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Artist Interview: Tracey Fletcher King


Australian artist Tracey Fletcher King is one of my top favourite contemporary artists. I simply adore her unique style of art. Tracey is a wonderful teacher whose enthusiasm and love for artistic expression instills confidence and pride in the work of her students. I could easily wax lyrical about how her work continues to inspire me, year in and year out;   instead here is Tracey to speak for herself in the interview below the demonstration video. I have no doubt that you too will fall in love with her work.

  • Who are you and what do you do?

I am an artist, and illustrator and a teacher. I work for a lot of companies producing illustrations of their products for them to use online and for marketing which is creatively challenging and a great way of keeping my eye in and my skills strong. I keeps sketchbooks which I draw in constantly, paint for myself and my own enjoyment, as well as to create prints to sell online, and work with an interior designer painting large scale abstract acrylic paintings which I love creating because they are the opposite of everything else I do. Plus there is online teaching. My life is one big creative ride

  • Why do you do what you do?

Because I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is never boring, I get challenged constantly and I get to change between different creative modes… it is kind of perfect so why mess with it.

  • How do you work?

I try, but usually fail to work in a very organised manner. I work long hours and have a lot of balls in the air so I tend to work on illustration in the mornings and painting and abstracts in the afternoon. I always warm up with a sketch or two, and often end the day the same way. Some days it works, but others I work all day on one thing or another. My big goal for 2016 is to take two days a week off from work. Not quite achieving that at the moment, but I am certainly getting better organised.

Tracey Fletcher King. My Week, Sept 2015, Watercolour and ink, 210mm x 297mm
Tracey Fletcher King. My Week, Sept 2015, Watercolour and ink, 210mm x 297mm
  • What’s your background?

I was an art teacher after leaving university. I taught in secondary and primary school environments before taking a break and traveling and living overseas over a period of 9 years. In that time I rediscovered painting and sketching for the love of it. I came home full time and went back to uni again and did a Masters in art education, majoring in creativity theory and ran a small art school. I then got into botanical art as a way to get my skills back and rediscovered the joy of keeping a sketchbook, and it has all gone on from there.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

To work… I hear a lot of people complain they can’t think of things to paint or draw etc, but to me it doesn’t matter what you draw or work on just work… You will produce lots of rubbish work, but you will produce some gems as well. I do know that you won’t produce anything great unless you are actually giving it a go. Plus a “bad” painting or drawing can lead to many many new and interesting things to explore. The only way you can guarantee you won’t create anything you feel is of value is to be not working, so just bloody jump in and cram in as much work as you can.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

I think the artist has the role of being a recorder of the life of the artist. The sights, the emotions, the experiences… it is all about exploring a world visually. We are so good at talking about things, or reading about them, but we need to also explore visually, and with the rise of a technological based world and the increase in manipulation of images using photoshop and things. I think that artists bring an authenticity to the visual world.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

Having cancer and going through a year of heavy treatment. It changed everything for me on every level. It allowed me to be more fearless and open post treatment, and to not sweat any of the small stuff.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

Look, see, draw, paint, create, explore, make, splash, film, edit, photograph, share, research, improvise and teach

  • How has your practice change over time

It has changed radically over the years. Some things stay the same in terms of techniques and materials, but mostly I tend to not plan or try to control the path of things, and so it goes where it goes. I adapt as opportunities come my way and see what happens. Sounds a bit airy fairy but for me control is the worst thing. Trying to force things is like a hammer to my creativity so I tend to just see what is coming up next and go with that. It has opened up so many more opportunities and made my work a lot more exciting and fun.

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Tracey Fletcher King. Crushing it, 2015. Watercolour and ink. 210mmx 297 mm
  • What art do you most identify with?

I love art with strong colour and great lines. I like artists like Cressida Campbell who manage to infuse the ordinary with a kind of magical atmosphere. Her lines and use of colour are so perfect they make me feel a bit giddy when I look at them. But I love strong colours like Matisse and the clear blues of Brett Whitely and the atmospheric landscapes of William Robinson. There are so many artists and styles of art that I am drawn to from contemporary work by people like Tracey Emin through to some of the contemporary Australian artist like Tracey Moffatt, through to more traditional depictions… I could write pages on this question alone so I might just leave it there.

  • What work do you most enjoying doing?

I like being able to mix it up between the illustrative style of work and large scale work. I enjoy the abstracts, but I have started creating large canvases of close ups of floral blooms, and things I love like perfume bottles and am very inspired by that direction at the moment.

  • What themes do you pursue?

I like art as a record of my life and the world around me. I am not into big themes so much as recording my world and interests visually. That is what interests and inspires me.

  • What’s your favourite art work?

I couldn’t choose… that is like a Sophie’s Choice type question for me… how could I choose without upsetting other ones…

  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Real life inspires me every day. I try to find inspiration in the objects and items around me and it is endlessly inspiring once you give yourself permission to examine the mundane as subjects. I love that my morning cuppa can inspire me to pick up a pen and brush. That is what it is all about I think.

Tracey Fletcher King. Minis. 2015. Watercolour, ink and gouache. 150mm x 220 mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Minis. 2015. Watercolour, ink and gouache. 150mm x 220 mm
  • Why art?

