When I returned to painting a couple of years ago, I knew I wanted to create art just for the sake of creating art. No expectations. No dreams of becoming an 'Artist' with a capital A. No plans of selling or exhibiting. Just me, getting back in touch with this side of my life.
Last year, things got more serious. I went on a life-changing art trip to Italy. I started painting and sketching more. And, when I got back from Italy, I was invited to become an art teacher at Splashout Art Studios. I even experimented with learning a new art form - creating digital art. Even re-opened my Etsy shop.
Still, I had no huge plans about doing more with my art-making. I taught again at Splashout this term, teaching another fantastic Beginners' group. And, I kept on painting.
At some stage, I went through a tough patch with my art. It was a time when I was beginning to lose my enjoyment of the creative process. I had a few reasons. I didn't know if I was going to get past it. But, I kept at it anyway.
Then, something clicked. And, I got to a point now where my work seems to have taken a different turn.
First, my approach has become looser. And, I started painting on bigger canvases. A big jump for me. Something I'd like to blog about some other time.
But yes. All of a sudden, I was creating, learning, and growing.
Then, a few weeks ago, I took this expressive floral painting that I was working on from my home studio into Splashout Art Studio, where I attend one of the general painters' sessions. I brought it in to ask for some advice from our art mentor. I was wondering if there was anything else I can do to improve the painting.
She only gave me a big smile and said something along the lines of: "Just sign it, clean up the edges, and get the registration form. This needs to go out there. You need to start exhibiting and selling your work."
I've been doing three terms of the GP sessions at Splashout now, and that was the first time she said that to me. So, even though I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to go in the direction of art exhibiting and selling again, I agreed.
A few days later, this is what I found along Jetty Road in Brighton:
Yes, my painting, displayed at Cherie-Em, a French perfumery shop here in South Australia. One of the venues* available for Splashout Studio artists. Quite a new experience for me.
While I have sold and exhibited paintings before, they were all shown in other ways. Never in a shop front like this. And, the last time I sold and exhibited my work was close to a decade a go. And, my kids weren't around to appreciate the fact that mum's paintings are good enough to display in public. It's their first time to see one of my paintings outside of our home. So, yeah. Definitely a bit of a thrill.
I'm not sure yet how this will pan out. And, even though I wasn't quite planning on this, I have to admit that I'm really pleased to be back on the exhibiting side of creativity again.
*Splashout also currently runs a small gallery along Jetty Road, Brighton - just a couple of shops from Cherie-Em. Many fellow Splashout artists show their art there, amongst other venues.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.