Tag Archives: making a living as an artist

Don’t judge a book by its cover……

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover….’

Much like a book cover, all too often we form opinions about someone or their work based on very little information – usually brief meetings, or in the case of visual artists, one painting, exhibition or gallery representation.

In this post, still thinking about how social media has, and continues to play an important part in my life….I want to address the difficulties of being pigeon holed as an artist.         This can happen on the back of one painting, exhibition or gallery representation as well as other people’s assumptions of who you are.

This large oil on canvas (circa 1982) depicts the moment that people turn their backs on one another….(Part of a large series of paintings)Featured Image -- 19828

Making a living as an artist is not easy.     It takes tenacity, courage and a great deal of creativity.     As I look back on my nearly fifty year career I can see that my journey has been eventful, exciting, sometimes desperate, but throughout there has always been the knowledge that I was following the right path.

Despite the difficulties and disappointments along the way, I have, and continue to experience great joy as an artist and will forever be grateful to have chosen this path.

Large oil on canvas (circa 1990) depicting what was one of the most important turning points in my life and career. 

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By the time I painted this self portrait (circa 1990) – I had already learned that to make my way as an artist I would need to adapt to unusual situations and trust in my intuition.    By 1990, sadly my marriage was dissolved and I was left with no money or support.

Refusing to give up my life as an artist, I listened to my intuition and chose to live and work in my West Chester, Pennsylvania, studio, which at that time had no heat or running water.     I learned so much about myself during this period.

Along with giving workshops at the Chester County Arts Association, I began working with Bonnie Paul, a well established art consultant.       Bonnie provided the art work for large corporate entities….and through her I received many commissions.

Part of the studio in West Chester Pa., on Prescott Alley.   By this time I had heat and running water in the building.    

The large still life painting  you can see through the opening was part of a series of work that sold well and paid for renovations, etc.     Scan 74 

What I haven’t mentioned is that I began my career as a ‘wildlife painter’ – and so when I was commissioned to make a fund raising poster for the Philadelphia Zoo of course I jumped at it.    Proceeds from the poster were to contribute towards a new big cat area at the zoo.

Another way to make income and remember this is all before Social media…..

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In 1993, I returned home to the UK and moved to Crickhowell, Wales (the Magical Town of Crickadoon)  where I stayed with my cousin Lyn and her family.    Through Lyn and PJ’s design company, I continued to paint murals and at the same time give workshops. and exhibit. 

I took this photograph last weekend when visiting my cousin Lyn in Cardiff.   Here is Lyn standing in front of a large oil on canvas portrait I painted of. her in 1994. 

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It was during my twelve years in Crickhowell, that I was introduced to the internet.   It was still prior to social media, digital phones/cameras etc….but seeds were being sown and something about it appealed to me. 

It’s important to note that I only use social media to view other artists work and to show my own….I don’t use if for much else, which is why I still probably enjoy it. 

Social media allowed me to show hummingbirds, and all sorts of other work.   Many of my friends on both sides of the Atlantic have noted that social media joined up all the dots…..   In short it got me out of the pigeon hole syndrome…..

Detail from large mural…where I first began to incorporate the hummingbird symbolising the unseen magic in our world.  (circa 1989)30073021_10156254550480396_5015561812048311931_o

This past weekend, I filmed my first web cam demo.   Hopefully within a week or so it will be edited so that I can share with you all.    Another way that social media helps we artists.

For now I wish you all well and send a magical hummingbird.

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A bientôt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Intangible healing of creativity

“The creative process in all its many forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.”   Janet weight reed

My hummingbird imagery symbolises the unseen and intangible in our world.    Just because we can’t see or touch something doesn’t mean it’s not there or is having a profound effect on our lives.

20190218_111017The Aboriginals, Native Americans and many other indigenous peoples around the globe have a deep understanding of our spiritual, physical, social and cultural connection to the land.       They believe all of life as it is today, human, animal, bird and fish is part of one vast unchanging network of relationships.       They understand fully the importance of land management care towards our health and overall wellbeing. 20190219_073051It seems that many people today,  young and old from all sectors of society,  are experiencing physical and emotional illnesses and distress.         Given our fast pace of life and that so much of the world’s population is now plugged into technology of one kind or another, is it any wonder  that our collective senses are being deadened?

 

 Technology has changed the whole world dynamic. 

 

In this fast watercolour sketch from Portugal last October, everything within the image is interconnected.    There are no starts and stops…no beginning and no ending, rather a continual flow.

20180930_125738Feeding our senses by spending time in the natural world, is healing.   However, like all good medicine, it needs to be enjoyed on a consistent  basis.

Many have forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting beneath a tree and how restorative it is.    14435032_10154437102300396_4492475642371147944_oI have been listening to a radio programme about the power of the placebo…and how it has been shown time and time again to cause a sense of wellbeing even though the recipient is fully aware that they are taking a sugar pill.     This has everything to do with mind, body connection.

27164538_10156023231000396_5682597220846199362_o     This photograph was taken on a hot day last October on my friend’s farm in Portugal.   I had just finished teaching a course and needed time to relax, focus and meditate.     Once I began to sketch and most importantly open my senses to all that surrounded me, within minutes I felt calm and refreshed. DSC_6669When we immerse ourselves into the creative flow, our minds are taken into what I call deep time.     A place that is totally different from our clock watching, rushing to the next appointment type of time.       An intangible sense of calmness and wellbeing ensues.   We return to what we were designed for – being part of nature and engaging our senses.

Portugese children on Armona Island playing with shells….20-11-15 - 1 (913)    Trying to exist in this brave new world and finding a space for creativity, in all its many forms….might sound impossible.

I have raised a family and worked all my life and like most people have lived through some very stressful times.      I have learned that if I simply stop….and give myself some soul food each day, I am immediately calmed and feel a sense of well being.    Soul food time enriches and supports everything else we need and have to do in life.

It costs nothing.   It doesn’t mean major life changes.     It simply means addressing the part of ourselves that is in desperate need for daily food. 46361144_10156801851710396_7419123831345774592_oOne hugely important factor so often overlooked is that of populations growth.

I was born in London in 1946, right after World War 2.     At that time the world population was approximately two and a half million.    Today the world population is seven and half million and rapidly rising. 20-11-15 - 1 (135)This tells me that more than ever before we need daily soul food and to renew our connection with the natural world. 

If we don’t give ourselves this precious time, we are doomed to be like hamsters running around a wheel…..feeling utterly frustrated and exhausted, and at the same time achieving very little. 

I made this quick sketch when visiting my son and his partner on their farm in Pennsylvania last spring.     Their neighbours are Amish.      We have much to learn from such people. 20190125_123816From Buddhist Offerings….

‘We see that life, composed of this mind and body, is in a state of continual constant transformation and flux.      There is always the possibility of radical change.    Every moment – not just poetically or figuratively, but literally – every moment we are dying and being reborn, we and all life’ 

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A bientôt

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk –   The Apple Exercise. 

I have just re-read Virginia Woolf’s  – A Room of One’s Own.     It has been at least forty years since I last read it.   Back then it didn’t resonate with me in the way it does today.  .