and have a play before the next one starts.
I try and incorporate the outdoors in some lessons, weather permitting. We could be collecting things from nature or weaving with nails and wool. Otherwise we could be doing a collaboration, altered books or clay sculptures. The ideas are endless!
Programs will be posted to the Creative Abyss Facebook page
ART CLASSES FOR BUSY MUMS
I started offering Art Classes For Busy Mums for a few reasons:
My #1 reason is that us Mum's don't spend enough time making ourselves happy and I think we bloody deserve it! Do you spend way too much time giving? To your kids? To your partner? To your pets? Do you ever get time just to SIT and do something just for YOU without being interrupted? Do you feel like a part of you went missing when you became a mum? Art Classes for Busy Mums offers a space to be yourself. Absolutely no art experience necessary. Come and chill the hell out and make time for you!
#2. You will have fun hanging out with friends and meet new people.
#3. You will have a huge sense of accomplishment busting out something you n