Something I love about the internet is the immense possibilities and access it gives you. If someone as told me as a kid that one day I would be collaborating with people from all around the world I don't think my mind would have grasped the reality that our world is now. Sure our cars still don't fly but I now have friends from different time zones I can communicate within a matter of seconds, well at least when one of use is not sleeping :)
For the last few months, Natalie and I have been communicating while one was coming back from work the other one was in her early commute to work, we got to know and trust each other to create what I truly believe to be an amazing class. All the content is all Natalie I acted in the background being one of her Faery-godmothers. I sense in Natalie an immense generosity in sharing her knowledge while she is very humble about it. I now want to present to you this incredible artist that I am so honoured to host her first solo class.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My sweet baby nephew!! He is 17 months old now, and my heart child. I feel very grateful for a lot of things, actually - the privileges I was born with, even if life feels hard at times, the nature I am surrounded with, growing up in a family that values reading (so many worlds to visit in those pages!)
An activity or hobby unrelatedly to art
that makes you feel good
Reading and gardening - along with scribbling, they are my holy trifecta! Hmm, add drinking tea and eating strawberries to that list. And apples. And petting/playing with my kitties. Oh, and meditating!!
A fact that not a lot of people know about you, any unusual skills perhaps?
Hmm, I don't know if I am that interesting!! I can't think of any unusual skills. Unless you count being hyper-organized and a chronic daydreamer at the same time. A lot of art community peeps probably don't know I have walked A LOT. Big walks, up and down BIG hills. Mountains even. I have hiked Macchu Picchu in Peru, the Gokyo Valley and Gokyo Ri in Nepal (the best possible view of Mt Everest!) and with my two brothers completed a gruelling physical and mental challenge of hiking 100km in tough Aussie bush in under 48 hours for Oxfam. We completed it in 41 hours and 16 minutes, raising nearly $15,000 for this amazing charity, and it was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, even though we trained for it for a year.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Waking without an alarm an not having to rush to the chaos of work, stretching and sun salutations to the rising sun on a quiet, cool morning with only bird song in the background, a long meditation, a long lavish breakfast of multiple cups of tea, vegemite toast and fruit, and the rest of the day alternately scribbling, reading, gardening, playing with my furballs, and just sitting to contemplate my navel for a moment or two. Throw in some good Mexican food, and a margarita or three in the evening and I am in heaven!
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Hmm. If it is a realistic quality or ability, it would be to be kinder and more patient with myself. I have that quality in spades for everyone around me, but I am so very hard on myself, and I always have been. If it is non-realistic (or hyper-realistic??), I am totally going with the ability to fly. Imagine being able to pop up to the very top of the tallest trees and hang out with the birds??
Tell us about your background, on did you come to art?
I always loved to draw when I was young, and right up until I was 17 I was going to go to art school and be an artist. At the same time, I am very academically minded, so in that final year of high school, I was gently pushed by well-meaning teachers and others into ignoring art for a more 'rewarding and realistic' career. Some 23 or 24 years later I was suffering severe burnout and physiological consequences of working often 18 hour days, along with a worsening chronic health conditions (stage 4 endometriosis and fibroids). I was working a full time paid job of around 50 hours a week, volunteering nearly 40 hours a week, and completing my masters degree in human rights all at once. That time is a blur to me now. I handed in my final dissertation and took myself to Tasmania for a week, impulsively picking up a pencil and sketchbook on the way. And I have not really put them down since! I have completely reevaluated my life, and although I still work a very full time and demanding job, the rest of my time is taken up with putting pencil to paper, and I couldn't be happier.
One medium you couldn’t live without
Graphite pencil!! And a substrate to scribble on.
Your biggest influence?
Hmm, that is difficult. Different artists inspire me for different reasons, but if I had to choose just ONE person, I would have to say Alan Lee (and then, by process of their collaboration with him, Brian Froud and John Howe!)
Do you have an art education background or are you mostly self-taught?Other than high-school and the online classes I have taken in the last three years since picking that pencil back up, I am self-taught baby! I love studying other artists work, and will spend a lot of time nutting out how they did something and trying to replicate it - this is such a great way to learn!
