Jo Murray has graciously answered interview questions and provided me with pictures of her gorgeous work - which I definitely want to see more of and know you will too! And you can! At her blog...here.
White Roses – one of my very first oil paintings, still hanging on the wall of a friend’s home.
1.Tell us about blogging and how it’s worked for you.
I only began blogging at the beginning of this year. Since then I have found sooooo many like-minded friends both local and further away. Having my blog address on my business card has also made it easy for gallery owners to see what I do, and judge whether my work would be up to their standards. This has led to many extra exhibitions this year, and I have never had so much success.
2.How did you discover your favorite art medium?
A late starter, I only began my artistic journey by accident. I wanted to spend my evenings constructively while my husband studied for his job. So, I joined a local community art/craft class where I wanted to learn macrame (that's how old I am readers!... does anyone do this anymore?) When I saw the 'painters' and smelled the oil paint, I was determined to learn art.
I went to a 'hobby' class for a while, painting gum trees and sheep, and floral arrangements, but soon realized that I would need more expert tuition if I wanted to improve. Thus the real journey began. I signed up for four years of Art School.
Art school introduced me to more expressive way of painting, AND they made us use acrylics. Goodbye oil paint!…. acrylics works so well with my way of painting. Give me some fabulous colours, some modelling paste, a few collage materials and there’s no stopping me.
North Coast Hills – a more expressive acrylic painting, done when I first began art school.
3.What inspires or influences you artistically?
Anything and everything! Ideas rage through my head so much, that I must seem quite distracted when I’m in the company of others…. some texture on a tree, a poem, a glimpse of a shop window as I pass.
I browse the web looking at art from all around the world, and find it all amazing and most definitely inspiring. Artists whose blogs I follow all provide me with links to wonderful creative work.
4.How do you go about the design process? Do you work to a design or theme or just go with the flow…or something else entirely?
It depends. I actually use both ways of working… sometimes at the same time. I often prepare papers with gesso and add layers of paint and varnish. The paint might be applied by brushing, dripping, rolling or however I feel. These often form the background for my abstract works.
If I am planning a more realist work I paint in a more traditional way, mapping out the composition first.
I like to work to a theme if possible… it adds coherence to your work.
Rainforest – art school also introduced me to other mediums. In this work there is ink, gouache, acrylic, and pastels. It was a new concept for me to use several mediums in one work.
5.Is/was there a significant turning point or defining moment in your style of work?
Definitely! I took up pottery in the early days in order to finance my love for painting. It worked so well that I did much more potting than painting. This year I have given it up and, as a result, the extra time and brainpower I put into painting has seen my work improve amazingly. This will be my defining year as a ‘real’ painter.
6.Which aspect of your art do you enjoy most?
I can’t describe the absolute joy of moving a brush, loaded with fabulous colour, across a blank canvas in the first stages of a painting. It gives me a sense of anticipation like no other. To see an image through to resolution is a wonderful journey.
Southbank – based on an aerial view of Southbank in Brisbane. One of my first successful semi-abstract works.
7.Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques?
I guess I have already, although I guess I forgot to say that we all should do more drawing. Understanding the way a flower grows, how a cat sits, how a person glances over his/her shoulder gives truth to your work. Yes, you can distort but, to make your image read well, that understanding is crucial.
8.How do you see your future work and style developing?
I seem to be leaning more towards abstract work, tho’ occasionally I revert. I find that it is more difficult to get an emotion into this type of painting, and there lies the challenge.
9.How do you manage your time?
With great difficulty. I am getting older and have less energy than previously. I try to begin early in the morning while I am fresh. I allocate at least two days each week when I can do that and any other time I can snatch between housework, garden and other chores. Of course, somewhere in there is time for gallery crawls with friends, or just socializing. A nap in the afternoon is a great reviver.
Three Arches – a very recent abstract work.
10.What have you done this past year?
Lots! I was in the 13th Annual International Collage Exchange. I was a finalist in a national art competition for the first time (there’s hope yet). I had an exhibition in a new gallery, and have been part of the December group showing in another. There have also been many competitions and awards throughout the year. I enter whatever I have time for and this year has been particularly busy. I have come home with lots of certificates, and dollars, from most. It has been a very successful 2011.
11.What are your artistic highlights?
I once had a painting in a show at the Sydney Opera House. I was delighted to be shown in such a prestigious place.
My being chosen as a finalist in the Lethbridge 10000 was definitely a highlight.
I’m hoping that the real highlights are yet to come.
12.Have you exhibited work or taught classes?
I exhibit regularly. Seeing your work hanging with your peers is one of the best ways to judge your progress. I don’t wish to teach as that would take me away from my studio.
A Face At The Window – one of the collages in last year’s International Collage Exchange.
13.What artistic plans do you have for the coming year?
I hope to enter some larger award competitions, and perhaps collaborate with a friend on an exhibition in one of our Regional Galleries. I will be submitting collages to the 14th International Collage Exchange (http://outofsight.co.nz/Dale/collage.html), and perhaps participating in a few blog challenges.
14.Do you have any ambitions or goals you’d like to see fulfilled in the future?
Absolutely! It has always been a goal to have work in our Regional Gallery, and perhaps this will be the year? I would love to win a prestigious Art Prize, but that is in the lap of the gods. I will certainly be working on it.
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