There are other things in life???… Other ways to express yourself??? Who knew… Can’t imagine anything would do as good a job as art

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

An artistic outlook to me means that you look for opportunities to find the visually interesting parts of your world. That you look to be inspired and express yourself.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

The most memorable are often the negative… people belittling what you do, dismissing it as feminine and not dealing with big themes… things like that. Or people being surprised that you created something… the good old… you did that??? You? Really? Never would have picked that… I have taught myself to  loooove those comments because it reinforces that I am pushing myself , that I am not leading the expected life and that I am being true to me.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I quite like the alone ness of it… I don’t feel lonely and quite like hiding in the studio and creating, but I find it hard not to have people around me who can understand the process and the trials of creating. For that I have some good friends both in real life and online who I chat with regularly and skype with. Being able to chat to a fellow creative on the other side of the world and show them what I am working on and discussing it in real time is one of the great joys of the time we live in I think.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

I hate the elitist attitudes, the misogyny and the crap that goes along with so much of it. No time for that rubbish and posturing.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

Not much to tell you the truth. I try to not judge or reflect on the actual work too much as I think it is counterproductive… I wish I was more organised I think… but overall despite it sounding a tad arrogant. I kind of like what I do.

  • What do you like about your work?

I like that my work reflects me and that it tells the story of my life visually and reflects my interests and personality. I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer a few years ago and the prognosis was pretty dire, and I found it was comforting to think that my work was there as a record that I had been here if that makes sense. I can look back and trace things I have seen, done and experienced through going through my sketchbooks or leafing through my work. I love that journey being there.

Tracey Fletcher King. Bottle, 2015, Ballpoint pen, 150mm x 220 mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Bottle, 2015, Ballpoint pen, 150mm x 220 mm
  • Should art be funded?

I find this one a tough one. On one hand I feel that it should be, and hate the amount of funding that goes to bloody sport. But then I worry that all the funding will go to niche areas. I would like to see the arts better funded in schools so that we can get ‘em young and expose as many young people to art as possible. That way they will hopefully grow up to be participants and interact with art later in life.

  • What role does arts funding have?

I think that the role is to allow people to create art and to disseminate the ideas of art and to be good advocates. I think in the visual arts we are very poor advocates for the value and role that art plays in all of our lives, so funding directed not just to exhibiting artists, but to training people to be better at advocating for the arts would be useful.

  • What research to you do?

I am a voracious reader of all things art related, and love reading biographies of artists, and people in the creative arts in general. I have a huge collection of art books, and also books on things like urban sketching and graphic novels as I find them endlessly inspiring. I tend to research for inspiration… though I still read the latest on areas like creativity theory thanks to my post graduate study. It is endlessly fascinating to me.

  • What is your dream project?

It isn’t something I worry about. I figure I am living my artistic dreams so all is pretty good. Having said that I am building and filming online classes I will be teaching in coming months and it is pretty cool to be able to plan and create a course not having to consider syllabi and rubbish like that. Teaching without external constraints is pretty cool.

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Comparison is like a disease… I just don’t do it, and don’t even want to think about this one.

  • Favourite or most inspirational place

My studio. I get to surround myself with work by people I love, objects that inspire me or are meaningful to me, and I get to leaf back through sketchbooks and things. Doesn’t get much better than that I don’t think.

Tracey Fletcher King. Teaspoon Header, Dec 2014, Watercolour, acrylic paint, gouache, ephemera, and ink, 180mm x 420mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Teaspoon Header, Dec 2014, Watercolour, acrylic paint, gouache, ephemera, and ink, 180mm x 420mm
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t edit your ideas. If you want to draw or paint something then don’t get in and place a value judgement as to whether it will be worthy or interesting enough, just paint the bloody thing. If it is an idea then it is worth pursuing even if you end up discarding it down the track, just don’t throw it out before you have explored it.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

I am living it. To set up the classroom where I can run classes that I would like, and to keep working in the varied artistic fields I work in. Just keep doing it …

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

Art.

To follow Tracey’s work or to sign up for one of her classes please follow the links below.

Tracey’s website and newsletter sign up, art blogPinterestInstagram Facebook: Personal ProfileBusiness page

You’ve Been Thunderstruck


Ben Quilty, 2010. Angus Young from AC/DC. 146 x 185 cm. Accessed from: http://www.artofmusic.com.au/previous-years/2010/
Ben Quilty, 2010. Angus Young from AC/DC. 146 x 185 cm. Accessed from: http://www.artofmusic.com.au/previous-years/2010/

In response to today’s WP Daily Prompt: This Is Your Song “Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.”

A better world


 

Todd1000. 'Souring Through a Stary Night.' Details unknown. Accessed from: http://worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/submissions/6394000/6394454_ca22_1024x2000.jpg
Todd1000. ‘Souring Through a Stary Night.’ Details unknown. Accessed from: http://worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/submissions/6394000/6394454_ca22_1024x2000.jpg

In today’s WP Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You! I get to choose a superpower. This is the brief: You get to chose one superpower. Pick one of these and explain your choice.
– The ability to speak and understand any language
– The ability to travel through time
– The ability to make any two people agree with each other

My first thought was time travel. Oh how I would love to travel into the past, to experience life as it was when some of my great art heroes were alive. Like Vincent Van Gogh, I would tell him not to despair, that he will be greatly loved and appreciated someday. Realistically though, even if I could the chances are slim to zero that I would have met any of my art heroes; it is highly unlikely that the life I would have led then would have placed me within their circles. Which made me reconsider my superhero choice.

