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Hello, and welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I've spent time as a painter, glass artist, book illustrator and scientist. This year I'm training as a literacy tutor and teacher's assistant, combined with working in the studio and the lab. If you'd like to see more, please try the links to my folio page or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Return to painting

After an epic struggle of several years, I have reluctantly pulled the plug on my ill-fated attempt to forge a career as a children's book illustrator.

Two contracts in a row ended in disappointment, and I sat down and tallied up the facts.  I am not an illustrator.  Art directors do not like my work.  To be fair, I don't like theirs, either.  I do not like to work with people who never answer their emails and reserve the right to change their minds repeatedly.  (All this and I don't get paid?)  After a lifetime of wanting to be a children's book author and illustrator, I discovered that even if I could, by working hard for another ten years, somehow transform myself into a successful illustrator, it wouldn't be worth the price.  I just can't go on wanting this any more.

I pottered around for a bit wondering what to do (apart from training as a literacy tutor and teacher's assistant and going back to the lab, all of which are now in train).  I took out library books on bookbinding and eco-dyeing and wondered if I should become a potter.  After all, my glass art practice was extremely satisfying. Then it occurred to me that I could just go back to painting.

As an illustrator you have to work for a year or more to produce a consistent series of artworks that flow.  It's a bit like doing a scientific project where a dozen different strands have to come together, or the whole thing doesn't work.  Experienced scientists know about this pitfall, and build in short-term project goals and small successes along the way to keep them going.  Art should be the same.  There's nothing worse than a two-year project that fails because it didn't all come together at the end, and there were no small successes along the way to encourage you to keep going.

As a painter you can move in any direction and explore any idea.  You can do ten bad paintings, throw them out, then do one good painting and sell it.  You can create a series of paintings around a theme, have an exhibition, show a few works in a mixed exhibition with other painters, change media, change subject matter and change your approach.  You can paint on location and on vacation.  Heck, you can take painting vacations.  What's not to like about all that?

Yesterday these were rejected illustrations from the last two and a half years.  Today I'm promoting them.  Today they're ... drawings and paintings.

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