Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Artist Interview With Danielle Daniel

My next interview is with a lady who is so inspiring to me. I felt a connection with her art, words & humour as soon as I discovered her online. The characters she paints have so much personality, interest & soul- I would so love to be able to jump into her paintings & talk to her characters!

Danielle Daniel speaks from her heart, is true to herself & encourages us all to trust in our inner wisdom & follow our hearts.


Hi Danielle, can you tell us a bit about yourself & how long you've been painting & illustrating professionally for?
I started painting on canvas for the first-time in January of 2010. Before that, I had dabbled for one week in watercolour. And before that, I was an elementary school teacher for six years.

When & how in that journey did you discover Mixed Media?
Mixed Media found me at a time when I needed it the most. I was finally ready to rediscover JOY again. My husband Steve had had a serious parachuting accident in 2005 that rendered him paraplegic. Five years later, I realized that both my husband and son were thriving in their new environments while I was still struggling to find my way. One thing led to another. I bought a Somerset Studio magazine; I started visiting the artists’ blogs and ended up signing up for my first mixed media workshop in San Jose, California. Presto! I didn’t stop painting. I couldn’t. It was EXACTLY what I needed to help me move on at the time. The process of creating new things allowed me to move forward in my life and get excited again about the future.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas or piece of paper can be daunting. What is your favourite method you use to create your backgrounds for your paintings?
I usually cover the whole background with various new and vintage papers. Then I start to add the paint. White first, with my brayer, then a multitude of colors, using a variety of paintbrushes and tools. I also love to use paint markers and oil pastels. I complete the background with stamps and words cut out from vintage books.

Like myself you are a mother and someone who is self-employed. We have to wear many hats & take on many roles! It's a juggling act & most of the time I struggle to fit in anything creative into my day! Can you give us any tips on how you organise your days to ensure you have time to create & what percentage of your time is 'creative time' during the week versus everything else?
Hmm, this varies depending on what projects I have going on, but you are so right, being a mama changes everything. I used to get down on myself when I saw how much so and so would create in a week and compare myself to their output. But I stopped doing that. While being a mom is my first priority, that doesn’t mean I put my art career on the backburner. Never.

I’m a REALLY early riser: 5am. When I was working on my memoir it was more like 4:30am. I also go to bed early. I’m not one of those people who can get away with five hours of sleep. It’s all about prioritizing, everyday. I rarely meet people for lunch and coffee during the workday, because I’m working. An hour in town turns into half a day and then your whole day is pooched. Every few weeks, I will schedule some time to get together with a friend. I take my work seriously.

When I first started my art business, I was creating 80% of the time while doing admin and other ‘businessy’ stuff 20%. Now that has totally flipped over. I would say I create 25% of the time and do admin 75%. However, if I have a specific deadline looming, I just get it done. I leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry can wait another day too. I work from the (dark) early morning until 2pm everyday. At 2pm is when I throw the laundry in, do the dishes and think about what I’m making for supper. Once my son arrives home from school, it’s supper, homework and basketball duties… I usually don’t do any business/art work at night. I try not to answer emails until the morning. It’s important to have boundaries when you work from home. But it takes time to figure out what schedule works for you.

Are there any words of encouragement you would like to give to creative Mummies out there who are feeling run down & frustrated creatively. In other words when you are tired and don't have much time spare, how do you keep yourself ticking over creatively?
I like to surround myself with inspiration. Either with images tacked onto my bulletin board or a magazine that I look over while I’m having lunch. I also always keep a notebook in my purse and if I have to wait for more than five minutes for anything (for ex. an appointment or a meeting) I take it out and start writing or drawing.

