The Pale Rook on How she became a Doll Artist

This mornings inspiration to just show up and create whatever is in my head. I take these words of authenticity and courage into my next project, praying that it will sustain my reasons for making and being an artist. Thanks to The Pale Rook for your insightful words!

The Pale Rook

Evie, Rosehip and Brennesle Evie, Rosehip and Brennesle

I have posted about these three before but I suspect I may have written something quite boring and short as the blog was still a bit of a blank canvas at that stage and as anyone who has ever tried to create anything on a black canvas will tell you, blank canvases can either be inspiring or they can freeze your brain until it can only squeeze out banal mutterings.   At that particular time it I am pretty sure I was only able to manage banal mutterings, and short banal mutterings at that.

Also at that stage though I had no idea whatsoever of what anyone would think of my dolls and creatures because almost no one had seen them.  I’d been keeping them a secret from everyone except my closest friends and some people who’d wandered into a group show in a gallery in Oslo.

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a refreshing attitude on the Art World

The other day, local artist Ben Pearce reminded me that our body does 80% of the thinking, and the mind only 20%. When we go about our daily lives the body responds to stimuli before our mind even recognises it. When considering how I may trigger positive emotions for the people that I interacted with, I am comforted to know that even though my work may be personal to me, it is also possible for others to connect to it in a physical way. Ben has trusted his gut instincts when relating to people in his professional life and been very grateful for the connections that he has made with friends and mentors alike. His perception of the Art World is very refreshing to hear as he brings old school ‘art myths’ to the light – explaining truths in his experience of artists:

  • that artists are highly sociable, down to earth people
  • eager to make friends
  • they are networkers by nature
  • obsessive compulsive (in a good way – phew, that’s me!)
  • their pet hate is actually talking about their own work
  • they often fumble along, guessing their way

His view on the business of being an artist has helped to re-ignite my enthusiasm for being an emerging artist. I found great comfort in his desire to make art that nourishes his inner child, reconnecting him back to the magic that was once experienced in childhood. I too, yearn to tap into the imaginings of my childhood when making art. This is the world where my art concepts reside.

‘It’s not actually that hard to make it in the Art World’.

  • Just to be proactive
  • Be engaged
  • Enter competitions/awards
  • Run collaborative or shared art studios
  • Be active on social media sites
  • Organise group shows
  • Approach businesses and cafes
  • Then once you are well established, start approaching galleries (if they haven’t head hunted you already)

It’s who you know

This so called myth is actually true according to Ben! Ben’s shared experience has taught me that I do need to be proactive in researching who is who, so that I can be professional when stumbling into a chance meeting. People are always impressed to hear that someone has done their homework. Connections are contacts in which ever shape or form. Artists love to be around other artists. We all belong to the creative tribe. We all want to surround ourselves with inspiring, courageous, interesting people. It’s only natural that we get to know each other and be open to the possibilities that may be generated within the relationships. One another note: avoid burning bridges, for you will most likely need to cross it again in a few years.

There can never be enough artists in the world. We always need more.

So although, I was asked to research my competitors in this brief, and discover what I can do better of differently to stand out. I say, I don’t need to compete with them at all, as we are all so unique anyway. I’m just joining the tribe of many talented unique creatives. My difference in the tribe will become obvious and appreciated in time and I develop and emerge into the world.

Thanks to Ben Pearce whose words of honesty and wisdom sparked my hope for success as an artist!

Intuitive Painting – a demonstration

Meet Ivette Newport from Grace & Ivy. She is a trained illustrator and has generously shared a video of her process for Intuitve Painting. It’s beautiful to watch her creation coming to life and how something can be formed by organically following gut instincts and hunches along the way. Thats my preferred method of working for sure!

Bridget Guerzon Mills

Bridget Guerzon Mills has inspired me to look into how I could incorporate Encaustics into Mixed Media works. She works with layers of textures and colour in paints, photo images, organic matter, stitch work and wax. She suggests that interests and passions are paramount for developing a personal style and voice, and to be authentic by never following someone else’s style. It is in the mistakes that we find our footing so just create, create, create and make heaps of mistakes. Her artwork is a personal dialogue and the themes stem from cycles of life, growth and decay, memories and the passage of time. Guerzon Mills creates paintings, visual journals and facilitates workshops where she teaches her mixed media craft and shares wisdom of how to discover ones own creative voice.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills 'Aftermath' (2014) Encaustic with mixed media Bridgette

Bridgette Guerzon Mills ‘Aftermath’ (2014) Encaustic with mixed media Bridgette

Reference: Images and information Retreived on 2nd April 2014 from

Damien Hirst

Hirst’s Kaleidoscope Paintings are made from household paint and thousands of different coloured butterfly wings placed in intricate geometric patterns.

The works reference the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly, used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection – Damien Hirst

I was surprised to see an acclaimed artist using spiritual concepts in work, after assuming that mandalas and kaleidoscope patterns would be low art and too cliche. This brightened my prospects for taking up a similar approach in my work, although I have no desire to imitate Hirst by using dead butterflies.


Images and quote retrieved on 1st April 2014 from

Jasmine Watson

I am a lover of the geometric shapes, symmetry and intricacies that New Zealander Jasmine Watson’s work portrays.  She utilises repeating patterns in a graceful and ornamental symmetry that remind me of my grandmother’s intricate and delicate crochet lace work.  Already a trained and experienced jeweller Watson set out to learn the rare and complex technique of enamelling.  The featured works in her 2011 exhibition ‘Subsequence’ are her renowned enamel brooches where she has utilised this ancient technique of hand-made enamel jewellery that has stylised her work and won her many awards.

My work is inspired by ornamental patterns and complex detail based on mathematical principles. I am interested in geometry and tessellations; interlocking shapes that can assemble into elaborate ornamental sequences, repeating to infinity – Watson, J

Many things inspire me about Watson’s work; her use of intricate eastern/western inspired pattern, geometric arrangements and shapes (especially the circle), harmonious colours,  and the great craftsmanship that she displays.  Included in exhibited works, nationally and internationally, Watson also features her drawings as they themselves are works of art, and are an integral part of her creative process of her enamel works.  Using watercolour and pencil she is able to elaborate on the different stages in her design development – a strategy that I would like to experiment with in my own art practice to incorporate colour in the otherwise grey sketches. Maybe this will encourage me to draw more.

Many people know Watson for the elaborate jewellery designs that she created for the motion pictures  ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.  An incredibly talented artisan!


Images and content retrieved on the 11th March 2014 from:

Mister Finch

Mr Finch is the self taught creator of these whimsical storytelling creatures. He practices a sustainable practice by collecting objects and materials that have lost their purpose, not just an ethical choice but also because he loves the nostalgic and unique qualities of them, which is what I am drawn to in his works.

It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make.
Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm.
A story sewn in, woven in.
Velvet curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare wedding dress and a vintage apron become birds and beasts, looking for new owners and adventures to have.

Mr Finch expresses his desire for meaning and fantastical whimsy, letting his creatures tell tales of merging into the human world by means of their physical materiality. As a storyteller and lover of stories, Mr Finch nourishes my imagination and inspires me to tap into the worlds that reside therein.

My main inspirations come from nature and often I return to certain ideas again and again.
Flowers, insects and birds really fascinate me with their amazing life cycles and extraordinary nests and behaviour.
British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make.
Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.
humanizing animals with shoes and clothes is something I’ve always done and I imagine them to come alive at night. Getting dressed and helping an elderly shoemaker or the tired housewife.

Images and quotes retrieved 15th November 2013, from