21 days in my art world – Week 2 – Days 8 to 14

 In About My Work, Journal

I made it to Week 2 of Tara Leaver’s #21daysinmyartworld challenge. Woohoo! Here I share Days 8-14 #inmyartworld.

Week 1 (click here)
Week commencing 6 Jan 20

Day 1 – A Favourite Print
Day 2 – Lesson Learned
Day 3 – Latest WIP
Day 4 – Art Book
Day 5 – Current Challenge
Day 6 – Colour Palette
Day 7 – Inspiration

Week 2 – HERE WE ARE
Week commencing 13 Jan 20

Day 8 – Inspiration
Day 9 – Where the art happens
Day 10 – Artist Selfie
Day 11 – Turning Point
Day 12 – Current Motif{s}
Day 13 – Process Insight
Day 14 – Sold!

Week 3 (click here)
Week commencing 20 Jan 20

Day 15 – ???
Day 16 – ???
Day 17 – ???
Day 18 – ???
Day 19 – ???
Day 20 – ???
Day 21 – ???

Day 8: Inspiration

The Challenge: Where do you get your ideas? What ignites that catalytic spark that compels you to create? You might be thinking ‘um… everywhere/everything!’. Being an active artist means having a certain kind of lens on the world. Share with us somewhere or something that inspires your work. Maybe it’s something that was the catalyst for a current painting or series, or maybe it’s a more general theme.

My Response: Broadly – the natural environment inspires me. Especially the environment where I live. I live in a beautiful part of the world – the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I prefer to spend my time in spaces away from people and crowds, ideally in some sort of natural landscape. That could be holidays in national forest and wildlife reserves, an afternoon drive out to Curramore, an hour’s respite walking around Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. I love playing with my camera and have an extensive library of reference photos taken in many of the natural spaces I have spent time, and birds and critters that I have spotted along walks and sits. I can spend hours pouring through my photos looking for ideas and inspiration for my next reduction linocut print. A simple walk around my property or local area presents leaves and weeds and other organic materials that inform my next play with gelatin plate monoprinting. If the natural environment is giving me direct inspiration for my next work, it is calming my soul in readiness to get started on my next creative project.

Below are some photos I’ve flagged to explore for projects during 2020…

Day 9: Where the art happens

The Challenge: Show us your workspace! Whether it’s a corner of your dining room table or a dedicated studio space, a plein air set up or a sketchbook in front of the tv, we LOVE to see where you make your art. Bonus points for telling us a bit about how you’ve set it up and what works well for you. We can always use more tips on creative space organisation

My Response: 2019 saw me become the luckiest little printmaker in Australia! I moved into my new studio – a 4 car concrete and brick garage that we had painted (thank you Peter Barth!!) and I fitted out with shelving and desks to create my dream studio and workshop space. There is ample desk space for students for workshops. I have a corner for my computers and other technology gadgets (printers and scanners). There are 2 desks that I use for carving and inking my linocut prints. A table for working on my artist books. And in-between workshops, I will consume just about every horizontal surface with elements of what every project I’m working on in that moment.

As for “where the art happens”, most of it is within the walls of my studio. Some of it happens on the couch in front of the TV, when I;m feeling lazy. Sometimes it happens on the patio in my back yard. But mostly it happens in my studio. A studio that I am forever grateful for and feel blessed to have access to 🙂

I’ve posted a few recent photos of my studio below. I opened my new studio to the public in August 2019. You can see more photos here.

Day 10: Artist Selfie

The Challenge: So, you may have noticed, if you’re a 21 days veteran, that today’s prompt used to be ‘artist hands’. This year I thought we’d be a bit more daring {not least because it’s quite hard to photograph your own hands}, and go for the full selfie!

My Response: EEK!! The dreaded selfie! I’m much more comfy sharing photos of my work and working space. Ok, here goes… this is me, right now, late this afternoon. I’m in need of a haircut, and my hair is annoying me so I’ve got it all clipped up with hair clips. I can see more wrinkles in this photo than I’m used to seeing in the mirror. Crikey! Me, nothing fancy, no retouching, feeling quite vulnerable.

Day 11: Turning Point

The Challenge: Today, tell us about a turning point for you in your artist life.

My Response: There have been many Turning Points for me along my journey to becoming and working as an artist. Moving to Maleny, going back to art classes, joining the Maleny Printmakers, creating my own studio space. But what came to mind in the context of this challenge was the printing of this reduction linocut print – Persistance (yes, it is spelt wrong. Spelling was never one of my strong points, and the print was editioned before I realised my mistake, so the the typo is penciled in to perpetuity).

It was while working on this reduction linocut print that I realised how much I wanted to share the ‘moments’ from the natural environment that impacted me. Moments of stillness, contemplation, quiet, beauty. And when I realised just how important those moments were to me. For this print I referenced a photo I took on Percy Isle, off the Queensland coast (south of Mackay). I was taken by the bark peeling away from the tree’s trunk. Over the years I have captured many ‘moments’ on camera. They’re not great photos – rather memories captured in a digital format for me to refer back to. It is these photos that I often reference for new linocuts that I want to work on.