The ability to make any two people agree with each other. Wow. Imagine that! The ‘any two people’ in the prompt suggests that I would have influence over anyone, regardless of who they are or how important (untouchable?) they may be. If this was my superpower I would immediately direct my attention to world politics. I would use my powers to influence the most powerful global decision makers to implement radical changes that would improve the outcome of events for humanity as a whole and for our planet. I am not going to go into detail about which politics I would like to change as I don’t want to get into a debate about it (I have strong political opinions.) Suffice to say some really big changes would happen for the greater good. Yes, that would be my choice of superpower.  🙂

Laugh in the face of evil


 

Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1880-1891. The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey. 358 × 203 cm. Oil on canvas. Accessed from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Repin_Cossacks.jpg
Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1880-1891. ‘The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey.’ 358 × 203 cm. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Accessed from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Repin_Cossacks.jpg

Laughter, like art, is a universal language. It is something everyone understands, regardless of language or cultural barriers, and it is contagious.  Whilst there is not much to laugh about during the refugee crisis currently dominating our headlines, there is hope that joyous laughter, rather than fear and hatred, will become our common currency during these troubling times. It is hoped that happiness agents rather than fear-mongers will be first in line to infect refugees with joy and relief when they arrive looking for safe passage to a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

I should probably have added this post to my Artist Research section,  but today’s WP Daily Prompt: Roaring Laughter is a good fit.

When was the last time you had a belly-ache laugh? Here’s wishing you an infection of laughter today (and bonus points if you infect a stranger with some of the same.)  😉

Studio Practice Hours – freebie


Artists and art students like me have to plan our time well. We’re all juggling many different tasks daily. Our families, our work and even our social lives take up big chunks of our time. In order to create art we need to allocate time for studio practice. We’re only artists if we actually create art!

To achieve this I allocate a set amount of hours per week that I plan to spend in studio, I slot my studio hours in daily. Some days mornings in studio work best for me, other days I allocate a few hours in the afternoon. Here is a handy Studio Practice Hours roster that can be adapted to your schedule. Simply download (right click to save the image to your hard drive), print and laminate. Use a whiteboard marker to record the time you plan to be in studio daily and try to stick to it.

Tip: Place this on your studio door to let others in your household know when you’re unavailable.

studio-practice-hours

In response to the WP Daily Prompt: Key Takeaway

 

Cruelty, the 8th deadly sin


Source: Cruelty, the 8th deadly sin

Cruelty, the 8th deadly sin


Congo Belge II, Kalema. 52.5 x 69 cm. Acrylic on canvas. Accessed from: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/27/africa/congo-drc-53-echoes-of-zaire-exhibition/
Congo Belge II, Kalema. 52.5 x 69 cm. Acrylic on canvas. Accessed from: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/27/africa/congo-drc-53-echoes-of-zaire-exhibition/

The Eighth Sin In response to the WP Daily Prompt:“Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?”

Cruelty is a human trait that I abhor. Cruelty against fellow humans, animals, our planet, even ourselves. The suffering that this causes is immeasurable. If we could replace cruelty with kindness many of the ills of our world would be addressed.

In the company of da Vinci


Leonardo da Vinci, c.1604. 'Battle of Anghiari' Black chalk, pen & ink, highlights in grey & white. 45.2cm x 63.7 cm. Louvre, Paris.
Leonardo da Vinci, c.1604. ‘Battle of Anghiari’ Black chalk, pen & ink, highlights in grey & white. 45.2cm x 63.7 cm. Louvre, Paris.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I live a quiet Australian country-style life with my perfect husband, cat, parrot and of course my art. As a Fine Art student I promised myself a graduation gift when the big day arrives; nothing less than a trip to Paris! It is there and then that I imagine I will experience the ‘perfect night out.’ Surrounded by the history and art of the Renaissance era in the magnificent city of lights with my beloved sister (from London) and my equally beloved husband; I will be in artistic heaven in the company of da Vinci and many other admired artists’ works. Ask me again then to describe my perfect night out. 😉

This post is in response to the WP Daily Prompt: Saturday Night

Artist Interview: Stephen Tiernan


It is my great pleasure to introduce readers to Australian portrait artist, Stephen Tiernan. His portraits are beautifully rendered with expressive brushstrokes and exquisite palettes; however, Tiernan goes beyond that. He successfully manages to capture the emotions of his models, breathing an extraordinary life-like quality into his portraits, giving us  – the viewer – a deeper insight into his subjects. These are more than beautiful faces on canvas, these are real people with real emotions that speak to us from Tiernan’s easel. What follows is an interview with the artist as we learn more about his process and practice, his philosophy and dreams.

Who are you and what do you do?

For my day job I am a Detective Senior Sergeant in the Queensland Police Service. I have been a police officer for 26 years with the majority of my service in plain clothes. I have worked in regional detective offices as well as specific taskforces and squads including organised crime taskforces and the Homicide Squad. Once I leave the office though I don my artist hat and paint. I get inspiration from all I see. I like to paint the human face or figure and never get tired of this genre.

Why do you do what you do?

I paint and draw as I have a constant burning desire to create. I have had this since my school days and all through school I was encouraged by my teachers to become an artist or work in a related field. I disregarded all of their advice and joined the army. After 4 years in the army I joined the police.

How do you work?

When I paint or draw I tend to work very fast and in an expressionist style however I am finding that as my technique improves I am having to slow myself down. I love working from life when doing portraits or figurative work however this is not always possible so I use photographs as reference material.

What’s your background?

I was born in Scotland and moved to Australia with my family when I was 2. I am a married man who recently turned 47 years old. My wife and I have 5 children (4 boys and a girl). I started to concentrate in my art late in life so I am making up for lost ground and spend all my free time making art. I have wonderful support from my wife who also works full time as a lawyer.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Passion, desire and an inspiration to create are integral but I also believe support is necessary.

