Monthly Archives: March 2016

The story so far

How did I become an artist? That’s a long story

I think I was born with a pencil in my hand. I was always the child drawing funny little cartoons on every surface I could reach. When a serious illness in my tweens left me bedridden for over 6 months, I used drawing to fill the endless hours. This endless practice vastly improved my skills and consequently I found a great love for graphite and charcoal.

I was aimless in my youth. At 19 I enrolled in Certificate III in fine arts at Goulburn TAFE.  I did not study with the intention to work as an artist, but  purely for the enjoyment and for the opportunity to learn about mediums and methods that I had not yet experienced. I had some great teachers and some even better classmates, however i fell pregnant halfway through the first year, which stopped me from participating in many classes. All those noxious substances we artists use and I was willing to expose myself to, suddenly became an absolute no no!!!

Life happened.  4 kids, a husband and 2 step-children,  meant no time for art. Pencils down.  I took a job in a deli at the supermarket and  got on with the business of daily life. I didn’t even think about art . I had my little box of supplies tucked away high in a cupboard. Dusty and forgotten for many years, until about 7 years ago, when my husband met a man named Paul who had a framing business, and happened to mention to him that I could draw. This man asked to see what I drew, so i pulled out the old charcoal pencils and bought myself a new sketchbook.

Art is a little bit like riding a bike… you don’t really forget how.. but oh I was rusty. After several days of drawing, I showed Paul what I had done and he commissioned some charcoal faerie drawings from me on the spot.  I was making money! I did about a drawing a month for him and as I did I started to post my completed drawings on my Facebook page for my friends to see.  From there my friends started to ask me for drawings. This was never planned and the requests were always a surprise! I did not consider myself an artist. People were willing to pay good money for my work, and I did a large number of pieces, but I would never have called myself an artist!! Just someone who was lucky enough to make some extra money doing something that i enjoyed.

2 years ago, my husband I and decided to pack up our lives and move 1500kms across country to the Sunshine Coast.. Chasing the sun and surf and all the beautiful things in this part of the world. We packed our belongings into a shed said goodbye to our friends loaded kids and pets into the cars and drove off. When we found a house to move into, we had no furniture!1 it was all packed neatly in the shed down south waiting for a moving truck… so we sat in a big bare empty house.. just a basic set of cooking pans a  set of uno cards and an outdoor furniture setting that we picked up from the Salvation Army store for $15. to relieve the kids boredom I picked up some art and craft supplies including a couple of sets of 50c colour pencils and a new sketchbook for me to use. As we sat in that big, empty, quiet house, i picked up that set of 12 colour pencils and drew an apple. more of a doodle really… but i kept colouring that apple. To my surprise as i kept putting on more and more layers of colour, the pencil started to blend together! I had never used colour pencils as an art medium.. I didn’t know they could do this!!!

POW!! at that moment a whole new world opened up before my eyes! i bought a set of cheap student grade pencils and set to work learning everything I could… YouTube tutorials opened my eyes to even more possibilities!!! Wow!! The things pencils can do!! I posted a piece to Facebook and was bought by my friend Sheree, who insisted that I used the proceeds to buy more supplies..I owe her a lot!!!  A set of shiny new Derwent Artists pencils in the sexy wooden box became my new prized possession. More drawings, more tutorials. With coloured pencils I found a new drive for art! I upgraded to a set of Polychromos pencils and BANG!! again, everything stepped up a notch!! more pencils, more drawings!!

2 years on and I have surpassed anything I thought i could do with my art. I set up a facebook and Instagram page exclusively for my art. I won a contest on  Facebook group full of very talented people!! I had my art published in Colour Pencil magazine! I have recently started selling prints of my work and have a list of commissions on my board. Finally now, at 37 years of age.. I call myself an artist.

 

An itch to scratch

I have so much to do with each day. With so many kids, the household itself is a full time job. Throw in a paying job… well it doesn’t leave many hours in the day for art.

I have learned to squeeze it in around the sides. I rush around and plan meals and compositions at the same time. I think about which colours to use while I’m loading the washing machine. I study my customers as I work and plot how I would draw their skin tones or hairstyle. I always loved drawing, but lately it has become so much more a part of myself, an ingrained piece of my personality. Maybe even an addiction.

I set aside this week to put together this little website,  but the itch needed to be scratched. I store reference photos in my phone for occasions like this. This colour pencil drawing came from a magnificent photo I found on Paint my photo.com by Kathy Throop. I really do love drawing glass, and looking how the light reflects and bends. The itch has been scratched, and I love the result.

A leap of faith

There’s a good reason I use this picture so often. It’s not just because it stars my very own husband and daughter (although that is a good reason) it is also because this was my first “Oh yeah!! I can do this!” piece.

My very talented sister-in-law took a quick candid photo, and I knew I had to draw it. But, AARRGGHH!!  look at all that blonde hair and tricky hands and those dreadlocks??  Oh i really bit off more than i thought I could chew, but 4 days later and I had created something better than I had ever imagined I could. This piece reminds me to aim just a little bit further than I think I can reach.. I might just succeed.

I feel much the same way about starting a website and blog around my art. It feels like too big a gap, and I don’t know what I’m doing? I’m just going to take a deep breath, jump straight into that deep end, and see what I can do!!