Persistance is an 8 layer reduction linocut print. I printed it in a limited edition of 10 prints in 2016 – 5x on Stonehenge printmaking paper and 5x on Japanese Hosho paper. There are a few prints still available in the edition, and I printed 100x blank greeting cards with this image too.

Day 12: Current Motif{s}

The Challenge: What keeps popping up in your paintings prints over and over? What motifs fascinate you so much you keep having to recreate them? Is it something you found or borrowed, or is it something that just started happening? Is it a shape, a subject, a series of lines or a pattern? Might be fun to set up an arrangement of several paintings that contain your current motifs, to illustrate. The magic of motifs is they link work together – instant series!

My Response: This was tricky for me. My first response was that I don’t have one. I looked up the meaning of ‘motif’. Google’s first response was:

  • Motif: noun – a decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern; and
  • Motif: noun – a dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work

So for Day 12’s ‘current motif’ challenge I’m going with the 2nd definitiona dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work“. Moments in the natural environment are the recurring idea or theme of my work. By ‘moments’ I mean moments of observation. By ‘observation’ I mean both visual observation and observation of moments felt in my heart. Moments that took me out of my head and into moments of peace, respite, tranquility, calm, safety, freedom, time, awe, laughter. These moments can be stepping back and looking at a bigger picture; or honing in to one view and mindfully experiencing that moment.

I capture some of my moments on my camera, and work from my photos as reference for my prints; other moments are a collection of finds from my garden that inform a print to reflect moments of stillness or how I was feeling when wandering.

Other moments I aim to capture and share in my artist books. I love to work with printed papers (eco-prints, linocut prints, monoprints) and materials from my studio, collected items from walks and gifts from friends. What I love about artist books is their tactile nature, haptic. Exploring the object with your hands and eyes.

Day 13: Process Insight

The Challenge: What insight borne of process can you share with us today? What has your process taught you about yourself, about your art, about life? Or you can talk about your process in more practical terms; do you use the same approach each time, or do you prefer to keep trying new things? Is there something that always has to be present for you to make art?

My Response: Trust the process!! I love process. I teach process. I have learned that when I surrender myself to ‘the process’, I can focus single-mindedly on the task at hand and enjoy the process.

Some 25 years ago, +/- a few years, I was listening to a cassette tape (yep, showing my age!) in my room in my share house and heard Deepak Chopra make the following statement:

Slip in to the gap
Have the desire
Release the attachment to the outcome
And let the universe take care of the rest

Replace the word ‘universe‘ with ‘process‘ and Deepak’s statement has seen me through low points when creating many of my own artworks. I think every artwork I create goes through its slumps, entering at some stage what I refer to as the ‘demilitarized zone’ – a kind of no-mans-land where I’m just not sure if I will realise the vision I have in my heart and mind or not. It is where I have learned to trust in the processes I have developed within my practice, trust in the skills that I have learned, slip in to the gap, have the desire, and let the process guide me to the end.

Printmaking is very much a process driven art form – in all its variations and sub-categories. And I love to explore them all!

I think I feel safe in process. I feel vulnerable sharing my work, and especially vulnerable when I share the finished print. But working with the processes I have developed, love and enjoy within my arts practice, affords me a confidence to keep creating.

Day 14: Sold!

The Challenge: It’s time to share with us a painting you’ve sold. Maybe it’s the first one you ever sold, maybe you’ve been selling your work for years and have heaps to choose from. Maybe it’s your most recent sale.

My Response:You are here‘ sold! on Friday evening (2 evenings ago) at the exhibition opening event for the Local Artist Local Content Art Prize 2020. My print was a finalist entry. It didn’t win, but it did sell on opening night. And I am chuffed. Both for the privilege of being accepted as a Finalist, and for selling. This print was #3 of a limited edition of 11 reduction linocut prints, and the final available print.

I find pricing work hard. And as much as I love to sell my work, I find it a very awkward experience. How do you put a value on something that has been created from a space within you? It’s easy to factor the material and commission costs, but how do you put a price on the time and energy (including the years of professional development, failures and lessons to get to the point where your work is good enough to sell) spent creating your art piece. That was a rhetorical question.

Its hard to know if someone will want to buy a piece of your finished art work. Its unknown until it has been created then shared with its audience. It can be harder to find the right eyes to show your work. A leap of faith. A display of vulnerability. That I guess is the nature of the beast. A sale may be desirable (artists need to eat and pay rent too), but art is subjective and in reality a discretionary spend for most people.

I create art because I want to create art. I hope that people want to buy my art. That way I can buy art materials to keep creating more art. And hopefully to buy art that I fall in love with too. Selling art is not my primary motivation – but golly gee whizz its a great feeling when I do sell a piece 🙂

Want to catch up on last week or next week?

Click here if you want to have a read through the Challenges from week 1, days 1-7 of the #21daysinmyartworld challenge.

And click here to read the Challenges and my response for week 3, days 15-21.

And I’d love to hear your Challenge responses 🙂

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Botanical 1 - Gelatin Plate monotype printSafe Harbour reductive linoprint by Kim Herringe