“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson.
How do you describe your work?
Most of my artwork is a result of observing the natural world around me and exploring concepts that have affected me personally. My 2017 ‘Cloud’ exhibition explored the concept of weather/clouds and the parallels with a clouded state of mind. I take many photographs and use these as my reference. I also consider concepts that resonate with me. Although many of my pieces may appear to be simply a study of a nest, or a depiction of a road, there is always a deeper meaning to these images. Roads symbolize a path forward, a notion that there’s always something ahead. Nests symbolize the home and my value of nurturing and will always have 3 eggs, one for each of my children.
Who/What inspires your work?
It’s difficult to pinpoint a particular artist that I would say is my favourite. Throughout Art History there have been many artists that have created work that has broken new ground and have therefore demanded attention. I am inspired by the exploration of light through the Impressionists work. The immediacy and application of paint through the Abstract Expressionists inspires me to try to keep my work fresh and spontaneous. The use of colour in the Fauves work piques my interest and the technical drawing ability of Durer or Escher inspires me to hone my drawing skills. Sculptural work by Henry Moore informs the use of the natural form throughout my 2d and 3d work.
What is most important to you, in your work?
The act of creating is the most important thing for me. If too many days elapse without me being able to paint or draw or make something, I get a bit antsy. I need to create. I have an unending list of things I want to do and perhaps an even greater amount of unfinished projects waiting for me to get back to them.
What elements of your personality make you good at what you do?
I am a patient person. I have reasonable communication skills and have empathy and compassion for people. I have the ability to plan and execute my plans fairly smoothly.
What is the most difficult thing about being an artist/creative professional?
The most difficult part of being a creative professional, is having too many jobs to do. Creating is the easiest part, although you have to make sure you carve out enough time in your day to actually do it. Working from home means you always have multiple tasks on the go at once. Marketing and Social media can eat too much of your day. I try not to focus on either of these too much, I concentrate on posting occasionally and scrolling less. Probably spreading myself too thinly is an issue, however I like to try to think outside the box and have a number of diverse projects to keep me artistically active. I try to keep up to date with any accounting and paperwork, to allow myself to get that out of the way.
Does self-doubt play a part in your artistic life at all?
I’m never 100% happy with my work, I’m a harsh self-critic, however this I believe inspires me to continue creating and learning.
How/When did you know you were an artist?
I started art classes when I was eight. A local teacher agreed to take me on even though she usually only taught adults. I’ve had a passion for drawing ever since I was a small child, I remember being devastated when I broke my wrist and was unable to draw for a few weeks. I also remember going to the football at Waverley Park with my Dad, I would always take a pencil and paper, so I could draw the people around me.
What are you particularly proud of?
I feel very connected to the Clouds series of Artworks, that I have been working on over the last few years. I began this exploration after the death of my son. Painting through my grief kept my mind and body busy, but the subject also resonated with me, exploring the parallels of grief and weather and terms used when describing both. Fine, depression, cloudy.
Who or what are your supports?
I have an extremely supportive family. My husband is extremely patient with my ideas, projects and mess. He creates sculptures and structures, his own designs and sometimes mine, he helps with practical and technical expertise. He shares our home with many members of the public and works hard to create a welcoming and beautifully maintained garden and home. My children and their partners help when we have events and exhibitions. Gabby helps with visual merchandising and styling in the studio. Mitch is always keen to help when a major sculpture or installation requires all hands on deck.
Do you have a personal mantra?
I try to live by the quote, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson.
Do you have the work of other artists in your home?
Our home is filled with art and artisan made pieces. We have several pieces by Indigenous artists and pieces that have been purchased on overseas or interstate holidays, artwork created by our children and my brother in law, paintings by my mother and some purchased from opportunity shops. We have weavings, baskets, etchings, brushes, sculptures, carpets, drawings, tools, locks, bells, ceramics and to my husband’s delight…soft furnishings. David and I have always purchased original artwork. Many pieces have been collected over our 30 years together and some collected before we married.
How do you know when a piece/project is finished?
I usually hang an artwork in my studio when I think it is close to finished, then spend some time “living” with it. When I spot an area that needs attention I rectify it and then lastly sign it. Once an artwork is signed, I call it finished.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?
Give it a go. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to help someone begin on their own artistic journey. So many people have complimented me by telling me that they find learning to paint, meditative or relaxing. Many say they have started to “see” so much more, once they begin to paint. Lots of people join me in my studio to immerse themselves in something else, I endeavour to make it a pleasant and inspirational place to spend a couple of hours.
Paperworks Gallery and Studio offers original artwork, handmade gift-ware, art classes and workshops. The Studio garden is filled with quirky sculptures made from recycled items once discarded as scrap, and reincarnated by Andrea’s husband, David. The Gallery is open by appointment and is located at 26 Inglis Rd. Berwick, Victoria. To stay informed about upcoming events you can follow Paperworks on instagram.
(Happy Anorak greeting cards are also available at the gallery)