Marketing my art has always been the hardest thing for me…apart from dealing with bouts of creative blocks. I guess, after evaluating my long undulating relationship with my art over the years, I figured it was about time I gave it all another go, realising that these endeavours take time and trial and error (and I’ve made loads of them already!).
So, I had an etsy account sitting dormant since 2015 and decided to restock my shop, with prints, paintings (and the idea I’m really psyched about) “art boxes” (I’ve only made two so far).
For the first time in my life, I feel like I have become less critical of my art and more embracing and accepting of my style. I think I am offering something truly intuitive, mostly because of the insights I have gained in my own life from my artwork. Art bears witness to pain, and using a quote I heard on the radio waves; “the purpose of art is to make the personal universal”.
I hold on to the idea that to share artwork is sharing something of value and meaning to the world….and I’m so grateful that I am in a position, financially (due to my lovely husband) that I can pursue this path. (The link to my shop is posted below!)
This week was spent in our house out in Narembeen/Bruce Rock. Our whole lives seem to be stored there, I married my husband, Kevin at the age of 21 and lived there for the first 16 years of our married life before moving to Perth, with Kevin still working the farm part time. So the house has become much of a storage space for all of my art over the years. This week I unearthed a lot of it…from more recent endeavours to things I had created 27+ years ago (I even have a portrait done as an adolescent of our family dog). It’s been a strange journey. There has been many reoccurring themes, a lot of pictures of Kevin and my boys, portraits of those dear to me, dreams, religious art, self portraits..and the best one…I found a precious little sketch I did of my eldest son Jordan when he was about 18 months old.
It made me think, once artwork gets old, it becomes a bit sacred. You don’t want to destroy it just because it contains a piece of your heart, ideas and musings from the past depicted in form and colour. And although it most probably means little to other people, for me, looking at all this stuff has been reassuring. I’ve mustered some compassion and respect for my own personhood. The pictures bear witness to not only the ebbs and flows of my life, but the hard things, the difficult times in the past, that may have otherwise been glossed over as if they never existed. It’s provided a map of where I’ve been, giving a sense of purpose to where I’m going. These things are impossible to see at the time. Often when you create an artpiece there is no conscious, deliberate intent. It’s not til later that you can see the spirit or soul that drives the inspiration. I’ve always said art makes visible the things that go beyond words, and it’s true.
So today, I suppose armed with the belief that life matters, that our interpretation of this life also matters, I set to task to hang as much of my work on our farmhouse walls as I could. Prior to today they were placed on the floor against the walls of our bedroom and Jordan’s old room. None of them are hung particularly neatly, and some walls are asbestos so you can’t put a nail in them. But I did my best- I’m so happy seeing them occupy ‘real’ space on the walls! It’s been cathartic in a way, too. I’m giving space to my self, validating my own art, silencing the inner critic, hopefully also creating a space for future art musings, experimentations, themes and dabblings to occupy.
Last week we made egg tempera paint using a recipe I found in several places after trolling the Internet. The directions were, use egg yolk, anything that would make a pigment (we tried crushed dry pastels and food dye), a bit of water and vinegar. The idea was to make mini plaster ‘frescoes’, inspired by the beautiful Italian frescoes found in churches in the early Renaissance. We used meat trays for our plaster mixture and happily worked away with our glossy transparent homemade egg tempera paint. The following week, I pulled them out for the kids to finish-but we found they had gone a bit mouldy (one of my students looked mortified; his carefully painted Jesus looked like he had green chicken pox). We google searched our concerns ‘why does egg tempera go mouldy?’ with no joy. Apparently no one else in cyberspace has had this happen. The weather has been a bit on the wet side, and maybe our yolk ratios were too generous. Still, I love the learning that happens through mistakes. There is a lot of science in art. We are continuing our look into Renaissance art-I will keep posting!
Pre-primary artists used corrugated papers and paint to make fairytale castles. This is a great activity to teach shape and texture. We achieved this in two 50 minute sessions, the first session we looked at the shapes found in old castles, and I demonstrated how to cut out shapes and assemble them onto the paper……so very important to demonstrate, I always have to remind myself that children are not mind readers!!! After doing some drawings of castle shapes, they cut out their shapes (some needed a little help- cutting castle turrets is hard work!), then glued them down onto black paper (we used pva glue). I was a bit torn between painting them the following week or using them to make prints….but I think the greater learning was achieved through just painting them. Young kids looooove colour mixing. I think the more of this they can do, the better. I love hearing shrieks of “oh wow I made gold/purple/green”….messy but worth it! I think these young artists should be very happy with what they have achieved.
My senior homeschool group have been working (meticulously!) on creating fairytale inspired silhouettes. We had a look at some artwork by Czech artist Divica Landrova (1908- 1982), noting the repetitive shapes and stylised images.
Students then researched some fairytale silhouettes using whatever device they had on hand (phones, iPad, laptops). They sketched their designs onto black paper, then cut out their image using a scalpel or Stanley knife. Some of their designs were very intricate! They then glued their composition on to white paper. These pictures show some of their work in progress!
I’m teaching my 3/4 class how to include foreground, middle ground and backgrounds in landscapes. We used tissue paper and paint to make the foreground appear closer. We also made some trees out of torn newspaper. They painted on some recycled lino donated from the Pre Primary classroom. They look pretty cool so far, can’t wait til they add the finishing touches with oil pastel..although, these ones look pretty good as they are 😊
Today my year 3/4 art students created collages of aerial views. We discussed how an aerial view is a view from above, like in a plane. A lot of aboriginal art is based on the aerial view. We westerners are really biased toward seeing the world and art from a frontal viewpoint!
The important thing about aerial perspective is that there is no horizon line, so this was a great follow up for the alien landscape activity, because the focus there was on putting in a horizon line that shows where the land and sky meet.
We also talked about collage and how it’s a really flexible way of using lots of materials. We used newspaper, coloured tissue paper, coloured construction paper and dry pastels. After I did a quick demo, kids were very keen to explore their own ideas and they came up with some unique ways of using collage to show aerial views.