What role does the artist have in society?

The role of an artist in society is crucial. When we look back in history it is the artist and the artworks of society that are remembered and treasured.

What has been a seminal experience?

The birth of my children and the desire to paint and capture them in a unique and special way that only art can do.

Stephen Tiernan 'Looking for Identity' 2015 - oil on linen 50.9cm X 61cm (20"X 24")
Stephen Tiernan ‘Looking for Identity’ 2015 – oil on linen 50.9cm X 61cm (20″X 24″)

Explain what you do in 100 words

I am always thinking of ideas for my artwork so I carry a journal and either write them down in that or make notes in my phone. Once I have an idea I will start doing some preparatory drawings to see what the results look like. I will then look for material and if necessary take photographs. When I commence one of my paintings I will initially use the photograph as a reference to lay down the proportions. Once I start I will put the photo away and develop the painting that way and allow the painting to guide me.

How has your practice change over time

I am yet to have developed what I would call a ‘signature style’ however I see improvement in my work all of the time. I would say the biggest change in my practice is I am working a lot slower and methodical. The statement attributed to Degas, “Painting is easy when you don’t know how but very hard when you do” is certainly coming true in my case.

What art do you most identify with?

All forms of painting. I love expressionist artworks. I love to see how others interpret and translate what they see. I have great admiration for the artist that can produce a hyper realist image but it is the expressionist works that make my heart beat faster.

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I never tire of doing portraiture. When I paint a portrait it is like I am removing a mask and I am seeing something for the first time. Those little micro expressions we experience whenever we communicate with someone can say so much and I like to somehow try and capture that.

What themes do you pursue?

As I used to box both in the amateurs and as a professional I love to paint these images and try create that atmosphere of battle. To depict the grace and beauty of the human form in peek physical condition.

What’s your favourite art work?

I have too many favourite artworks of other artists however in relation to my work I painted a portrait of my daughter in oils and I was experimenting with different techniques to create various textures and I caught something that was her so I left the painting as it was and now it hangs on my bedroom wall.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

My family life has inspired me the most and the strong desire I have to continue to improve and reward the faith and support they continue to give me in pursuing my art career.

Why art?

I takes me to another place. I see good in the world when I create rather than the dysfunction and chaos I witness in my ‘dayjob’.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

To see the beauty in all around you. Being able to notice colours and form when before these things were invisible to you.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

The amazement and shock people display when they find out you are an artist and the work they are viewing is yours.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I can imagine the life of a full-time artist is lonely however as my life is very busy the quiet period when I get to create art become a sanctuary.

What do you dislike about the art world?

The lack of real opportunity for struggling and talented artists.

What do you dislike about your work?

I have pieces of work I have created that I dislike as they have not turned out the way I wanted but I do not have any specific area about my work that I dislike.

What do you like about your work?

The fact that I was able to create it from a thought and turn it into something tangible.

Stephen Tiernan 'After the Fight' 2015 - oil on canvas 50cm X 77cm (19.6" X 30.3")
Stephen Tiernan ‘After the Fight’ 2015 – oil on canvas 50cm X 77cm (19.6″ X 30.3″)

Should art be funded?

Absolutely. The benefits are immense.

What role does arts funding have?

Community arts programs should take priority in a lot of areas to encourage engagement throughout the population. Artist residencies throughout government environments and major corporations. Surround society in creativity and watch it grow and develop.

What research to you do?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Art so I do a lot of artist research.

What is your dream project?

I would love to put together a body of work for an exhibition that tours around Australia and overseas.

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Malcolm Liepke, Michael Carson and Lucian Freud

Favourite or most inspirational place

Home here on the Gold Coast

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

You can sleep with a black eye but you cannot sleep with a resentment. Do not take things personally.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

To be a full-time artist

What wouldn’t you do without?

My wife and kids.

Stephen Tiernan. ‘Queenslander’ 2015 – oil on canvas 60cm X 60cm (24″ X 24″)

To see more of Stephen Tiernan’s wonderful art be sure to visit his Facebook Page.

This blog post also addresses the WP Daily Blog’s topic of the day: Quote Me

Artist Interview: Andrea Lumsden


I have been following Andrea Lumsden’s work for some time now and am frequently amazed at what she creates from everyday materials. She excels in an art form that persuades transformation.  It seems there is no challenge too big for this talented artist, particularly with regard to material investigations. She boldly seduces the sublime to rise from the mundane in her fascinating works. It is my great pleasure to introduce readers to this inspiring Australian artist in the interview below. If you enjoy Lumsden’s work and would like to see more please offer your support by ‘liking’ her Facebook Artist Page and/or following her blog.

unnamed-1
no. 1 (Little Bowl Project), 2015, Cardboard, acrylic paint 4.5cm (height) x 10.5cm (diameter)
  • Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Andrea Lumsden. I have a degree in Fine Art. I am currently in process with a year long body of work called “The magic in the medium: hidden beauty”. This relates to material investigations carried out by me to inspire and motivate the viewer into seeing the versatility of, and the beauty within materials that are so often overlooked.

  • Why do you do what you do?

Hmmm…I would say that I just have an inner drive towards what I do.   I guess I want to create a magical experience; to show that there are always new possibilities and new ways of looking at things and that if we take a different view and try to see something in a new way, then that’s when the magic happens.  However, I do think that I started investigating materials in the beginning because I wanted to find my creative niche and even now after doing it for a while; I have found that I really do prefer certain materials to others for their possibilities and their versatility.

  • How do you work?

