It is my pleasure to welcome to the blog Australian painter Jaqueline Burgess! Originally born in South Africa and now living in Australia, Jaqueline’s paintings are inspired by a strong sense of place. You can see and buy Jaqueline’s work in her Etsy shop or on her website. You can also follower her on Facebook and Instagram.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?
I was born in South Africa, and at 19 decided to travel and see a bit of the world. For 9 years my love of drawing and painting led me to a variety of part-time work – I painted murals, decorated restaurant and bar menu boards, illustrated, painted commission pieces for private homes and ended up teaching art in a London school. I communicate through my art, It brings balance and grounding to my life and it encourages my children to always create.
What was life like living in South Africa? Can you talk about how living there has inspired your work?
South Africa is so unique and diverse in its culture that naturally a sense of creativity and adventure became an inherent part of my personality. Surrounded by the Zulu and Indian cultures brought about a colourful and somewhat decorative approach to my art. Through most of my works, reference to pattern and subtle ornamentation is present in the compositions.
What is the process like creating one of your wildlife portraits?
Painting something from nature is always a special process. I begin with sourcing photos online for inspiration, a couple of sketches later I sit down with paint and brush to bring the drawing to life – finishing with the animals eyes is the most exciting part.
What are some favorite materials you use in your work?
What have been some of your favorite exhibitions and projects over the years? Are there currently any upcoming or in-the works projects or exhibitions?
Each year I set myself the goal of painting a portrait for the Archibald Prize. In 2016 I submitted my entry of a portrait of my eldest daughter and her friend to the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and was selected as a semi finalist. Last year I was asked by a gallery in Melbourne called Otomys to create a group of seascape paintings for their sister gallery in Sorentto.
Last year was also a huge step in opening a joint family business which comprises a coffee shop and art gallery /gift store called Sketch Coffee & Art in Towradgi NSW (follow us on Instagram and Facebook!). The concept of the store is to serve local and fresh produce, with local roasted coffee. Customers enjoy the gallery space and peruse the gift store whilst enjoying breakfast and lunch.
Sketch Coffee & Art houses only Australian and locally made artworks, textiles, ceramics, stationary, jewellery, photography, and homewares, to name a few, alongside a rotation of my own large artworks on canvas. Its a very special corner of Wollongong that encourages the locals to get creative with monthly sketch competitions. Sip coffee whilst you sketch- people love it. I have also just recently released a textile range of beach Sarongs and scarves called WEAR THE ART as well as soft furnishings for the home.
I am excited to introduce everyone to Essi Kimpimäki from South-East Finland! Essi’s shop, Essi Illustration, is the perfect place to find colorful art prints and gifts – please feel free to take a look. You can also find Essi’s work on her artist website, and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? What is life like in Finland?
I am a freelance illustrator, originally from Finland but I’ve been living in Scotland for the past 10 years. Drawing was always my favourite thing to do as a kid, and I can’t remember ever seriously considering of studying anything else than art. To be honest, I never thought I would actually make a living out of it but wanted to give it a go anyway, and so far it has worked out alright!
I moved to Glasgow to study at the Glasgow School of Art, and graduated with a degree in Illustration in 2011. The year after graduating was a bit hard, the difference between the art school and the real world was so drastic, I didn’t really know how to get commissions and how to in general start pursuing a freelance illustrator career. I ended up doing other random jobs, travelling, and eventually even went to study graphic design as I thought it would be easier to find work as a graphic designer. However, studying graphic design made me realize very fast that my passion lies in illustration, and that it really was all I wanted to do. So I dropped out after one year, and started working on my illustration career with a new motivation, and am still on that path!
So many of your pieces seem inspired by faraway places. What is the thought process and creative process like for these?
Yes! It really is one of my all time favourite themes to draw. The world is so full of magical, interesting places and cultures, so many countries that I want to visit – I know I probably won’t be able to see them all in real life, but on some level illustrating them can take me there. It can start from seeing a documentary, a photograph, hearing a song. It can also be a place I’ve visited myself, a feel of a location that I want to remember. I do some research, which can be reading about related topics, and of course looking at a lot of pictures. But I don’t want to replicate existing places exactly the way they are, my goal is to recreate the atmosphere of the location, to hopefully make the viewer be able to imagine how the place would feel (or to take them back there, if they’ve visited).
I do a lot of sketches of existing places, and then try to create my own scene from those. I also pay a lot of attention to colour, as I think every place has its own unique colour palette so getting the colours right can really help you to feel the place.
What has been one of your favorite projects or prints that you’ve worked on?
There’s been a lot of fun ones, but for some reason I’m now thinking about a project I did for my degree show years ago. I did a series of four screenprints called Sacred Animals, in which I looked at different cultures and their relationships with animals, and picked four interesting ones for my project. I had for example the royal white elephant of Thailand, where they are sacred and a symbol of royal power, and all those discovered belong to the king. It was the hectic final year of art school, but I got really into the research and loved reading and finding out more about the different customs and cultures. It combined my two favourite things, making images and learning about different cultures, and I guess that is why it still remains as one of my favourite projects ever. Which actually makes me think that I should do more of those!
Do you listen to music while you create – if so what are some of your current favorite artists or songs?
