Well I’ve done it. After a break of 20+ years I finally bit the bullet and decided to get back into the one thing that made my heart sing over my lifetime … art.
Back in the early 80’s when I left school, my intention was to go to Art School and hone my skills. However, as it turned out I took the ‘traditional’ route and ended up a secretary/PA. I don’t regret it as I learnt many valuable skills which enabled me to do a number of things. It enabled me to set up a successful business with my artist blacksmith husband, which we still run today.
Getting into Metal Art
Our business, Farmweld, has been a pseudo creative outlet for me. I’ve designed wrought iron work, metal art sculptures and built a website which requires a degree of graphic design ‘nouse’. But I’ve missed actually ‘creating’ things hands on. It was during this period, with my husbands encouragement, that I ventured into metal art. Being a typical male, he figured a plasma cutter would be the bees knees of gifts.
Well it was, sort of, but it was still heavy, dirty work and I’ve never been confident using electrical tools. Add to that the fact that a large 6’4″ man might be able to move a very heavy sheet of corten steel. But a diminutive 5’2″ midge like me struggles with it. Well actually, I can’t move a 2.4 x 1.2m sheet at all, it takes 2 men … and I hate having to ask him for help! Yes I’m Miss Independence!!
My heart yearned to get back into my drawing and to learn how to paint but as many mothers understand, it’s just not that easy to find time when you’re a Mum.
I’d dabbled with acrylic painting during the early 90’s during the folk art trend. However being the one to do something different I found myself doing decorative painting on furniture. I picked up a few skills from local and international painters but didn’t have the time to really develop it more than at an intermediate level. I found so much folk art to be ‘kitsch’. What I was doing with decorative painting was ‘different’, leaning towards trompe l’oeil.
I joined a craft co-op and sold my work through the shop. It was clear there was a demand, but I didn’t have enough time to look for old pieces of furniture, restore them and paint my designs. So instead I taught what I knew for a short while, until bubby No2 came along (she’s now in her 20’s).
Wombat Creek Designs
Life’s everyday activities took over. After I had my third child I couldn’t face trying to paint with todders. I discovered embroidery and cross stitch. Following other people’s patterns bored me, so Hubby challenged me to come up with my own designs, and I did.
‘Wombat Creek Designs’ was established in around 1999 and I ran it for a few short years, but unfortunately the craft industry in Australia is not overly supportive of creatives.
The blow that changed it all…
About the same time I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We we made the decision to move away from the city of Adelaide to a country property near Birdwood. The town is more like a small hamlet in the scenic northern Adelaide Hills. Hubby was a country boy and hated the city and the kids also seemed stifled. From a creative perspective it was wonderful.
The country has so much to offer when it comes to inspiration, however when we moved I decided to shut down Wombat Creek Designs. The children were between 5 and 13, and what energy I had needed to be directed to their needs.
The start of a new business?
It was in 2006 that we started up our own business, Farmweld. However, 12 years on, the kids were mostly grown up so I decided it was time to do something for myself. To rekindle the old flame that had been burning slowing inside me. I picked up my paint brushes in February 2017 and have been focussing on pushing my boundaries and seeing what this old girl can do since then.
I’ve got a bank of canvases on the ready and will be starting to work on a series of floral designs. Two are already in the gallery of this website – ‘Apology’ a study of lilies given to me as … yes you guessed it … an apology, and ‘Dancing Light’ a study of a small rose I picked from my garden but painted on a large canvas (90cm x 90cm). I hope to keep the impetus up, so I’ll be counting on you to push me along with your encouraging words!
If you’ve found you’re in a similar position, having put your own hankering for art on the backburner, please join me in my journey. I hope to be posting blog articles about my progress, challenges and experiments here for all to read.
Thank you for reading this far. Leave a comment if you like.