How do you give a title to your artwork? This is something I often have difficulty with. I recently finished a painting I’m struggling to find a title for.
I feel like the title should help the viewer to understand the meaning and inspiration behind the work. But I want the title to be interesting and in some cases, a little mysterious – especially in my abstract work – I want the viewer to have the chance to make up their own mind.
Sometimes, a title comes to me immediately – often this is the case for the simple images – a group of colourful trees on a night sky background becomes ‘night colour’, or an image of a baby bird taking its first flight becomes ‘brave‘.
The title of my painting ‘Beautiful Mysterious’, of a star filled galaxy, was inspired by a quote by Albert Einstein:
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.”
Fellow artists: How do you come up with titles for your work? Is it something you struggle with, or does it come easily?
I love painting in watercolours – it’s definitely my favourite medium. My watercolours are a bit unusual compared to many I’ve seen, as many of them are abstract or naive in style. I love making abstract watercolours because it gives me a chance to let the paint have a ‘mind of its own’.
Many of my favourite abstract watercolours are inspired by science, like my ‘Moons of Jupiter’ series:
Some more ‘space’ inspired works:
From the very big to the very small – some of my other abstract watercolours are inspired by microscopic images:
But I think my favourite overall is this one – it’s only a tiny painting, but it has a lot of detail:
I’ve been enjoying doing some paintings with lots of little details lately. The first is one I started a LONG time ago, but only finished recently, entitled ‘Growth’. This painting includes lots of little details, including some embroidered elements, which is a first for me.
The next two paintings were both inspired by ocean waves. One was done primarily with watercolours, with some ink drawing done afterwards. The other was inspired by zentangles, and I did the patterened sections with a sharpie first before adding the colour with watercolours later.
I’m not sure which one I like best yet, but I’m leaning towards the last one – what are your thoughts?
So I haven’t posted here in a while, for a lot of reasons – I haven’t had much time for creating since I had my kids, and I’ve had even less time for the more tedious aspect to having an art business: promotion. I’ve completed a few paintings since I last posted, but just didn’t get around to putting them up here. I’m also hoping for a long-overdue overhaul of this website, but I’ve decided not to wait until that’s done before I start getting organised again.
My latest painting is called DFTBA, and I think it’s very fitting that this is the beginning of my creative revival. I hope you like it!
When I last posted I was getting ready for the Nurture exhibition at the Art and Design Precinct. I was really happy with how the exhibition went – I sold one of my paintings and received a wonderful review. It was great working with the gallery and I would love to exhibit there again.
At the moment I’m working on an abstract piece in watercolour and pen, with the theme of growth. Here’s how it’s looking so far (please excuse the terrible iPhone photo):
One challenge with abstract paintings like this one is knowing when to stop!
It’s been a while since I’ve been involved in an exhibition, and I’m excited to have 3 of my paintings in the Art & Design Precinct’sNurture exhibition beginning this Friday. With my first Mother’s Day coming up, it is the perfect theme for me.
Opening night is this Friday 2nd May, and the exhibition continues through until May 14.
The three paintings I chose to include all have themes of motherhood.
Breakfast for Early Birds features a mother bird feeding her babies as they nest in a tree, silhouetted before a clear dawn sky.
Hope Within was painted when I was pregnant, and represents the joy and hope of an expectant mother
Little Family is a brand new painting, very similar to the one I created for Xander’s nursery. The two larger trees represent the mother and father, while the smaller tree represents the child. The blue and yellow of the parents’ trees combine to make the green of the child’s. Each of the parent trees features a green heart, to represent their love for their child.
A lot of people ask me about how I got started with painting, and what my training has been.
As long as I can remember, I have loved to create in a variety of ways. As a child, one of the most memorable Christmas presents I received was a set of Crayola crayons. I was so excited by all those colours! Then, when I was a little older, I received a tin of Derwent coloured pencils, which I adored. As a child I also went to after-school art lessons, with a lovely lady whose name I can no longer remember in her backyard studio. I loved these classes because we were encouraged to try out different mediums and new techniques. It was at one of these classes that I first saw a van Gogh – the teacher showed me his Sunflowers in a book and I was mesmerised. He is still one of my favourite artists today.
