Ok so there are many things that I would like to cover and can easily go all over the place when I’m trying to express what I want to communicate so hopefully it all makes sense in the end.
Lets go back to October when I felt the call to set myself a small challenge to work for the month, I had been working on a series of paintings but it wasn’t progressing and it was just feeling all a bit stagnate. A challenge seemed to be the perfect way to get explore, have fun and hopefully find some inspiration. What I came up with was working on very mini pieces on paper, next I set myself the theme of Botanical. While I absolutely love landscape and seascape abstract, I’ve been trying to find a botanical style that flowed and felt like me for a while. If you look in some of my sketchbooks you will find many sketches of flowers and bees, trying to practice and experiment but none of them have been evolving into anything. Also I’ve even gone straight into creating a few Botanical paintings on canvas and wooden panel, but if you notice with those haven’t progressed anything ether, I do have a feeling those will be explored again at a later date when the time is right. So anyways I did this October challenge and boy was it really hard at the beginning, working on such a small scale was actually really hard, and those first couple of days I had many fails that I just put in the trash. Trying not to overwork the background was a major challenge and also the botanical forms I was creating just didn’t seem right to me. But I pushed on, would pick up little things from one piece and then carry into onto the next and what do you know some beautiful pieces were made, all of sudden I went from struggling to just make one mini painting a day to wanting to create 10 in a day. From that challenge, I learnt that you have to continuously work on what feels hard and awkward, there will come a moment that block will fall away and a creative harmony will just flow. Embrace what you see as mistakes, don’t cover them up, work with them instead.
From that Challenge I knew I had a new series to work on and had a few key points that the series was to be based on. It was all to be on paper, the simple colour palette was set, it was to be simple botanical line paintings and that background was to be painted and created in a certain way. I set off starting to create these pieces, and what surprised me the most was the I only had two that didn’t make the cut and they were just cause the colours weren’t right. All the other ones, just flowed easily and was a absolute joy to create. The feelings I had while I sat there creating them was just amazing and pure joy, my instinct was giving me the hell yes messages that this was exactly that I was meant to be creating and the responses that I have received from others has told me I was exactly right listening to my instinct. Once I finished the painting work, it was onto photographing them. This process is still taking me a while to do cause I’m still finding it a challenge to get lighting correct, it takes quite a bit of time to make sure the painting is level and then the camera is also level. Definitely not just a point and capture process that I thought it would be but hey that is all good with me as it’s a great learning experience. Then it was onto cropping the images, loading the paintings onto the website and packaged them up in their protective sleeves. This was when I started to notice all the symbolism in the paintings.
This part of understanding Art and the message behind paintings has always kind of made me scratch my head. Most of the time it’s just I like the colour, the shape, the texture, the style etc. But now I feel that cause I’ve put in the constant practice of creating, that I’m understanding it so much more. I’m assuming that some artists might start out with a message they want to get across with their work and then others don’t know what the message is until once the Art is finished. Now I’ve learnt that I’m definitely that latter of those two. I now have a feeling of relief and understand the right process for me, hopefully this should help eliminate to many blocks in the future but we will have to wait and see.
So this is what I get from looking back across this series of paintings. They are a little insight of what I have found as medicine for my soul over the last couple of years. Motherhood is tough job with many ups and downs, it teaches you things about yourself and makes you stronger than you can even imagine It has pushed me right to burn out which takes a lot of care and work to get over, and then yet it been so rewarding of the most magical and loving experiences that I will forever cherish. For those who don’t know Chloe has Noonan Syndrome and had Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML) until she was roughly a year old which thankfully due to her having Noonan Syndrome rectified itself. I share this not cause I want her or me to have sympathy, but to show that I know that this has all shaped me to being the person I am today. The first couple of years have undoubtably left me with some trauma, while the word trauma can be seen as a negative thing I like to see it positively as lessons I’ve learnt. Have I overcome those traumas, yes and no, have I learnt how to cope better, yes but also sometimes can find certain situations and moments quiet triggering. I understand that being a mother is about being a advocate for your child, but it think what happened is that stopped putting myself first, I struggled to realise that I needed to turn off the advocator hat regularly so I could recharge myself. So on the flip side I had to learnt to advocate for myself which I don’t think I have every really done very well. Now what did I learn was the special formula to get back in full form? Regular exercise, walking, creative time and also time to myself is extremely important, if these things don’t happen I’m not a very nice person to be around. Apart from painting, the other big thing is getting outside in my garden. Tending to it weeding, planting, watering, tiding, pruning, collecting produce, just being in it . . . it recharges my batteries like nothing else. It doesn’t have to be sunny, if it’s cold and raining, I still find it just as rewarding. Just like painting it gives me the feeling on my heart of complete joy, like it’s is singing and extremely happy. This might all sound a bit woo-woo but I do like a bit of woo-woo. Reflecting on this obviously images of botanicals will want to be expressed in my artwork. It’s all the botanical shapes that you would see in nature during the warmer part of the year, where everything is growing and blossoming.
So now why the circle? This represents a few things. First a cycle, a cycle of the seasons of the year but also the cycle of life/nature, the sunsetting and the magical light that you get in the evening at that time of year. It is also represents my eye focusing on the botanicals, the eye of the beholder, finding the beauty of the little things in front of you. The shape of the earth, mother earth, motherhood . . . I think you could go on and on with that finding symbolism of the circle Then I later had a giggle to myself cause a circle is in my logo, so of course I drawn to that symbol which means it’s naturally going to appear in my work.
After busy summer days, when Chloe has gone to bed I get outside water the garden, the sun is going down so that magical summer glow is happening, little insects are flying in the air, the flowers and plants are showing off their beautiful colours and shapes. The birds are full birdsong glory and smell of nature is in the air. It’s a sign to my body and soul, to take a deep breath and recharge. Feels a bit weird and vulnerable talking about not only what my art means to me but also a insight in being me, but I guess that’s what I need to do get comfortable showing. I think sharing these experiences the highs, lows and all the in-between are important, I’ve been wanting to find a way to help others express and heal from similar experiences so maybe this will help. You might just look the pieces and think it’s just images of plants, and that’s ok, but this information and helps others to find what fuels them or even find a way to heal from traumatic period, it is totally worthwhile.
Hope you enjoyed the insight to what I’ve discovered while reflecting on my Botanical Summer Line pieces and the craziness of my thoughts. Until next time.