My studio, at this point in time, is in a fairly large garage.  I just love creating in there.  At this stage I investigate a certain material for approximately 4 days to start with to gain a kind of intimacy with it.  I also share the investigation on my blog to start with.  Further investigation happens later when I create a little bowl with the results from the initial investigation to demonstrate how it all comes together.  I work a lot through intuitive flow…ahhh…from one idea to the next.  I just keep moving with the ideas until they come to a stop or until I get tired and realise I’ve been sitting there for three hours and my butt is hurting lol.  I do love being in the flow.  I work best alone or with the cat “Boof”.  He likes to accompany me and soak up creative vibes as long as I don’t start talking to him.  If I try to hold a conversation; he gets up and moves as far away from me as possible. Haha.

  • What’s your background?

I think I was quite lucky as a child in primary school.  My teacher’s wife was an artist, so we were introduced to a whole array of art subjects like pottery, enamelling, puppet making, sketching, bark painting, Batik and oil painting.  During high school, I was directed towards computers etc and really didn’t get back into art until 5 years ago and by that stage I was so frustrated with my skill level that I wanted to learn so much more and here I am today with my degree and still a frustrated artist lol.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

A good work area is very important, having good equipment and materials at hand to work with, being able to network with other artists, I think is very important and also to keep learning and most of all continual practice whilst being open to mistakes.  Mistakes are invaluable.  Mistakes create beautiful art and amazing breakthroughs.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

Again I think this is up to the individual.  I can only speak for myself in this instance and my role, I believe is to introduce a new way of looking at life to society; to offer a different perspective.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

My brother dying just over a year ago has changed my path quite a lot.  I keep wanting to be as authentically me as possible.  I needed to start doing what I loved and to stop doing what I felt was expected of me.  So my work has turned more towards, I suppose you could call it a type of decorative art.  I have always loved to decorate; to make things a little more special and a little more magical by adding embellishments and finding the magic or the beauty within something….so yeah.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

Lol, just like I’m back at uni again..um I’ll just give you my artist statement which is quite short and sweet but pretty much to the point.

 I have a love of material investigation.   I try to find/ create a relationship with the material; to become intimate with its possibilities.   I am particularly interested in demonstrating the versatility of certain media that I choose to investigate, by displaying my findings in simple finished forms such as an art bowl or a type of jewel/embellishment.

When working with a material, there is a respect or reverence for the whole process; including the material itself that seems to develop the more I choose to experiment with it.   I have found that most things can be fascinating and quite magical, if I set my mind to looking for the beauty within.  It is that hidden beauty that I am focusing on in my body of work for 2016.   How can I create for others to see; a magical experience showing the versatility of the material?  This is the question that I am choosing to answer through my body of work “The magic in the medium: hidden beauty”.

  • How has your practice changed over time?

I have become so much more focused and now know the direction that I wish to take.  I am also now allowing for changes in my art to just naturally occur with the flow and whatever direction it takes but the basis is always to investigate and to experiment.  The last four years gaining my degree, I found the pace was just a little too fast for me, so I guess now I have slowed down and allowed what I have learned to kind of sink in and gel with me.  I look at what I have learned as base skills that I can push further into my own way of doing things.  I’m really just at the beginning.  There is so much more to come.

no. 8 (the little bowl project), 2015 hessian, ink 6cm (height) x 12.5cm (diameter)
no. 8 (the little bowl project), 2015 hessian, ink 6cm (height) x 12.5cm (diameter)
  • Why art?

Art is my life; my life is my art.  Without art, I would not be a whole person.  There would be a huge hole in my life.

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

The quest is to see things differently, not just the whole picture, but the details that are missed; to document how you see things, as an individual.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I was described as an outsider artist by one of my tutors.  I guess I take that as a compliment.  I have had a few strong reactions towards some older works about my agoraphobia experience.  Their responses showed me that I was expressing myself how I needed to.  I would like to do some more work on my identity but it’s one of those things that can bring up a lot of emotion and in your face stuff and issues with narcissism.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

With my experience agoraphobia, I actually learned to like my own company; or was forced to learn as I had no choice at the time lol.  I love working by myself which is a good thing because being an artist, you spend a lot of time in the studio by yourself.   I rarely feel lonely.  These days I have Facebook to keep me company if I want to know that people are around or just to chat with someone about art.  We are very lucky that we have that in our lives.  Some people like to listen to music whilst they do art.  I like to watch movies.  Movies are good company and great idea fodder. ☺

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

I think there is a kind of rushed feeling about art today.  I know I am forever trying to calm the feeling down and pace myself.  We all don’t need to be in some huge competition with one another.  I think that everyone has something different to offer the world and there is room for everybody.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

Not having enough supplies to do what I want and having to wait to get them.  This makes me very impatient.  Patience is not one of my strong points…..taps fingers.  I also dislike when I’m wanting to get moving but my body gives me a hard time.

  • What do you like about your work?

I love the act of creating something tactile that I can pick up and hold, run my fingers over.  I’m very ‘of the senses’.  I love seeing something that was just an idea, brought into the material.

unnamed-3
Signature tags (2015)
  • What research do you do?

I spend a lot of time looking for visual cues and seeing how other people use the materials that I am investigating.  I also get ideas from movies and from nature and also from designers and artists that I’m interested in.

  • What is your dream project?

I am doing it now.  I am sure there will be more dream projects as I get plenty of ideas, but at this time I am very happy with what I am doing.

