New beginnings for a new year

The days currently are balmy. There is electricity in the air and a sense of expectation. Perhaps it’s due to the heat and the sudden light showers of rain mixed with late afternoon storms. For me it is the best time of year in Australia. Christmas is past for another year and now I am painting in my studio, mostly discarding the results, but at some stage the tide will turn.

Have you written your list of things to achieve this year? The new year can bring new beginnings. My list as always is a little daunting…so much to do yet so little time. It begins with the steps needed to produce my first book, Gleaner or Gladiator, nearly out of print, as an e-book and goes on to include designing new brochures and pulling together my new workshop.

Lastly I want to brain storm ideas for an art project, which includes visiting the lands of my ancestors, for later in the year. I won’t include producing artworks in my to do list as it is a given event for most days. It takes a few rehearsals to get the good work out after travel but I need it flowing to have some new works to include in two scheduled exhibitions, before I get distracted with the marketing side of things.

This part of being creative can’t be neglected but how do we manage it all without employing an assistant? My budget doesn’t run to that option unfortunately. A solid foundation built over time is the best possibility for adding new rooms to your house of cards. Fortunately for me I am researching these building blocks and making notes for my new workshop ‘Preparing for Creative Success’ to be held in my studio at Tallegalla in S. E Queensland in April.

The most exciting part of having an open mind is to never know what ultimately lies ahead. Staying positive includes being ready for success so you are able to take up what life throws at you. I wish you a  prosperous and happy New Year my creative friend.

Spiritual Connections to an ageless Land

Having just returned from travelling to the tip of North Island in New Zealand in a campervan I am currently revisiting this diverse journey of ten days through a myriad of photographs. Prior to picking up the van we spent 3 days in Rotorua where I gave a two day workshop to a group of very enthusiastic Kiwis, then went to

Thermal volcanic colours in Rotorua

Wai-O-Tapu thermal area for my second time before passing through Auckland on our way to Cape Reinga. This was my fourth time to N Z and I am becoming very acquainted with it’s seemingly endless beauty.

Basically following the Twin Discovery Highway in Northland we met fellow travellers from around the world, one of the many joys of going via the camping path. My plan was to explore as much as I could to compare with a journey next year to Cape York on the tip of Queensland, my home state in Australia. My interest in the elements and the way the wilderness reclaims very quickly the traces of human intervention has lead me over the years to some very special places. North Island’s beaches always excite me, not for swimming, but because it contrasts my own island upbringing in Queensland through the many different geographical aspects.

Giant sand dunes near Cape Reinga NZ

 

Although we were on a well-worn route starting with the less inhabited West Coast there remained a very strong spiritual connection to what we encountered that left me feeling very humble. Nature just seems to always get it right, from the colours experienced at Rotorua to the incredible light seen at Cape Reinga at dusk, to the quiet stream that ran at the feet of giant sand dunes offering a road to Ninety Mile Beach for the more adventurous.

Everyone we met had their own agenda yet we were all searching for that special something: the newly weds from India on a bus tour, the adventurous young couple from England exploring their destiny in a camper, having seen four Asian countries before NZ and coming next to Australia, the older Canadian couple on a self drive, and a couple from Alaska who assured us they live in the best part of the world, but want to explore different environments.

The inspiration was everywhere. I viewed interesting art in the Village Arts Gallery in the small town of Kohukohu, and a serenely presented Helena Bay Hill gallery café on a hillside at  Hikurangi, numerous art colonies and galleries in Whangarei, where a sculpture in the park symposium was coming to a close, and  I placed some of my books in historic Reyburn House  Art Gallery.

On the way home I picked up a copy of London based Kiwi journalist Garth Cartwright’s book Sweet As to read on the plane and his stories of exploring his country of birth made me wish I had found it earlier.  Please enjoy more of the photographs from my memorable journey on my Facebook page

Cape Reinga, the spiritual tip of North island, N Z

Having a Creative Mindset

Don’t feel you have a creative bone in your body? Even full time artists have their moments. Don’t paint yourself into a corner just paint yourself into a creative mindset. Creativity is a big part of everyday life. It’s just different for many situations. You may have this revelation planning a dinner party to impress someone important. A rather large creative leap could be needed to get the results you want.

What does it take to move the creativity of producing an artwork into a business workplace situation for instance? You do not need to be an artist to know we are all inherently creative. Imagine having the artist’s ability to think squarely on the feet as an abstracted painting emerges from a blank canvas. It is like nothing else you will try in your lifetime and very rewarding. Its the same process we use in all problem solving and involves mastering techniques and rules to the point that a higher level of functioning allows you to safely and creatively change them to suit the purpose.