I’m still really proud of some of the things I was able to produce in that class. My favourite is a watercolour of a flamingo. I used watercolour pencils to make it and it was the first time I had used watercolour paper. I remember being impressed at how much better the colours came out on the watercolour paper than on the ordinary paper I was used to using. It was also in this class that I painted on canvas for the first time – this made me feel very professional and grown up.
Later on, in high school, I did art in grade 8, but did not choose it as an elective subject in year 9. I wanted to, but my parents convinced me to do something more ‘useful’, so I took typing instead. While I am very grateful for my ability to touch type (something that has come in very handy over the years), I am still a little sad that I allowed myself to be talked out of taking art. Looking back though, it’s hard to be too regretful, because I have been able to explore my art in my own way, and to learn through experimentation. I wouldn’t have come up with my ‘signature style’ for backgrounds without this experimentation.
Throughout high school and university (where I studied Primary Teaching), I did little pieces of art here and there, just for fun. I did lots of doodles during lectures because I find it hard to sit still and listen without doing something with my hands. Often I would cover a whole notebook page with doodles, and would have the people on either side of me looking over my shoulder at my work. I didn’t do any large paintings during this time, mostly because I didn’t have the time or space to do so.
When I finished uni, I moved out of mum & dad’s place to my own unit with my then boyfriend (now husband). We had very little money as I had only just started teaching and he was studying and working part time. I was eager to decorate our little townhouse, and since I couldn’t afford to buy art, decided to create some of my own. I experimented with using oil paints, and found that while I loved the results I got, I was getting sick from the smell, impatient for the paint to dry and hated the clean up. I also experimented with using pastels, and liked the soft look they created, but once again the OCD part of me didn’t like the mess. I reverted back to the old familiar acrylics and watercolours. At this stage I was still creating art just for me and my own home – I didn’t dream that anyone else would want to hang my artwork on their wall.
A few years later, my husband and I (we were married by then) decided to buy our own house. Once again, I decided to decorate with my own artwork. We had a large blank wall that I was excited to fill. I created a triptych acrylic on canvas, featuring a tree which came more into flower with each panel. It looked great on the wall and I was very proud of it. It still hangs on our lounge room wall today. Once again, I was painting just for me, and didn’t expect to ever sell my art to others. Then, something amazing happened. A friend saw the painting and loved it, and offered to pay me to do something for her own wall. I was thrilled! I started to think that despite my lack of formal training, maybe there would be others out there who would appreciate my artwork. That was when I really started to create more, and to offer my paintings for sale.
Now, I have sold paintings to people from all over the world, and I have been contacted by many people to create custom made commissions for their own walls. It fills me with joy whenever I sell a painting, because it means someone has appreciated the work I’ve put into it. I love the idea of my paintings hanging on other people’s walls, all over the world.
Today I finished a painting for my son’s nursery. I’m very happy with it! Not least of all because he smiled when he saw it 🙂
I haven’t had a chance to scan it yet, so this is just a picture from my phone and so not the best quality, but I don’t plan on making prints of this one anyway – it’s a special painting just for my little boy. The blue and yellow trees represent my husband and myself, and the little green tree represents my baby boy. I chose these colours specifically to show that he is a mix of the two of us. Inside the blue and yellow trees are green hearts, to represent that he is always in our hearts.
While I won’t be selling this painting or making prints of it, if you like this idea for a baby nursery, I can create a custom artwork for you. You can choose the colours of the trees, their positions, sizes, etc.
I think this would make a lovely gift for a new baby – my son’s painting has a personal inscription on the back of it from me. I hope that when he grows up, it will be something he treasures.
What are my own thoughts about happiness and how to create it? I think different people find their happiness in different ways, so here are some of the things that make me happy:
Even when I’m not painting (and I did have a very long break without painting), I’m always creating something. I love to draw and doodle, and to create scrapbook pages. I like making crafts and I l0ve to cook.
Appreciating the little things
A beautiful sunset. A hot cup of tea. SLEEP. (Oh, Sleep, how did I ever take you for granted!?) My baby’s smile. Something I’m guilty of is spending too much time looking forward to big events, and not focusing on the little sweet moments of the everyday. When I do focus on these things, I have a happier day.
Family, Love and Friendship
This is something I’m appreciating more and more since the birth of my baby. I get so much happiness from my friends and family, and the support they have given me since Xander was born. I love being a part of our own little family.
What things make you happy? How do you create happiness in your own life?