If you can do ONE small thing for your art business everyday, then you are moving forward. Sometimes it’s as small as sending an email. It’s the BIG PICTURE we must remember. Nobody gets anywhere good overnight. Just keep swimming…

For anyone trying to turn their creative passion into their career, it can be very daunting. With the internet, it's way too easy to compare ourselves to others which can leave us feeling very depleted & insecure. Most of us will have these thoughts & emotions at some point on our paths. How did/do you overcome any negative thinking about your career as an artist?
I struggle with this every second day. Sometimes I go from ‘I’m a freakin Rock Star to I totally suck and hate everything I make’— all in the same hour. I don’t think this will ever change for me because I’m always trying to grow and push forward which means I’m constantly putting myself in uncomfortable situations. I NEED to grow, therefore, I always feel like a newbie. For me, this is the most difficult part about being an artist. I’m in a constant state of vulnerability. But the alternative of not doing it is not possible for me either. So, I just keep on trucking. I’m not going to lie. It’s a struggle to live a creative life. It’s crucial to have at least ONE TRUE FRIEND and/or PARTNER who can help you see who you really are during these times of insecurity. I also go on social networking/blog fasts. This helps too. In the silence you hear the loudest truths.

For anyone just starting out in their career what do you think is the best way to get your work out there & seen? For example, an Illustration Agent? Approaching possible clients with your portfolio? Facebook? Instagram? Blog? Website? Or a combination of all?
The best way to get your work out there and be seen is to BE YOURSELF. Don’t try to be someone else. Don’t copy their style; they will always do it better than you because it’s theirs. Find your own. Do the work, do the work, do the work and you will find your voice. Trust your intuition. Take chances. Forget about the agent. Do good work and they will find you. And yes to sharing. Share it on Instagram and Facebook. When you are able and ready, invest in a professional website. When you blog, just tell the truth about whatever you are talking about. Be real. Be you. Who cares what everyone else is talking about, writing about, painting on their canvases. Listen to your own voice. You already have everything you need inside yourself. You know what you need to do. Show the world what you are made of and shine on. I am cheering you on all the way!

Thanks so, so much for taking part Danielle. Please tell us where we can connect with you.


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Alan Watts: What do you desire, what makes you itch?

Alan Watts: What do you desire?
from on Vimeo.

What do you desire? What makes you itch? 
What sort of a situation would you like?

Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, "we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do". So I always ask the question, "what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?"

Alan Watts

Something to ask yourself today

Have a great weekend everyone
Love & light

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Artist Interview With Nathaniel Mather

Hello everyone, hope you are all having a wonderful week?

Get ready to be inspired as it's time for my next artist interview!

I greatly admire this man's work & his wisdom. When I first saw one of his paintings, I literally got goose bumps & my heart soared- ever had that reaction to art? I think I then lost a good part of my day (when I should have been working) researching his work & trying to find out more about him & his art. I love that when I look at his paintings, they tell me stories about adventure & forgotten lands......

Please enjoy my artist interview with Nathaniel Mather.

Hi Nate, can you tell us a bit about yourself/your background & how long you've been painting & illustrating professionally for?

Growing up in Los Angeles, California, I didn’t dream of becoming an artist, my passion was music. I started playing drums at age seven and by the time I was sixteen I was playing professionally. In my mid twenties I began to long for a more independent artistic expression and I took up painting.

I enrolled in art school, California Institute of the Arts, and then Art Center College of Design. I was a very poor student, I did not listen well or take instruction and by my third year of college I was showing in galleries throughout the US so I dropped out of college.

When & how in that journey did you discover Mixed Media?

My first medium was watercolor, and then I began introducing acrylic. I worked in these mediums for a number of years.
I then became very disenchanted with the art world and stopped painting altogether, and started a career in the golf business, as a Head Golf Professional and General Manager of golf clubs. The paints stayed on the shelf for 5 years before I picked up a brush again. When I started to paint again I experimented with mixed media , paper, found objects, different mediums, pastels, old world prints, really anything that I thought had nice design and color.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas or piece of paper can be daunting. What is your go to/favourite method you use to create the backgrounds for your paintings? And what are your favourite art supplies?

In most of my paintings, the objects are a mixture of collage, paper and paint and the background is mostly paint, so I start with a drawing or concept of the painting and block in my objects and then complete the background. I know that’s the opposite of what I was taught, but remember I was a poor student. I also developed my digital skills in Illustrator and Photoshop to use these tools in my illustrations.

