You can purchase prints direct from their East Coast Wall Art range by clicking here.
Please send me any images of my prints once you have them hanging! I love seeing where they end up.
I teamed up with Left Bank Gallery and their print catalogue many moons ago, which allows for my 'Plant Love' series to be enjoyed in a range of sizes to suit all spaces and budgets and it has seen my images hanging on walls in commercial spaces, hotel rooms, offices and retail showrooms.
You can purchase prints direct from their East Coast Wall Art range by clicking here.
Please send me any images of my prints once you have them hanging! I love seeing where they end up.
Artwork for your floor
I could not be more excited to see two of my life loves coming together in such a beautiful way, thanks to the kind and flattering invitation from Brisbane based business Yogat to be their first official featured artist. My work 'Leaves on Linen' is available on their limited edition luxe workout mats with just 25 available in total.
You can pre-order yours here.
There are times in this artistic life that I am afforded the luxury of getting paid for work that I’ve created, watching it head off to far and distant forever homes. Last week I had the privilege of sending a canvas print all the way over to the South of France to an excited new collector. A total thrill! Times like there are so wonderful, so uplifting and really reassuring not to mention financially rewarding.
There are other times when I get to plan for bigger painting projects such as mural works in commercial spaces or at schools where I get to work to a bit of a brief in the designing stages, before launching into some full body working out to create large scale paintings. These times also feel like a huge privilege and honour and are great for getting my excitement and motivation on the up! I'm looking forward to commencing a new mural project in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for progress posts soon enough.
There are times where I get to put my teacher’s hat back on and prepare my home studio for some workshop action, allowing others to come along with an open mind and be inspired to try some new approaches and be waited on as they indulge in some serious making time. My studio is like a little bubble, where time seems to stand still and we can forget about whatever else is going on in the world.
Then there is time for passion projects, and it’s been a whole year since I’ve worked on one. This time last year I was counting down to the launch of my most ambitious series ever; ‘Women of Colour’ - A series of 12 portrait paintings that I created over two whole years. It officially opened on International Women’s Day and I organised a number of events to celebrate the series, to celebrate women of colourful substance and to inspire countless others. I wanted the series to be bold, colourful,and meaningful and to create positive change. The works each had a charity or NFP nominated by each subject (or fashion designer’s work depicted) and 20% of the works sold during the exhibition would be donated. The show was a great success with $5000 being donated to the various charities and I’ve never felt more proud of what I could achieve artistically, as I did at the opening and throughout the duration of the show. It was joyous, uplifting, inspiring, rewarding and quite overwhelming. I feel floaty when I think back to the magical moments I shared with those who came along to help me celebrate, to learn more about the subjects and the series and to just experience the 12 works hanging together.
I worked on this series in between mural projects and running workshops, I worked on the portraits when I wasn’t working on commissions or botanical works for retail spaces that show my work. I worked on these pieces on weekends where I missed out on spending time with my family and friends. I worked because I knew I had to reach the goal I had set for myself, because I knew the rewards would come if I did the work. I worked hard but it didn’t always feel like work. Each time I completed a portrait I felt immensely proud and closer to reaching my goal.
Much like exercise, you feel motivated when you see results but you also feel positive during the actual doing of the work. The endorphins kick in and we feel better for showing up. I find the same thing happens in creative work. Painting is quite meditative, as you focus on a point at the end of your paintbrush and this steadies the mind. When my ‘Women of Colour’ series ended and the show came down, I wanted to slow down and take some time to recalibrate. I didn’t throw myself into a new passion project, I just plodded along with jobs as they arose and held more workshops for keen creatives – but I didn’t have a passion project to keep coming back to in between jobs and my transition back into the slow lane took a lot longer than I thought it would.
I’m now very much attempting to transition back into PASSION! To immerse myself with work that makes my heart sing. To keep showing up to do the work, knowing that it will once again reward myself and others.
The time has come again and I’m currently contacting a few inspiring subjects to consider sitting for portraits. The excitement levels are on the up as I await their responses and it feels good to have this purpose in my practice once again. There are many painting prizes to enter these new works into for 2019, another nice little incentive to get back on the portrait painting horse. But I still need the paid work to continue to float me as I work across both parts of my practice, so please keep me in mind with your own art collecting, mural projects or desire to come along to a workshop. I’ll always need the support of others and as needy as it might sound I need your encouragement. We all need encouragement.
You can show your support by purchasing one of the remaining post card packs from my ‘Women of Colour’ series which includes all 12 of the portaits I painted in glossy postcard form to fit a small picture frame or to spread a friendly message via the mail to your friends and loved ones.