Although an art studio can be chaotic, it is the creative achievements that make it the best job in the world however being a full time artist is not an easy choice. Getting to the top of any profession requires persistence and dedication and having faith in yourself and the creative process. The similarities of the art studio with many other jobs are closer than most people think. Superior art must come from a higher level of consciousness where the answers are unknown until they arrive and delight. It is a way of thinking, feeling and doing that is available to most who seek it.

Imagination and curiosity play a large part in a creative successful outcome and a good way to bring this into your work is to bring back the simplistic way you thought as a small child. I do wonder what would happen if you took the artist brain into the office and problem solved the same way you might paint. It may open up new pathways to success however you would need a good relationship with your client to explain why you are both covered in paint.

You can read past posts on the Twelve Qualities of Creativity on this blog and also access two books on creativity and the artistic mind on the links above or on ArtClique Below is a painting that came out of a visit to Atlin in British Columbia in 2009. It will be exhibited in the Hidden Dimensions exhibition in The Atrium Gallery at Toowoomba Regional Gallery from 11th October – 6th September 2011. If you are in town come to a Meet the Artist event planned for 1pm – 3pm on Saturday 15th October. The gallery will be open from 10am and the books are available now in the Gallery Shop.. and at Murray’s Art and Framing in Toowoomba.

Into the Wilderness acrylic on canvas

Into the Wilderness 122 x122cm acrylic on canvas

How art fills up the senses

On getting into flow in the art studio – Having just stretched 20 odd canvases for my next series of paintings I am sitting down at my computer with the remnants of white gesso clinging to my hands. I had forgotten what a dichotomy this job of preparing canvases can be. It swings between exasperation with the time taken up to do the work and the sense of anticipation and excitement as I paint the final coat of white gesso on each untouched stretched canvas.

The series I plan to paint has been in my head for about four weeks now although I don’t doubt it has been coming for years. A trip to North Stradbroke Island cemented the idea and even gave the work a name. Can I pull this series  off? This is every artist’s dilemma however preparing the surface to paint is a great start.

A book I read years ago comes to mind. It was written by Dr Eric Maisel and titled Fearless Creating. Dr Maisel discusses how artists, like Picasso did, get  into flow through preparation rituals in the studio. Picasso liked to sharpen his pencils in readiness for drawing.

Today I felt the readiness forming a promise around me and a sense that I am not going to push through the difficulties I have had to find again the real purpose for my painting. The expectation is delicious and like looking at a great dessert and knowing how good it is going to taste. Getting into this state is about finding the enjoyment in mundane tasks so that when the exciting part arrives, actually applying artist paints, you are already in flow.

Every now and then there is a need to remember gratitude and today I am sharing how fortunate those of us that love to create are and how barren our world would be without art to fill the senses. Below is a work titled Secrets of my Garden which was painted about six weeks ago. Happy creating to you  all.

Lyne Marshall acrylic on canvas painting - Secrets of my Garden

Secrets of my Garden 90 x70cm acrylic on stretched canvas

Finding the right combination

It was years ago now but I remember a time when I was so frustrated with my painting I would storm around and around the outside my studio, which was a big shed back then, releasing my anguish and praying for peace. I had over-painted everything I had created for three months, a bit scary when you have a deadline looming.

Why was it such a traumatic time? I wanted breakthrough. It felt like I was doing the same thing over and over. I had a recalcitrant mindset left over from my university years that I should be doing something cutting edge, and of course it never happened.

Firstly I had to realise that wasn’t me anyway. If the old adage I heard in university was true, that easel art was dead, then I would need to give up painting. I had to find who I was or go down a different road. I did break through to new work at that time, and in retrospect it was acknowledging what was in my heart that made the difference, and experimenting til it really spoke to me.

Finding focus and flow became my mantra and it still is. There are always times of struggle and this relates to life itself I have found.  You paint who you are, and how you are feeling goes directly onto the canvas.  During a recent illness I slowed down and lost direction, along with the colour in my work. I am now back on track, mainly because I  have  learned to accept that the body will slow me down if chose to keep hammering it when there is obviously something wrong.  But also I know that breakthrough follows struggle of some sort, and  change that happens without this push is not going to be worthwhile.

Finding the right combination and unlocking creativity comes from searching for answers but also wanting each work to surpass the last in some way. Its about self education and growth. My combination for  G.R.O.W.T.H  = Gratitude for what we have.. Resilience to keep at it..Obligation to commitments and deadlines.. Welcoming change.. Thinking positively and Holding on to joy and happiness.

If you want to put the heart in your art please visit  my page on coming workshops.