I've left it in an 'interview like format' because I really liked answering it in that way.. and editing down to a succint, slick, paragraph just is NOT my current happy place forte!
One of the most interesting things for me to note when spending time with these questions.. was my subject choice and the feeling I desire to evoke in my paintings... I didn't know it at the time, but perhaps each one was healing a little part of me.... and I guess it goes without saying.. why there may be a tinge or more than a tinge of sadness in some of the faces that have showed up on my canvas's. It's a curious path.
I make art to ease the agitation I feel when I am not creating something. I make art to free a part of myself that needs this to be alive. For over a decade I made art as a celebration of fun and freedom, now I am learning to explore other avenues into my creative expression and not just when I am feeling happy.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE IT,
I have been inspired by my teachers and other artists who have gone before me, there is something in me that positively lights up when I visit a gallery or exhibition, some artworks take me to a place of pure bliss and even a natural high at the energy and beauty I sense and feel in their presence. The fact that an image can come through an artist onto a blank canvas is still a mystery for me and I love that. I have been drawn to images of feminine figures long before I started learning to paint in 1999. Some I have been inspired by include : Chagall, Klimt, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Whitely, fashion designer Valentino, and icon Audrey Hepburn.
WHAT IT SIGNIFIES OR REPRESENTS,
I would say most of my artwork at least in the first decade signified or represented a light and happy side of life, celebratory of feminine fun and freedom. It was in contrast to all of the negativity I had experienced in the preceding years before painting became such an integral and wonderful part of my life. Things such as alcoholism in a parent, domestic violence, hideously low self esteem, an abusive relationship, a cult-like church experience for many years, and the absolutely life shattering event of my sister being murdered. I made no place to paint any of this. I did not know how to approach it creatively.
WHAT ABOUT FORMAL STUDY,
I have not engaged in traditional university study of art. Partly due to fear of not meeting the standards they require and partly due to just plain not wanting to fit into the deemed worthy parameters of academic artistic value and expression. To be judged and moulded and critiqued...(my inner critic has done a pretty savage job of that already) my fragile self just wasn't up for that. As I write and contemplate this, my current leaning is that my arrogant or bold self just won’t have it. Maybe one day when I grow up I might venture in to that, maybe not.
HOW YOU MAKE IT,
I make my art mostly by a process of many layers, it undergoes fine tuning and transformations along the way until it reaches a place that I am satisfied to let it be. (I have had to adopt a sense of the 80/20 rule... if I can’t be 100% happy with it, then 80% is workable, and there is always another opportunity on the next canvas/board/paper). Perfectionism is a harsh master, and I cannot let her rule entirely because I would never deem anything as done or enough.
In 2013 I have been studying under Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud who has introduced me to her Color of Woman Method, which is based heavily in Contemporary Symbolism. It is a welcome extension to my previous style and subject - still working with the feminine, but in a richer, deeper, more soulful context I feel.
WHAT IT'S MADE OUT OF,
I began by exclusively using acrylic on canvas, guided for 4 years with lessons from talented artist Peter Hales, in recent times I have been introduced to the wild wonderful world of art journaling by Effy Wild, thereby giving way to working on paper. Another new medium I am exploring and enjoying is working on wood.
WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU
Painting has become my sacred practice, it connects me to Source and celebrates all of my feelings and emotions. My passion is to connect with others in ways that have us both feeling nurtured, energised, validated and liberated. It means I have found my place in the world, creative expression is home to me, it’s not always easy and comfortable, but it’s where I feel drawn to, time and time again.