Find them here.
I’ve also added a SALE category to my online shop with heavily reduced original works looking for forever homes.
Find them here.
OR if you are considering coming along for a workshop at some stage this year, I’ve advertised a few dates in the coming months which you can register your interest for by sending me an email.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read what I’m up to and for sharing the love with your kind comments and support.
Let's get real.
This year I've made some rather deliberate decisions about where I see my life going. I've officially resigned from Education Queensland and the permanent position I had held for me over the past three years while I decided if I would or wouldn't return for a part time position when our little girl starts school next year!
PS. Where did that four years go?
Personal questions and decisions about whether or not we will grow our family and whether or not I could financially sustain this career in painting - were getting me down for many years, because I simply couldn't answer the question. I just don't know the answers, because I can't predict the future. No one can. But the more I tried to find the answers, the more lost I became. Life doesn't actually care about our best laid plans, because life generally does its own thing anyway, and you can either fight it or go with the flow. Making art is very much a reminder of this.
Devoting so much of my time over the past eight years to my creative passions, has taught me one very important lesson - to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. It's where the good stuff happens, the personal growth, the rewards, and the big life lessons.
Since my 'Women of Colour' show came to an end in March, I actively took a big time out. I deactivated my personal Facebook account. I got back to spending more time with my family, to worrying less about deadlines and what my next project would be and I just sat in the uncertainty. I took on a 30 day sketch book challenge and shared some of the works. But I won't lie, I was uncomfortable, overwhelmed and pretty scared about what I was supposed to do next. The 'WOC' show went so well, I was somewhere new and scared to face what came next. But I reminded myself to sit with it, and not to force anything that wasn't the right fit. To trust that the right project or creative direction would make itself known and to just keep making art in the mean time.
In doing so I've made myself available to consider things I previously may have discounted, failed to see or simply wasn't open to. Public speaking has always been one of those 'things' for me. It scared me. I didn't think I needed to consider it. I didn't want to even entertain the idea. That is, until I did entertain the idea...for just a couple of minutes.
I've been invited on a number of occasions over the past few years to share my artistic story with high school students in class room settings and this has always been ok. After all, I stood in front of classroom groups for over 10 years as a teacher every day. I had the skills and experience. But then I found myself getting asked to come and speak to adults, and professionals in a variety of industries to share how I've turned my passion into a profession - and this is when I started to feel scared about saying yes.
I noticed my body get tense, I'd start to sweat a bit and really felt like every fibre was screaming "No!". So instead of taking the easy road and saying no, I've been acknowledging it's scary and saying YES instead. In May of this year I delivered my very first 45 minute Key note speech at UQ for their annual Youth Alumni Conference. I wrote a speech to fit the brief, and hopefully interest an audience of post grads from fields so far from the Arts including Engineering, Business, Accounting, Marketing and even Law. I practised the delivery of my speech and timed it for over a week until I got it right and so by the time I delivered it I had absolutely nothing to fear. I wasn't nervous, I was just really excited to share what I'd worked so hard on. And guess what?
I nailed it! I really did!
It felt amazing, the audience responded so well and I had a line up of people straight after informing me of the many ways in which my speech spoke to them.
It was beautiful.
I was on a high and completely excited by this new found way to connect further with others. And preach CREATIVITY!
I floated for weeks after on the buzz and felt like I'd just opened this whole new amazing bag of tricks and wanted to know when I would get to bring them out again. Now, I've wasted time in the past waiting for things. Waiting for some guy I had a crush on to notice me, waiting for the perfect teaching job in the perfect location to get offered to me, waiting for an amazing art gallery to email me an offer of a life time! These things just don't always happen because you want them to and waited patiently. It's a trap. Don't waste your time waiting for life to happen.
Having learnt these lessons in the past, I've proven to myself on more than one occasion that I can make my own destiny happen. I can put myself out there and create my own opportunities. I can put my hand up to do scary things that make me nervous, but turn out not to be so bad. Many of these things have in fact turned out to be quite liberating, empowering and have seen me grow and go onto new and better heights. Heights I hadn't even realised I wanted to get to.
So, long story short. I'm not waiting for more invitations to speak publicly, I'm going out and making my own events. Risky, I know! But exciting, because you have to start somewhere - so why not right here, where I am, with what I've got available.
For me that's Thursday August 2nd, at The Craft Parlour in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast from 6-7:30pm with:
'A Creative Pep Talk' followed by a Q&A.