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

I don’t necessarily want to be compared to another artist although Joseph Cornell was quite an influence for me and many others, but also I particularly liked Dieter Roth for his work with documentation, Candy Jernigan for her interesting collecting of found objects and documenting those.  I am also spending time researching into the Faberge’ eggs.

unnamed-2
Investigating in studio (2015)
  • Favourite or most inspirational place

My studio and my shower ☺

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

To look at nay sayers as challengers to motivate me further towards my goals.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

To be a highly respected, happy and well paid full time artist who is continuously developing her skills and moving forward in her chosen field.

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

My scissors and my big bottle of PVA glue , my laptop, coloured inks, my art journals, my printer and my camera…oh …and coffee.

If you’re as inspired as I am to see more of Andrea’s process pop on over to her Facebook Page: Andrea Lumsden – Art & Design and her blog: The magic in the medium

Questions sourced from Artsculture

This blog post also addresses the WP Daily Blog’s prompt for the day: Quote Me

Artist Interview: Gaye Tait


One of the my greatest pleasures since starting my studies in Fine Art has been to connect with other artists. Gaye Tait from Australia is one such artist whose work leaves me breathless and wanting more. Her style, while fresh and playful with a satisfying Klimt-like familiarity, is strong and timeless. Her subject – Mother and Child – resonates universally and through her art Tait teaches us how to cherish the most sacred (and often misunderstood) amongst us. Enjoy getting to know Gaye through the interview below and if you like what she offers please support her by ‘liking’ her Facebook Page – The Tait Gallery.

Gaye Tait, Madonna and Child
Gaye Tait, 2014. Mother and Child. Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 60 cm
  • Who are you and what do you do?

Gaye Tait.  Artist and student, Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother

  • Why do you do what you do?

Art:  Because it feeds my soul. If I am not creating I feel lost and lonely. I think about art continuously and how I can achieve the desired outcome.

  • How do you work?

I try to stick to a plan organising my time.  I prefer to work alone as I become so lost in the moment that I would not be able to work and be social at the same time.

  • What’s your background?

Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and creating beginning when I was about 4 years old.  Becoming a wife and mother in my teens limited my creativity and then as a single mother working became a priority.

I started painting again in my 30s having small successes in the country town where I lived.  Again, work became more involved and there was never enough time for art.

When I retired I then had the time to pursue my love of art. I enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin Uni WA.  I have been studying part time for the past 4 years with 2 more years to go before graduating.

Living in Bundaberg I became very involved in the local art scene.  I have entered several group exhibitions in Bundaberg and one solo one. I also exhibited in Brisbane for the ‘Celebration of the female form’ exhibit in 2014.  Recently I moved to Bribie Island and entered an exhibition competition at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane and was delighted to be a dual first prize winner.  The art gallery gave me the opportunity to show my work for 6 months which was wonderful. I am currently applying for two more exhibitions at Aspire and I have been accepted to exhibit my work in June in Brisbane for ‘Celebration of the female form’.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Research, workshops, a place to work and make a mess and like minded social group.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

Artists’ role is to express their feelings and emotions as well comment on what is happening in our world.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

Research has helped me identify where I am heading in my art work.  After 4 years of study I am only now seeing what I don’t want to do with my ideas and concepts and also having the courage to head in the direction that appeals to me regardless of the risks.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

What a tough question!  I am finding that I am developing work from my own experiences.  I married when I was 17 and had my first child two days short of my 18 birthday.  By the time I was 21 I had three very small children and a husband who couldn’t cope.  Divorcing at 22 left me alone and bewildered.  Those were tough years that only in hindsight do I realise what a struggle it was. To cut a long story short I find myself painting images of a mother and child a lot.

I remember other people’s attitude to me back then as a young mum and how alone I felt.  Now in my art work my aim is to show young mums lovingly caring for their babies. Young mums having fun enjoying the gift they have.

Just because a woman is young and inexperienced doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want the best for her child. My art reflects the fun side of having a young mum. It shows the warmth and love that these young women have in abundance. I guess in my small way I am trying to change people’s attitude hopefully making the viewer think about their own responses to young, single mothers.  

Gaye Tait, Mother and Child
Gaye Tait, 2013. Madonna and Child. Mixed media on stretched canvas. 40 x 30 cm.
  • How has your practice changed over time?

It has changed in how I approach my work in as much that I am more thoughtful about what I am painting and why.

  • What art do you most identify with?

So many artists that move me I am not sure where to start.  I adore Gustav Klimt’s work as well van Gogh.  Of course the old Masters for their skill and dedication but am amazed at the work of many contemporary artists. 

  • What work do you most enjoying doing?

Painting women and children.

  • What themes do you pursue?

As above.

  • What’s your favourite art work?

Anything by Gustav Klimt and Marc Chagall

  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

My own experience as told above.

  • Why art?

It is the only way that I can truly express myself.

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

Seeing the beauty and the ugliness in the world.  Looking beyond the obvious and finding what is beneath.  Noticing the shadows, the darkness and the light. Being open to new ideas and change.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Winning shared first prize at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane.  One of my works chosen by Dalgety Australia as part of travelling outback exhibition.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

It does involve isolation at times but for me never lonely.  I do make sure that I involve myself socially although to be honest there are times I would rather lock myself away in my studio.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

Not a lot. I guess there can be pretence and arrogance by some artists.  Some artists who put other people’s work down but on the whole I find the art world quite a welcoming place.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

Everything! I am never really happy and see lots of mistakes.

  • What do you like about your work?

I like the idea and the involvement. I become the work and it becomes me.

  • Should art be funded?

Definitely!