I usually do like to have something on in the background. But when I’m reading a brief, doing research or trying to solve a problem (composition, colours, whatever), i.e. having to actually use my brain, I might often work in total silence, or just have something very chill and unnoticeable music on. My recent favourite has been this lofi hip hop radio on YouTube, very chill and nondistracting. Too fast or crazy music will make me anxious and unable to concentrate!
Once I’m over the thinking part, I like to listen to podcasts, Radiotopia has some great ones, really love Strangers and Mortified and Criminal, then of course Serial was great as well as S-Town.. and plenty of others! And sometimes I like to watch documentaries or series on Netflix.
It’s my pleasure to introduce artist Kathy Crabbe! During this interview, Kathy will speak directly about her Spirit Animal series and her artistic process. Make sure to show her some support by visiting her website and following her on Instagram @kathycrabbeart and Facebook.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?
I am a self taught painter since knee high to a grasshopper (love that saying!). I was always an artist and decided at a young age that I didn’t want to go to a fine art school because I had a style all my own and I didn’t want anyone messing with that since I tend to be easily influenced. I always wanted to attend both university and college and I’ve done that. I have an Art History degree and a 3 year diploma in Graphic Design. I moved to the States after falling in love with my husband-to-be and he convinced me I could live my passion and be an artist full time so we moved to Laguna Beach and I started doing the Sawdust Art Festival; a 2 month art fair where you build a booth and sell your wares 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. That was amazing! After 7 years we moved to the quiet countryside outside of Temecula Wine Country and I was pretty much a hermit for many years which allowed me to delve into the spiritual side of things which has found its way into my art, of course! I paint magical, shamanic beings, nature and animals because they surround me and I’m one of them.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your Spirit Animal paintings? Does storytelling and narrative play into them?
I live in 2 countries; my home country of Canada (Ontario) and my adopted country, the USA (California) and both homes are on dirt roads surrounded by nature; one is in the forest on a lake and the other is in a desert valley surrounded by ancient oaks, cactus and an elfin forest so I’ve got plenty of nature and wild creatures to inspire me on a daily basis. I’m also a Celtic Faerie Shaman and my spirituality is a huge part of my life. My pets are also an inspiration. All of my Spirit Animal paintings would not be complete without the poem that bubbles forth in one quick stream of consciousness right after I finish the painting. Usually it’s late so I light some candles, take off my glasses and let the words pour forth. Originally I started out trying to describe the painting but that quickly morphed into poetry; my favorite mode of expression. The poems speak of the power and guidance we can draw upon from our animal guides and what their message is for us. The wild creatures are our teachers. They help us remember our wild self and are vitally important for our well being and our healing.
Can you tell me a little bit about your painting process and favorite materials?
My current series of Spirit Animal paintings were initially inspired after I purchased a small pad of 6×6 inch Montreal made watercolor paper in Kingston, Ontario (where I was born). I sat down with that pad of paper surrounded by the sounds of the forest and the water and immediately painted a cat woman with watercolor. That was in the summer of 2016 and I haven’t stopped since. I start with the face using my non dominant left hand because it’s my emotional, intuitive hand. I draw with a large soft piece of lead and the elfin figure that emerges tells me what kind of spirit animal belongs with her. I paint with watercolor and gouache and occasionally acrylic. I especially love Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes, M. Graham and Schminke gouache and Daniel Smith iridescent watercolors.
What has been your favorite achievement or project thus far? Do you have anything new and exciting on the horizon?
In regards to the Spirit Animal series, I am very proud that I paint them every single day and that I write a poem for each one. I share this on Instagram @kathycrabbeart. On the horizon I look forward to spending more time in the forest with the wild creatures and traveling and hiking more; there are so many wild places to see in this great North American land of ours. I also hope the Spirit Animals will continue to grace more gallery walls with their healing, magical presence.
This week I was surprised with a Blogger Recognition Award from Charlyse of the Real Life Real Mom blog. Thank you Charlyse! Considering I just secured a domain for my blog, this definitely came as a pleasant surprise. Now I’d like to pay it forward by recognizing and nominating 15 art blogs for the Blogger Recognition Award – all of these blogs are beautiful and amazing:
The Jealous Curator
Clouds of Colour
Grow Creative Blog
A Kailo Chic Life
If you’ve been nominated, here is what you do next.
*Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
*Write a post to show your award.
*Give a brief story of how your blog started.
*Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
*Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
*Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created.
How did my blog start?
When I was 16 or 17 I had a big interest in art (I still do – went to school for Art History and am now an Art Librarian), as well as wanting to meet other artists. I started The Art Spectrum as a way to meet other artists and learn more about their work, process, and lives through blog featured interviews. I started on Blogger, moved to WordPress a few years later, and finally to self hosted a couple of weeks ago!
Advice to New Bloggers
Look for all the advice! My go to place for advice currently has been Facebook Groups – in particular Start a Money Making Blog. I’ve also found some great community groups that have to do with art and blogging on Google+. Also, read as much as you can, never stop reading.
Lifestyle Blogging Basics: A How-To for Investing in Yourself, Working With Brands, and Cultivating a Community Around Your Blog
Follow The Art Spectrum by email for artist interviews and more!