I once heard a radio interview where a singer/songwriter said that they had always found comfort in their own voice and song, it was something they could rely on and gave them strength. I remember thinking ‘Gee, I wish I could sing like that…”
It has taken a while for me to realise that my voice is heard through art. Painting is like trying to string together a melody out of the silence, but the reward is hearing the song played back to you when it is complete. There is something so deeply satisfying and comforting about getting it all out. The unexpected thing has been watching it resonate with others..
Starting the journey
I started out as an artist by accident initially. Seven months ago I painted a gift and posted it on social media. It had a positive response and an enquiry about a commission. I have a habit of trying to be a professional and expert in everything I do so I treated the commission like work. I met with an art friend of mine and quizzed them on composition and tips on how I could make the painting something special. On her advice I went to the location of the setting I was painting and sketched out a composition. I went home and toyed with colour and ended up painting something that I didn’t know I could paint. The work paid off and the satisfaction was a really great feeling.
I started researching artists and I dissected the things that I liked about their work, the things that resonated with me. I bought ‘Painting in Acrylics’ - The indispensable Guide by Lorena Kloosterboer . I painted a lot, I posted on social media, I started receiving commissions by people I knew and people I didn’t know. But I was still pretty private about painting.
The local Art Scene
Then there was a sale on canvas and I had cash from my commission work. I spent the whole lot buying a car full of canvas, big canvas. While I was at the store I asked the ladies working there about how one might be involved in the local art scene. They gave me a list of groups to link up to. One of which was a group called ‘From the Easel’ it was very inclusive, encouraging and exactly what I needed. I painted and started sharing my work here.
I heard about an exhibition called 5 Lands Walk. I entered the exhibition and attended the open night. I met people from the Facebook group and other artists and this week I saw my work on a gallery wall for the first time. Friends and family came to support me.
Something clicked in seeing my art in a gallery setting. I was proud of my work. Again, I had a positive response however I didn’t sell anything.
The Wonderful People
I started to question myself a little bit after here. And almost bailed on another exhibition that was coming up. I finished the painting I was going to enter and it resonated with a lovely lady on the Facebook group. I was blown away by their connection with the painting. As it turns out this lady owned the gallery space I was to enter the artwork in. So I followed through with a late entry and placed it in the exhibition. It sold! It went out into the world and someone connected with it.
I painted more commissions, It turns out I have a knack for translating idea to canvas. Even if the idea is not my own. I think a lot about who I am painting for and what they might connect with. The faith they have in my ability to create something worth paying for. I put together some marketing material and a website. I started posting on forums offering commission work focusing on making art accessible, authentic and affordable. I received more commissions.
I went on a gallery trip with another gorgeous artist, it totally enthused me to knuckle down and paint. I met with an art coach and gained some direction. I appreciated the people around me and their strength I sought ways to engage and encourage.
8 months in...
I had a phone call this month from a gallery. The organiser had seen my work at the 5-Lands walk exhibition months ago and suggested I rent a space with them and exhibit there. The very next day I received a message about collaborating for an exhibition of 3 artists. I was surprised people actually knew my work and what I was doing.
Today I received a message regarding a commission I had painted. It was given as a gift to a very special lady going through a rough time. They loved it and it reminded them of a place and time that meant something special to them. This is why I do what I do. The way art resonates and the nature of it will constantly surprises me, it’s a worthwhile and rewarding journey to find that inner voice and strength that you connect with and share it, if only to remind others that they have one too.
GO TO ART http://www.janamcleod.com/art-for-sale.html