  • What role does arts funding have?

To encourage and fund emerging artists.  To fund training, workshops.  To bring art from other countries to Australia to broaden our minds and ideas.

  • What research do you do?

Not a lot re funding but huge amount regarding artists and techniques.

  • What is your dream project?

I am living my dream.  Happy with the exhibitions that I have been involved in and the ones that I am planning for the future.  

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Klimt, Klimt and Klimt and of Chagall.

  • Favourite or most inspirational place

Ocean or country where I can just sit and look.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Relax and let it happen.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

To exhibit and sell my work.  I would also like to teach children and the elderly.

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

My camera.

Gaye Tait, Title Unknown
Gaye Tait, 2015. Safe In My Tiger Suit. Acrylic on canvas. 70 x 100 cm.

For more work from Gaye Tait join her Facebook Artist Page, The Tait Gallery.

Questions sourced from Artsculture

This blog post also addresses the WP Daily Blog’s prompt for the day: Quote Me

Six Word Story: Sin


‘Thou shalt not give a damn.’

thou shalt not give a damn

In response to the Sometimes Stellar’s Six Word Story. Prompt: Sin

Six Word Story: Accomplishment


Begin. Declutter, surfaces and floors. Done.

declutter

In theory that is. I could whip my space into shape in three easy steps once I stop distracting myself.

In response to the Sometimes Stellar’s Six Word Story.
Prompt: Accomplishment.

My study goals: Exhibition


I had a really good year last year with my study goals. Being my first year toward a Fine Arts degree I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to accomplish these but as it turned out my grades were great; one of my portfolios was chosen by the university as an exemplar for future students and some of my artwork for the past year is currently on exhibition at my local gallery.

segue8

I’ve taken some time off to recharge my batteries and to catch-up on other (non-study) tasks which was a good decision, in fact I might reward myself with a break over the holiday season each year. I feel refreshed and ready to begin my 2nd year undergrad studies in February and will hopefully achieve the study goals I’ve set for myself for the new year.

Here’s to our individual and collective success in 2016.

segue3

Daily Prompt: Resolved Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you kept?

Little Treasures


mini-sketchbooks

I recently blogged about reclaiming the tradition of letter-writing, actual handwritten letters that are sent and received in the mail, something that I have resolved to continue during 2016. I wanted my letters to be creative, to challenge me to create something more than just writing a letter so I set out to include a hand-made ‘something’ in each letter I send.

For the latest letter that I will be mailing to my sister in the UK I am including two mini sketchbooks, small and thin enough to include in the envelope. To make these I cut watercolour paper to size, rounded the corners and bound the pages together to form cute mini-sized sketchbooks which I have since filled with little drawings. These little treasures are about the size of a standard business card. 🙂

The first booklet is about everyday things around me, random objects which gave me reason to practice drawing from life. The second booklet is a botanical one, filled with different blossoms, these were based on photographs. I ink washed the mini-sketches to give them some definition but may add colour too before mailing them with my next letter.

Daily Prompt: Resolved (Have you made a New Year’s resolution that you kept?)

Narrative Portrait


Daily Prompt: "Are you a night owl or an early bird? 
When do you do your best work?" Because the Night
Anndelize Graf, 2015. Narrative Portrait. Acrylic on canvas.
Anndelize Graf, 2015. Narrative Portrait. Acrylic on canvas.

I’m on a 12 week study break at the moment before starting my 2nd year undergrad studies in Fine Art & Visual Culture. This is the perfect time for me to catch-up on learning new skills that I don’t otherwise have time to do. Living in a small country town several hours from the big city, attending live art classes in Melbourne is a bit of a struggle. Fortunately I discovered Craftsy some time ago, Atelier-style online classes that suit me perfectly.

The first Craftsy class that I took during my break taught me how to paint a narrative portrait. Daylight is the ideal painting time for me as I don’t have to rely on artificial light sources. Now that it is summer in Australia I set my paints and easel up outside on the patio where I spend my days painting, usually starting early in the morning. On cooler days I do my art in my home-based studio.

In this painting the narrative is about a letter or document she is reading. Can you tell by her expression and body language what she is reading? Narrative portraiture tells a story, I wonder what you would imagine hers to be.

The Mystery of the Penis


david-full-front
Michelangelo, 1501-1504. David. Marble sculpture. 14.0 ft. Accessed from: accademia.org

 

WordPress Daily Prompt: "Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story."
Third Rate Romance

I was the eldest of 3 daughters growing up in a very conservative home and time. My mother was a traditional Afrikaans woman who never, ever spoke to us about sex! I really had no clue. Needless to say some years later my first sexual encounter was also the first time I had ever seen a penis. Ever. I had some idea of what it looked like from a book that my mother had stashed away in the privacy of her bedroom; the book consisted of crude sketches of sexual positions. That was my entire sexual education right there.

After I had been introduced to the mighty penis he invited me to keep him company while he took a bath. I remember it being a cold winter that year. So, I sat down on the toilet seat while he bathed, casually chatting and feeling very adult about it all; somewhat smug even as I was now a ‘woman’ and had so much to tell my two uninformed younger sisters. To say that I felt superior in that moment would be about right. I had discovered the penis in spite of the secrecy surrounding it in our conservative upbringing.

