“What is Art?”
I flounder between examples of what I regard as High Art (the kind found in Galleries) and the Art we make in the course of just living; the way a Mother gets all her children to school on time; the Father who juggles the responsibility to his workplace and to his family; how my 10year old son plays Civilization V, his guitar and some free Apps on his iPhone in one hour.
So where does art come from? A little while ago my “artistic credentials” were questioned (and not nicely). Instead of being upset and raving how it’s no-one’s business, I actually thought it would be quite fun to look back at where MY art came from.
I loved Art in High School. I took it all the way through to Year 12. I not only loved the Practical elements, but also the Theory. I even contemplated becoming an Art Historian but got side-tracked and became a High School teacher (I taught History, but it wasn’t the same). For my 21st birthday, my family framed the 3 most impressive works I had. I look at them every day and I still love them, although the matting and framing is a bit dated.
This one was a screen print. Do you notice something?
No faces! I didn’t like doing faces back in 1983, and I still don’t like doing faces in 2011. Christy Tomlinson’s She Art workshop simply reminded me that I could still do what I enjoy without the detail of a “face”. Also look at how the stencil technique allowed the colours to bleed and overlap. I’m glad my Art Teacher also appreciated it and gave me an awesome mark.
How about this one?
I made this one for hubby’s birthday back in 1996, before we were married, I was in my final year at University and we had just moved into our first home together. He would always reminisce about his Boy Scout days in North Queensland and this triptych lino print was my interpretation of that. I love working with lino. The cutting is very therapeutic. And I love gouache. The colours are so intense and fabulous. Unfortunately, I foolishly watered down the gouache and it has since faded. Again, the images are stylised and lack detail, but there is movement and emotion in each frame.
I guess when you are not fabulous in one department, you work very hard in the others to convey your message.
The next 2 are my Intaglio works.
Gosh all I remember is that they were soooo time-consuming!! The Perspex was difficult to work with and the shavings would irritate the skin on my hands and the blade needed constant sharpening. If you didn’t get the moisture content right on the printing paper, it looked like rubbish. There was just too much that could go wrong with it. But when you got it right, it was awesome!!
Then there is the large scale works.
Again with lino and gouache. Still Lifes aren’t my bag so this vase of flowers was a little cliché for me. I had to stylise them to make them my own. I clearly avoided the Realism in order to avoid the detail LOL.
And then there’s the fabric work.
Monoprinting with found objects, a block of lino and lots of cool paints and mediums. The sewing was done late one night in 1994 on Mum’s old Elna. I love it and it now keeps the dust off the printer. My wish is to take Alisa Burke’s fabric making class and get messy with fabric again.
There are so many courses and workshops to gain new skills. First it was Vivian Bonder’s Art Journal workshop, then the Gutsy Girls (Ngaire Bartlam and Jill Geraghty-Groves), then She Art (Christy Tomlinson), and now I am embarking on the crazy busy world of the Land of Lost Luggage (Jane Prichard and Cathy Cozen). If being in education has taught me anything, it’s that you constantly need Professional Development. I am fortunate to have found these Women who are generous and funny and talented and very professional. They work hard and have integrity and love what they do. They are constantly reinventing themselves and growing and learning along the way. Now I am excited about my first craft market in October and attending “The Art is…You” mixed media retreat in Sydney in March.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this journey down memory lane with me. As you can see, I have been at this for a while now but I’ve never felt so secure in it as I do now. Like most of you, I had to purge some negative self-doubt, surround myself with people who make me feel good, take care of people I love and be the best Woman, Mum and Wife I can be.
Here’s what I’d love to see……..
I would love to see your work of art when you thought, “Ah, I’ve got it!!”.
Maybe it was 10 years ago, perhaps it was just 2 or 3 years ago, whenever it was, I would love for you to share your story. Was it a card, a scrapbooking page, perhaps a cross-stitch? It could’ve been an Interior Design course. Blog about it or make a Note on Facebook and send me the link. Encourage your friends to think back to that beautiful moment and begin a wonderful trip down Memory Lane.
I like to think myself an Optimist. It was a very hurtful and negative incident but I took their power away by making it my own. Thank you for forcing my hand and reminding me why I “make” time to do what I love.