New paintings originate from my journal, capturing ideas, feelings and moments during the week that I am experiencing. I like to illustrate concepts and emotions, ideas and struggles; my work is very personal in its imagery and message.

For anyone trying to turn their creative passion into their career it can be very daunting & intimidating. Can you tell us how you overcame any negative thinking (if you had any) about your career as an artist?

I understand how difficult it is to develop a career in the arts. First you need to become proficient with you craft, then you need to be willing and able to expose your inner self with your art, next you develop your own voice and style, then you need someone to connect with your work, then maybe that someone has enough money to buy your work, next you need a platform to show your work so more people can connect with it. All the while you need money to pay the rent.

Here are some thoughts I rely on:

God made me unique, gifted me with talent and is deeply involved in my journey.

Everyone has negative thoughts and doubts about their art. It’s very normal to creative souls. Use your conflict to deepen you art.

Don’t get stuck thinking about the final results, enjoy your process and time creating.

Find people to share your struggles and joys. Develop a support group, a safe place where you can process and grow.

I paint because it brings me joy, that’s enough...

Perseverance is key; you won’t get better without obstacles and pain.

My worth is not related to my art.

For anyone just starting out in their career what do you think is the best way to get your work out there & seen? For example, an Illustration or Art Agent? Approaching possible clients with your portfolio? A website? Or a combination of all?

In today’s world market a website is basic to your success. Spend time and develop a site that reflects your style and target market.  Keep it fresh and current, nothing worse than news that’s old and outdated.

Join art organizations in you area and network with other like minded artists. If you are an Illustrator there are many sites that you can post your work on. My favorite is Illustration Mundo. If you can get a rep/agent it helps open doors you might not open on your own.

Social media has exploded and you can use it to tell your story. Bring people into your world and connect with your vision and work. Viewers like to know about the artist, their motivations, technique and world view. 

For Fine Artists, developing gallery representation is difficult and time consuming. Research galleries that show your style, find out if they are taking artist submissions and send your work to as many as you can. I have found that most of my galleries relationships have developed by referral or other artist recommendations to the gallery owners.
In America there dozens of art festivals, where an artist sets up a booth outside on the street and sells their work. These festivals can be a great way to get feedback on your work and develop connections to other selling avenues.

What other artists are inspiring you at the moment?

I am inspired both with visual art and music. Living in Nashville TN, I have the privilege to meet and experience great musicians and music. I am working on a project for a band called “Dogs of Peace”. One of the players is Gordon Kennedy; I really love his writing and guitar style.

Visual artists that inspire me are:
Illustrators – Calef Brown, Nate Williams, Martin Haake, Olaf Hajek, Richard Faust, Jordin Isip, Beppe Giacobbe, Simona Mulazzani and Hilke MacIntyre.

Fine Artists that inspire me are:
Jean Dubuffet, Nicholas Wilton, Elaine Pamphilon, Judy Paul, Richard Diebenkorn and Rudolfo Tamayo.

Thanks so much for taking part Nate, please tell us where can we connect with you?


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yoshitomo Nara at the Dairy Art Centre 2014

I've been able to tick something off my bucket list this week!!!

I've been lucky enough to see Yoshitomo Nara's art show at the Dairy Art Centre. I've been a fan of his work for over 15 years!! As expected, the show was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. His paintings, drawings & sculptures are stunning & I'm beyond thrilled that I got to see his work in person. I'll post a few of my favourite pieces below :)

For more info on the show click here for the Dairy Art Centre website.
Click here is Yoshitomo's facebook page.
Click here is Yoshitomo's instagram page.

Be still my heart!

Can you see that they are crying?

My little one enjoying the show : - )

Adore this girl!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peace Comes From Within...

"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without"

This is my mantra for the week.

I'm somewhat relieved to say that I'm slowly getting into a new routine which is working better with my daughter's new school hours. Still revising it, but getting there & today I've been able to get creative which has definitely nourished my soul- I needed it! Here are some sneak peeks.