Predictably, my eyes wandered until they rested on his manhood. This fascinatingly mysterious organ that had never been discussed or seen in our all-girl household. I wanted to see it again in all its proud glory. What I saw instead was a shrivelled up little thing that sent a blood-curdling scream through me in fear that he had somehow lost or damaged it! I was mortified! Deeply concerned about his wellbeing I explained the reason for my shock. I cannot remember exactly what happened next but I do remember him laughing loudly, even when his face was underwater, bubbles everywhere. I was concerned about his lost manhood and he was almost drowning with laughter! Confusion reigned for a few moments until he calmed down long enough to explain.

With embarrassment I learnt that penises could not realistically always look the way his did the first time I saw it, he was aroused after all. If they did men would permanently be walking around with tentpoles in their pants. I decided not to include this embarrassing little detail when I later recalled my first penis experience to my admiring sisters. 😉

Dear Easel,


Daily prompt: Literate for a Day
Someone or something you can't communicate with through writing (a baby, 
a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for 
one day only. What do you tell them?

Birth of an Easel from Anndelize Graf on Vimeo.

Music: Blue Skies by Derek Clegg

“Dear easel, as I admire your beauty and the craftsmanship with which you were made; I wonder how Van Gogh, Picasso or Monet might have favoured you if you were theirs. As the rigidity of your spine supported their masterpieces-in-the-making, I wonder whether you would silently whisper encouragement to them. I can’t help but wonder, with every accidental splash of their paint that may have adorned your oiled wooden surface, how grateful you might have been to become part of their process toward creating the art that we love so much today.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, dear easel, you have been allotted to me in my studio; a mere apprentice of the arts. I do hope though that I will experience the privilege of your encouragement as if I were Van Gogh, Picasso or Monet. In return I promise to lean on you with every brush stroke I make, as a testament to your functionality and beauty.

Dear easel, I hope you know how lucky I feel to be yours.”

Yours truly
Artist-in-training

She’ll be apples mate


Today's daily prompt: Write about whatever you'd like, but 
write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.

G’day mate, how ya going? I am going gang busters at the moment,  there’s hardly time to go to the dunny! Writing about this I sound like a total sook, but with three assignments due this arvo I am starting to panic that I won’t get it all done in time. No time for a kip and when we get the munchies tonight, it will be takeaways for sure! Either a hot chook salad or a sanger; there defo won’t be time to have a barbie even though the weather at the moment is fully sick for that. Once I’ve submitted these final three assignments today I’ll crack a tinnie to celebrate ‘cos I’ll be on a 3 month break from studies until I start my second year bachelor’s in March 2016, although that would barely wet the whistle but I’m not one to go on the piss. However, until then I cannot pull a sickie, I need to get cracking so that I can complete and submit these final assignments. I certainly don’t want to do a dodgy job due to being totally knackered, bloody oath! I also need to call the poo man about a leaking tap, hope that’s not gonna be too exy. My hubby is a top fella but he’s a sparky and a chippy so he can’t help and the tin lids (also good blokes) are in Melbourne so I can’t ask them either. In the meanwhile, time to stop playing silly buggers and get on with it. I don’t want to risk my good grades due to feeling rooted.

She’ll be apples mate.

I’ve loved studying fine art and I can defo see an improvement in my artistic talent over this past year, but I am looking forward to my break, that will be sweet as. My house is feral, one would think I’m a bogun; perhaps I’ll even have time to clean it for a change which I couldn’t be fussed with before. I’d also like to catch up with mates over a cuppa with brekkie. It will also be an absolute ripper to have time to create art for the sake of art rather than for uni assignments.

(For an ‘English’ translation see below.)

This will be my last daily prompt blog for a while (2 weeks or so) 
as my blog is part of one of my assignments to which I may not add 
anything once submitted. 
Until then I wish you all well and look forward to blogging
again in the near future, once my results are in.

Hi everyone, how are you doing? I’m under pressure at the moment, there’s hardly time to go to the bathroom! Writing about this I sound like a whinger, but I have three assignments due this afternoon and I am starting to panic that I won’t get it all done in time. No time to rest and when we get hungry tonight it will definitely be takeaways! Either a hot chicken salad or perhaps a sandwich, there definitely won’t be time to have a barbecue even though the weather at the moment is perfect for that. Once I’ve submitted these final three assignments today I’ll be having a drink to celebrate because I’ll be on a 3 month break from studies until I start my second year studies in March 2016, although one drink will hardly do it I’m not one to become inebriated. However until then I cannot call in sick, I need to get going so that I can complete these final assignments. I certainly don’t want to make a poor effort due to being exhausted. I also need to call the plumber about a leaking faucet, hopefully that won’t be too expensive to repair. My husband is great but he’s an electrician and carpenter so he can’t help with that, and the (adult) children (good guys) are away in Melbourne, so I can’t ask them either. However, in the meanwhile I cannot rest on my laurels, I need to get focussed so that I can complete and submit these final assignments. I certainly don’t want to risk my good academic record now due to fatigue.

It will all turn out fine.

I’ve loved studying fine art and I can definitely see an improvement in my artistic talent over this past year, but I am looking forward to my break from studies. Perhaps I’ll even have time to clean my house for a change and to catch up with friends over a cup of tea and some breakfast. It will also be great to have time to create art for the sake of art rather than for university assignments. 

Non-Regional Diction

Waiting for the Postie


Daily Prompt: A Tale of Two Cities
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, 
which would these be?

We’re scattered across the globe, my siblings and I. Keeping in touch as most people do with electronic media. Yet, the authenticity of a handwritten letter, as rare as it is these days, is what makes our connection real. Laboriously written, decorated with lipstick kisses and doodles, coffee splatters and expletives; nothing compares to receiving a letter in my mailbox from the other end of the world in the handwriting of my beloved sister.