Thursday, January 15, 2015

Artist Interview with Tiffany Calder Kingston

I am thrilled to be able to share my next artist interview with you all. I can't remember how I found this artists work but I find it mesmerising, beautiful & rich. The colours, textures, shapes, lines & patterns light me up inside, drawing me in & very importantly, each piece shows (to quote the artist) the ' and energy found in nature.' Here's a little challenge for you (many of you will already be doing this) but next time you see a tree, try dropping its label of 'a tree' & try to view it as if you'd never seen one before, as if you were a child seeing a tree for the first time & you didn't know what it was called. Gaze at it's height, look at its array of colours, feel the texture of the bark & leaves, smell the leaves.....if you really go for it you'll have an interesting & wonderful experience & it may even open up a whole new world for you.
This artist's work really captures & celebrates the vibrancy & beauty of nature -a beauty that we get all get to share & enjoy for free! A beauty that we should all be doing our upmost to preserve & protect & I think this message comes across wonderfully through Tiffany's exquisite work.

So poor yourself a cup of hot tea, grab a biccie or two & enjoy my next artist interview with Tiffany Calder Kingston.

Hi Tiffany, can you tell us a bit about yourself/your background & how long you've been painting professionally for?
Hi Emma, thanks again for all your devotion to the arts and those who create as a full time occupation. 
I have two types of painting careers. For fifteen years I worked as mural artist and designer. Most of my work involved painting murals or paint effects which were used in commercial venues, TV stage backdrops, special event theming and private homes plus a visual retail merchandiser in between all of the above.  I accidentally found myself painting murals after completing a graphic design course. I always wanted to be an illustrator but instead I found myself painting and being part of large scale projects which involved following the requirements of what a client would like. This type of work took its toll physically on my body and I also found that I was not creating what was in my heart and soul as it was always what a client would require. I needed to make a clean break away so  I left Melbourne to pursue a small fashion retail business which I owned with two other friends in Byron Bay. After two years I sold out of the business as I felt my creative soul was calling again. Without even realising it the natural habitats of this area were starting to awaken my new journey as an artist.

When & how in that journey did you discover Mixed Media and how did your style develop into what it is today?
Once I sold my business I had a massive empty void so I began painting just for myself as a hobby and I had no clue of what type of artist or subject matter was my interest. I took some life drawing classes and dabbled in creating a painting style which broke away from my old habits of painting a mural. I needed to go back to my raw style of drawing and art that I had way before I embarked on formal training. In other words I needed to get messy, not follow rules and just loosen up again. I had no interest in being judged or doing what was in or out of art fashion. I just did what ever came naturally. Then one day I painted a piece titled 'Cranefly' (see below). I painted something which spoke about the environment and yet what came out was a painting of wetlands but on a deeper level I felt like I had found a voice to express my personal beliefs about how humans relate to nature. Next door to my home were wetlands and I had no idea that the environment was speaking to me and seeping into my subconscious ( if that makes sense).  This painting cracked open my style of cutting in shapes and scraping lines into the paint work.

What are your favourite techniques & art supplies currently?
I use acrylic paint as this dries fast and I can move on into the next layer quickly. I am an impatient person so the style I use is one I have also created to suit my energy. I have always used paints like interior house paints in my old profession and now I use something similar which contain no toxic chemicals as I also get sick from some products. Some times I use a faux gold or silver leaf on my work and eventually I hope to explore mixing in pastels and ink.

When starting a new piece of work, staring at a blank canvas can be daunting. What is your go to/favourite method you use to create the backgrounds for your paintings?
You will laugh but I put any excess paint left over on my brush onto a blank canvas. I keep a new canvas sitting next to me whilst painting another. I just start by using random colours which I layer on top of each other. I never know what it is going to look like.

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 had a part time job while I started painting and I began slowly to show my work in public. I used small art shows, cafe's etc to trial my arts reaction. I also listened to other artists out there who gave me great advice. Some people work well being self employed because they are self motivating and realistic with what to expect. I knew I was not going to show my art or put it on any gallery walls unless I had resolved a style that was truly me. An art career takes a thick skin and I think it is important to always have a financial safety net such as a part time job as a support otherwise you will freak yourself out about the pressure of making money. The focus will only be about ' the art has to make money'. If you feel this way the art suffers and the flow goes. Give your art time to shine and ripple effects will happen to support your transition from being a part time painter to a full time profession.

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 Art Agent? Approaching possible clients or galleries with your portfolio? A website, Facebook? Blog? A combination of all?
Depending where you live can make or break how much you are seen. In my situation being a beach side tourist town I felt I needed to connect with galleries Australia wide by showing them my work in person so I decided to invest in my art by booking a stand at an art fair in Melbourne. 'The Affordable Art fair' gave me the platform to introduce myself to many galleries who approached me at my display stand.
Also having a great website that is modern and clearly shows your work is important but the confidence comes from finding ways for galleries to meet you and identify with your style. I am an artist which suits the affordable art market and I don't pretend to try and be in the upper end of the art world. Too many people think success as an artist is at this higher end. It is important to be realistic with your style and capabilities. There are galleries which compliment different art styles and once you know who they are and there client base then approach them or submit work. If you get turned down by a gallery it may be because your art is not suiting their gallery. 
I also only choose to be with galleries who are nice people to work with and have integrity for the artist. I am not interested in galleries which take a long time to pay you or do not put effort in to promoting you. I wont put up with arrogance and if a gallery says you need them more then they need you then I am usually not interested. I dislike how some galleries play with an artists financial vulnerability. Many artists do not have a business head but it is still important not let galleries take advantage of you. It is a 50/50 business relationship.
Lastly because of social media and websites etc artists can now promote themselves more and sell direct if they choose. For many artists this is all we need to do to set up an income stream which suits a lifestyle. In the end the choices we make have to ensure our art flow is not compromised.

What other artists are inspiring you at the moment?
I love lots of art- illustrative styles. I really love Olaf Hajek, Jennifer Davis, Del Kathryn Barton. Also I love indigenous art and enjoy finding images of primitive paintings.

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

website: Tiffany Calder Kingston
facebook: Art By Tiffany Calder Kingston

Friday, January 9, 2015

There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen. First Art Journalling of 2015

 I'm taking an e-course with Mindy Lacefield at the mo. & this piece is the first design I have painted on week one of her class. I haven't painted a bunny for so long I was getting withdrawal symptoms! 

 This was a little warm up watercolour session also on Mindy's e-course.

And I'll leave you with a quote that is inspiring me this week.

Love & Light

There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The new Print & Pattern Geometric Book!

Happy New Year to you all! I do hope you had a lovely holiday & that so far 2015 has brought you joy :)

It was looking ropey for me personally but I'm pleased to say things have turned out as best as they could have & 2015 has actually started off amazingly well. I have some very exciting news to share. I'm thrilled to say that my work was chosen to be part of the new Print & Pattern book. It's titled Print & Pattern Geometric & I'm honoured to be able to show my work alongside extremely talented designers that I have admired for many years. Yay! I get to tick something off my bucket list!

This is part of mine directly above!

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?


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