What does being part of an art community means to you?
So much! Kindred spirits, all contributing to and drawing from the divine creative well, it is so powerful! I love that, on the whole, it is such a positive, supporting environment, and I honestly believe that contributing to a community in this way can only make the world a better place.
Do you ever have creative blocks? If so how do you get over them?
Oh yes, all the time - especially when I am so tired after work. For me, the best way to get past it is to grab a single coloured pencil such as a Col-erase (Tuscan Red is my favourite), a sketchbook and sit on the lounge. I open up Pinterest or one of my inspiration folders and pick the very first thing that interests me. Then, without any judgement or expectation of even finishing, I scribble - I put pencil to paper and study the subject in front of me, allowing myself to drop into that meditative state of presence that comes when I am drawing - the difference here is that I am doing this for no one but myself and to connect to creativity. No one need to see what I do, there is nothing to present, it is about presence, not performance. That will usually get the creative juices flowing again, and if not, a cup of tea, a movie or a nap is in order!!
What is your biggest motivation when it comes to art?
Honouring my subject matter and having a moment of presence and connection.
And learning! Building those skills! And being able to get that story in my head across on the page.
A revelation or knowledge that made your art goes to the next level?
Two things: 1) Go darker. Don't be afraid to push those darks and add in a variety of mid-tones so that the highlights pop. This revelation came as a consequence of 2) Keep going. You might not want to in case you 'wreck' it, but if it doesn't feel quite finished, look the way you envisaged, keep going. I was amazed at that feeling, when I pushed through the first few times, then added more value, and kept going and going until I really knew the scribble was finished. I mean, what is the worst that can happen? you need to use an eraser, or if completely buggered, you have to start again, but you spent some quality time connecting with the creative source, mediating on your subject? That's a pretty good downside if you ask me.
Do you persist at things even do you don’t quite get it yet?
In other words, do you put yourself out of your comfort zones on purpose?
I do, but not as much as I should!! I really want to develop my painting skills, but I keep telling myself 'when I have more time'. Yes, I am time poor, but so are a lot of us! I think it is procrastination born of fear and discomfort - that feeling of not knowing what you are doing can be hard to push through!
Do you put a lot of thinking in a new piece, sketch, trial and error before plunging
or do you dive headfirst and work more intuitively?
It really depends on what the desired outcome is. I do a lot of pieces that are not really meant for anyone or anything, but if they look good, fantastic! If I am approaching a commission then yes. I will spend a LOT of time on research, composition, (procrastinating!), and studies before putting pencil to the final page. For something like an art challenge (like #folktaleweek) it will be sort of midway - some research, a couple of thumbnails, then dive on in and make it up as I go!
A little sneak peak in one of Natalie's lesson about why she does studies
Sorry I've been away for the last 2 weeks, life I've been somehow really busy and I failed to publish my weekly inspiration.
Since I've been using most of my none "day job" time working on doll I will like to present you the work of a doll artist I admire a lot. Her doll have such personalities the really that telling a story factor I always come back to. They are intricate characters from the whimsical and fantasy worlds. I found her head piece to always be a fascinating part of the character. Once again I wish there was a book that will come with each of them to tell me their story although it is part of the fun to imagine their life. You can find more about Alexandra's dolls and other creation on her official website or you can find her on Facebook. Her work have been publish in many magazine and traveled the world.
I found Amber on Facebook just a few months ago and I immediately felt in love with her quirky, fun and wonderful head sculptures. I can imagine them coming to life at night and have wonderful adventure. I have a fascination for sculpture as I found it so hard to create them. Amber ladies have personality and make you wish to be part of her whimsical, carnavalesque universe. You can buy her art on Etsy. By the way Amber told me her shop will be refill today by 5PM EST with Kokeshi, ornaments and wall heads! She also have her work on display at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque and Jezebel in Ft. Lauderdale
Mixed media artist, doll maker and online teacher always looking for new ways to explore my imaginary world filled with pop culture, animals and timeless characters.
kabostudio is getting a new look
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I have big ideas coming up that I can't wait to share with you!
I have big ideas coming up that I can't wait to share with you!