Thursday, January 17, 2013

gemstones and practice

Happy Thursday everyone! I thought I'd share some work that I have been agonising over. I am painting a series of gemstones for an upcoming secret(ish) project, and actually, it is REALLY HARD! This is gemstone attempt 11 and 12 - the first two that actually resemble a faceted stone (I think). If I look too hard at them, they start to resemble the soggy mess that stones 1–10 were and I can't see any form any more. 

If I squint, they actually look ok, so I think we're getting somewhere. I felt it was important to post these, because as someone who has painted in the past, I was getting really frustrated that I couldn't just 'whip up' these images. I think there is a common misconception that artists find traditional image-making (such as drawing, printmaking and photography) easy. I know I often think it myself: "pfft - I can draw, as if this photo isn't going to be excellent!" (Turns out I can't take a picture to save my life - it's rather disappointing.) 

This is gemstone number 6. Imagine what the first five looked like. Ugh. What I continually have to remind my self is to practise. We say 'art practice' do we not? I appreciate that some people may find a painting task like this simple, however it is not something that comes naturally to me. But I live by the fact that if you want to get better at something, you need to do it again and again. And then some more! 

Seeing as I was never without a pencil in my hand for the first 20 years of my life, I think drawing had to come out somewhere. However, I can honestly say that I never thought of this 'keep practising' concept until I was trying to draw milly-molly-mandy about ... five years ago. After the first disastrous attempt, I declared that it was 'too hard, I'm crap!' until my (wonderful) Husband Kent very gently suggested that I kept trying until I was happy with it. Those drawings ended up in my first ever public exhibition.

So cheesy I know, but sometimes it's good to remind yourself that effort does play a part in the things we do. I am very privileged in that I have a supportive network of friends and family who encourage me to keep trying this art business. How cross my mum would be if I had thrown out Gemstone number one and then whined about it being too hard to bother with. That thing you might be struggling with at the moment may be getting you down, but perhaps just set it aside for now. Take a breath, and give it another attempt tomorrow*. 


*I am already so sick of gemstones, I can't be effed even looking at another one today. Hopefully tomorrow they will be shiny and new.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Some of you may know, this year I am undertaking an Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching. Exciting, no? It has already led my work in a very specific direction. This work (completed only today) has made me realise how much of my collage-based work references force, gravity, movement, stillness and many other aspects of a yoga practice. It's uncanny.

I would like to stress that I am not quitting art to join a commune and grow my armpit hair. This year is already shaping up into a very exciting and challenging collection of exhibitions, workshops and extra fun projects.

Here's hoping that I can continue living this fine balance that has been the last 8 years of making pictures and occasionally standing on my head.



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