When Artists Change Directions…How To Listen To Your Art

Way back in the late 90’s, when laughter lines, wobbly bits and young adult offspring were not my reality, I started my art journey with a focus on watercolour and children’s illustration. I spent a decade  juggling early motherhood, babies and toddlers, with a rickety old table set up in the corner of the playroom, where I would occasionally find crayon all over my drawings.  It was a battle to say the least.

Fast forward ten years, my daughters were happily ensconced in primary school, I had time on my hands when, joy of all joys be still my beating heart…I rediscovered oil painting that I had only touched on at art college but never really enjoyed.

It’s been an incredible ride since then, with a purpose built studio giving me a space all of my own and 5 years now as a full-time professional artist.  I’ve had a few wonderful awards, many, many, many paintings, the launch into small business ownership, an obsession with paint and a palette of artists, I now call friends, collected along the way.

Follow your Art and Heart

The last 5 years of painting has seen me try every known genre in the art world…still life, figurative work, portraiture, landscape, pet portraits and though abstract has never been high on my to do list, I often feel it’s  an area I will eventually be lead to…never say never! I’m happy to look back over my records and know that I’ve given it my all in each genre and have successfully navigated each genre with sales and awards.

Artworks by Mia Laing
Break Your Own Limits, artwork by Mia Laing

 

But somehow my illustration days have felt missing. A series idea has been growing as a seed and this year I’ve finally found the space to let my crazy critters out! (Fear not my traditional art followers… they will not completely take over my studio just yet! I still have many plans for ‘normal’ paintings too.  In fact, I may have an underwater painting on my easel very soon…watch this space.

The Birth of a new art series…#almostfamous #secretlifeofanimals #crazycritters

This quote struck a chord with me …

You need to ignore what everyone else is doing and achieving – your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live your best life. You are not in competition with anyone else; plan to outdo your past, not other people.

Oh my. A truer word was never spoken. How often do we NOT do this?  How often, especially with todays social media, such as Pinterest and Instagram, do we spent hours agonising over what we are NOT achieving or doing or imagining or successful in? It’s as crazy as my critters and so self-defeating.

I’m thrilled with my new paintings.  They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you have been following me for my traditional still-life or portraiture,  but that’s art and its a risk I’m willing to take.

How to listen to your art

Listening to your art is done in quiet introspection. Take note of what art you stop and linger over during your scrolls through Instagram or Pinterest…those paintings that you wish you could hang on your wall; that you wonder over brush strokes, colour and composition.  If you use Pinterest, take a look through your boards and see if there is a pattern to how your boards are filling. For me it was traditional pet portraits boards, that have now morphed into odd animals. (Find me on Pinterest here)

Allow yourself time to play with new ideas, techniques or materials. If you have commitments to galleries, booked exhibitions or clients, put a day a week aside for your new ideas…if your ideas don’t get space, they will never grow.

I was extremely busy with an exhibition group last year that left me over committed and struggling to find breathing space to allow new concepts to form.  My energy was zapped, my art was suffering and I felt strapped for fresh ideas. Leaving that group was a huge decision but meant I had time to think and dream and reconnect with the heart in my art.

Feeling stuck? Then it’s time to reinvent and to take a risk…I have had an incredibly positive response to my crazy critters, much more than I thought would happened.  The key is to make sure you are painting for yourself, for your enjoyment and if others like it, well, that’s a bonus. If you are driven by your internal values and passion, then you will be content.

Anyway, that’s it. It’s quite simple…change is not only good, but sometimes necessary to keep the ❤ In your art.

I’m exhibiting my original oil paintings from this series (if I can stop accidentally selling them!) in August at The Perth Art Upmarket

I’ve had my originals professionally photographed and now have them available as Limited edition prints in my new web shop.   I’m rather chuffed.  I hope you like them. Available on canvas or paper, they can be sent rolled in a mailing tube anywhere in the world…world domination by crazy critters is imminent!

Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know of new prints and to see a first listing of originals to my shop in September.

Hoping they bring some laughter and a smile to your face! Remember, I am open for commissions of your favourite fur child as their #secretlifeofanimals personality. It’s sure to be the talking point of any room!

Mia x

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