I've also finished this painting. If you would like to see more of it click here 
I have prints available too

Love & light Em xo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Artist Interview with Linden Eller

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm super excited today to share my next artist interview with you all. I find this lady's work mesmerising, intriguing, subtle & beautiful. Each collage seems to tell it's own story & never fails to get my imagination whirling. Please enjoy & share to inspire others too : -)

Hi Linden, can you tell us a bit about yourself/your background & how long you've been painting & illustrating for?

I spent my childhood in Arizona, studied in California, and have been moving around ever since - spending small seasons in Rhode Island and Maine in the States, rural England, Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and currently, Australia. I really enjoy and support things from the old world - analog photography, writing letters, homemade anything. I also like picnics a lot.

I began drawing when I was a kid and picked it up again in my teenage years, mainly using charcoal. I began painting and illustrating a little over ten years ago, when I was 19.

When & how in that journey did you discover Mixed Media?

I started playing around with mixed media in my first art class at university, 2-D design. Someone introduced me to matte medium and I sort of never looked back. I don't ever remember "choosing" mixed media, though. I guess I just stayed curious about it, and it always seemed infinite in terms of growth.

I started out using the process of collage purely as an emotional exercise, and would build up layers indifferently beneath a more polished painted illustration on top. But in the last few years I've slowly tried to give collage a more dominant role, allowing me to focus on things like abstraction, subtlety, and composition.

What are your favourite techniques & art supplies currently?

Tracing paper is magic to me right now. But I think that's because I'm temporarily only working with paper. It's what I use instead of paint to make things faint and distant. Copic markers are lovely, and I've always been particularly fond of the white china marker, as well as the plain old fashioned pencil.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas or piece of paper can be daunting. What is your go to/favourite method you use to create the backgrounds for your work?

Well, instead of using canvas or blank paper, I often use recycled materials like old paintings from thrift stores or book pages as bases (a whole different set of challenges). So I've never really had traditional backgrounds in my work. But to be honest, the beginning is always the easiest and most exhilarating for me. I tend to begin with a trigger, a scrap that I'm really drawn to. I can get excited by just one little corner of a photograph and that's really all it takes to start the process. The funny part is sometimes that initial trigger scrap ends up being covered up by another layer.

For anyone trying to turn their creative passion into their career it can be very daunting & intimidating. Can you tell us how you overcome any negative thinking (if you have any!) about putting yourself out there as an artist?

It's difficult for sure, but I always try and remember that as long as I'm being authentic, there's really nothing to worry about or hide behind. Passion is contagious, and people will naturally be excited about your work if you are.

It won't happen quickly, turning it all into a career - and in the meantime, just make what you need to make, and don't apologize for it. The rest of all that icky negativity like constantly comparing yourself to other (more successful) artists or doubting your ability is just something you eventually get tired of feeling and fades over time. I think confidence is probably the most necessary and challenging attribute to obtain as a working artist in society.

For anyone just starting out in their creative endeavours what do you think is the best way to get your work out there & seen? For example, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, an Illustration or Art Agent? Approaching possible clients with your portfolio? A website? Or a combination of all?

Honestly, I think a combination is important. An official website is good for a professionally presented archive, where as Instagram provides a good window into an artist's world and daily life. Each platform has its own audience and even though it can be tiring to keep up with them all, I think it's worth it. Etsy is overwhelming and at times discouraging to me, so I use it more just as an online store than a social media site.

I think residencies can also be a great way for your work to get out there - keeps a pretty comprehensive list.

What other artists are inspiring you at the moment?
Old favourites are Millet, Rauschenberg, Andrew Wyeth, and contemporary Joe Sorren. Lately it's Sharon Etgar and Fred Free.

I'm also constantly inspired and encouraged by three friends I studied with who are all working artists: Keiko Brodeur, Malachi Ward, and Tom Monson.

Thanks so much for taking part Linden, please tell us where can we connect with you?