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  1. As I approach the 'first birthday' of when I began living my life as a 'full-time artist' I find myself in a period of reflection and decision making. It has been an amazing year and I have achieved more in terms of exhibiting and exposure than I ever thought I would, yet looking back it has been more of a meandering wander than a power walk to a firm destination.

    So, I have spent the last few weeks reading, learning and developing my own skills ready to push myself and my work onto the next level. I now have a clear direction to follow - I have really thought about the 'mission' that has driven all the decisions I have made over the last few years and have realised that this 'mission' should also be what drives and influences all my artwork. It has made an appearance several times, but over the next few weeks you will see my new brand evolve, with this consistent message being at the heart of everything I do. And a sneaky peek at my new identity might give you a clue about where things are heading...

    HELENART_LOGO_WEB

    I feel now, more than ever, that I have finally taken control of what happens next instead of letting it just unfurl in front of me. A few years ago, I discovered a speech made to students graduating from a big American Arts School by the science fiction writer Neil Gaiman - and it was a real game changer for me. It inspired me as I was making the decision to leave teaching after 13 years and it helped me make the decision to take the leap to concentrate on my Art full-time last year. But it has taken me until now to really define my mission, my mountain - and now I am not going to take my eyes of it!

    neilgaiman

     

    Below is the link to the speech on YouTube (which will also explain why I keep talking about my mountain!) If you want to be creative, be successful and head towards your own mountain I seriously recommend you watch it. And me? As Neil Gaiman says, I am off to Make Good Art :)

    https://youtu.be/ikAb-NYkseI

  2. This week has been a funny old week. It's been a lovely week in many ways, but also a frustrating week as far as my work goes. For one reason or another, I got very little painting done and this raised the question of just how seriously I take my work – the difficulty of working from home is that it becomes all to easy for it to get put to one side when other things crop up, and this is what happened this week.

    This has left me fed up in many ways (to the point I got fed up of myself being fed up – do you ever get like that?!) but it also meant that I stopped and took stock of what I am doing and why I am doing it and I have come to the conclusion that I am currently trying to pull along an aeroplane!

     pulling an aeroplane

    I remember watching programmes such as 'The World's Strongest Man' or 'Record Breakers' when I was younger and seeing people attempting to single handedly pull along a massive aeroplane – and this now seems like the perfect analogy of where I currently am. My aeroplane is the goal of making my Art a professional and financial success and the strength and determination needed to get it moving can sometimes be exhausting.

    I am still at the point where the aeroplane hasn't budged – but the veins in my head are near bursting with the effort I am expending in trying to get it moving. Yet, I keep pulling because I have the full belief that it will indeed start moving, and soon. This is that hardest part – there is no visible evidence that the plane will move, no return yet for the effort that is being spent and a good number of people laughing at the effort because they don't believe those wheels will ever move.

    And this week, I maybe gave in to the tiredness and felt overwhelmed by the effort needed. It would have been so much easier to give up and walk away than to carry on pulling – but then I remembered why I started this journey in the first place. Painting is my passion and the reason I am here. I have but one chance at this strange game called life and I am determined to give my all to achieve my lifelong ambition of being a successful Artist.

     roosevelt quote

    So, I have regrouped, chalked my hands and got ready to pull again. And when, ever so slowly, that plane starts moving, the momentum it quickly gathers will make all the effort worthwhile and all the time spent pulling will eventually pay off.

    The challenge is that the biggest pull and the biggest effort has to be spent at the beginning, when the plane is at a complete standstill and it is only the belief that it will move that keeps you going. There is no proof it will move, many people who believe it won't move and such massive determination needed to make it happen. But once it is moving, it instantly becomes easier for that plane to keep on moving - and also easier for those watching to believe that it could be done and suddenly start cheering you on. (Believe me, those that are cheering me on already, as I stand pulling a stationary aeroplane are the ones who are helping me more than they will ever know!)

    So, for now I feel renewed and ready to take the strain again. And I can't wait for that plane to move, to build momentum and to pick up speed along the runway. And it will, very soon.

    Because, If you wanna be the best,
    and you wanna beat the rest.
    Oo-ooh! Dedications what you need....

    (Am I showing my age now..?! Maybe, but I bet those of you of a similar age couldn't read that last bit without 'singing' it in your head!;))