Overwhelmed (in a good way!) is what best describes how I have been feeling since the opening of illustrated.
(Below are some photos from the opening, click an image to view as a slideshow.)
It is hard to describe into words what I have been feeling since I finished my last pencil stroke of my last piece for this exhibit. I feel stronger somehow and something else… here’s how it began
Normally I give myself a good 8 months or more on starting a new series. And yes, I was contacted by the gallery and had agreed to be part of a duo exhibit (featuring illustration) about a year in advance…but life happens. In recent years I have been learning how to cope with losing very close family members and friends. With the recent passing of my father I got really thrown off this time around. Before I knew it I was sitting with Clare (the talented artist I got to show with) and Malika (Curator of the Fritzi Gallery) for coffee to discuss the final details of our upcoming show. This was about TWO months ago… and I had not put one pencil stroke down yet. I knew I was OK. I had work that I had created for a previous show that I could fall back on and I knew I could find the hours and work ethic to create new works.
…despite this I was scared! And stressed. And scared!
The more I thought about it, the more I became very adamant (stubborn even) that I needed to come up with a new series of work. To start fresh as it were. I jumped deep into brainstorming. Thinking of what I wanted to say, what feelings I wanted to explore and evoke, and what I wanted to represent.
During this brainstorming period I met up with two amazing women. One was an old friend and another a new one. In each case we ended up chatting for hours, catching each other up on our lives – the positives and negatives, the challenges we’ve overcome, and are still working on. You know, the standard talk fest! But I noticed how the stories we were telling each other were very new to the listener. I was incredibly inspired. There are so many untold or neglected narratives we’ve all experienced. I wanted to create imaginative illustrations based on these very real stories:
What happened next involved what felt like a flurry of ideas coming to my mind through to my sketchbook to final drawings. The majority of work came to be quite easily. There were times I would come home from teaching night class and start drawing, go to sleep, only to wake up and continue drawing, riding a wave of joyful creativity. I came to the full realization that I truly love to create visual images – to draw. This feeling has never been stronger.
The drawing above, Your Landscape, sold on opening night. It is one of my favourites.
If you could make your own, what would YOUR landscape be?