I'm giving this talk in the hopes to inspire others to step up to their own creative potential. Be it a new creative past time, or revisiting an old one. Shaking up existing passions with new creative ways to reconnect ourselves to the act of creating. What I know is that I have in fact inspired so many people by merely sharing the ups and downs of this artistic pathway and I truly believe it has all come from devoting more time to the things that make me feel more like myself, to actively seeking out new challenges and continuing to choose excitement over fear. Life is really short, what's the point of living it if we let fear hold us back.
If you're on the Gold Coast and think this pep talk could speak to you, or maybe you just want to see me face this fear head on...then grab your $35 ticket from my online shop HERE and I'll look forward to seeing you then for some 'REAL' time talks and big hearted honesty.
I've also been getting more and more requests from fellow creatives to 'pick my brains' or meet for coffee to find out how I've got as far as I have. So this is that opportunity to pick my brains, I'll happily answer all of your questions, because I know it helps to seek these things out for ourselves and get motivated to put dreams into action!
I dare you all to get creative for yourselves. See what happens. Don't wait xx
P.S. To take the discomfort even further, I've posted my first ever blog documenting the overwhelm, and how I'm overcoming it. Watch it HERE if you have 7 minutes to spare.
Happy end of financial year everyone! I’ve been excited to write that. Sad but true!
Because I’m finally FINALLY able to write this very special blog post, which is a round up of the total money raised and donated to various charities and NFPs - as nominated by the beautiful women who agreed to letting me paint their portrait and designs for my most recent solo exhibition and series ‘Women of Colour’.
The ‘Women of Colour’ series was my most ambitious solo to date. Two years in the making this vibrant collection of striking portraits saw me able to spotlight twelve fellow Australian creative women who have inspired myself - and countless others - in their fierce pursuit of a life lived in brilliant colour and bold substance. This array of ‘Art with Heart’ set out to celebrate cultural diversity and the gift that pursuing a life of creative contribution can bring while also raising awareness and money for 12 worthwhile charities and NFPS. Subjects included fellow artists, writers, dancers, fashion designers, musicians and social advocates from all parts of the country and each subject or designer was asked to nominate a charity or NFP close to their heart to see 20% of the original artwork price and purchased limited edition prints donated to.
Whilst the exhibition officially opened in March of this year for the physical showing of the 12 completed portrait works at Left Bank Gallery on the Gold Coast, I had made limited edition prints of the portraits available for sale with a further 20% of each print purchased going to each respective organisation from as far back as early 2017, so it’s very much been ongoing. I was so totally blown away to witness five of the twelve original portraits finding themselves forever homes at the opening night of the exhibition and in the weeks that followed after hoarding them for over a year and filling every empty wall in our very small mountain home. I simply could not be happier that these works as a collection made such a beautiful impact on the viewers that experienced them in one hit and my ability to spotlight the work of so many wonderful Australian women that truly are inspiring. Incredible things really do happen when women come together! The remaining works and prints were available on my online shop (and still are) but I wanted to finalise and tally up the final donations from print sales before the end of this financial year, particularly for the first works completed in the series and those which sold as originals.
My decision to make this series of work a fundraising project, came about from a few motivating factors. While I certainly don’t make enough money from my practice to even pay tax, let alone claim any back (well not yet anyway!), I still ache to see my work making a real and positive impact on the communities of everyday Australians, from a range of diverse backgrounds and areas of need – because while it is all good and well to produce uplifting imagery to share in the world, I know the impact of art and my creative contribution can go further. My social conscience is very strong and I realised this even more so when I threw myself back into painting in 2010 and I’ve used my art many times since to raise awareness and funds for a number of causes, including the time I participated in ‘Shave for a Cure’ in 2013 raising over $10,000 for the Leaukeamia Foundation (you can read all about that here.)
I don’t just create art because it feels good and I enjoy it, I also create art to communicate what is most important to me and what I want to see more of in the world. If I were limited to describing what that is in just a few words, than I’d have to say I want to see more ‘Colour, Creativity, Courage and Compassion’ in the world. There could never be enough. My art doesn’t come from a place of pain or struggle, it comes largely from a place of gratitude, curiosity and hope and it’s the result of a lifetime experiencing creative encouragement and endless love from my family and community. This doesn’t make me particularly special, but I'm certainly very fortunate and I’m using the privilege that my life grants me everyday, living here in this lucky country, loved, in a body that affords me an expanse of abilities and a desire to do more than is expected - to pay it forward with what I’ve got at hand.. Majority of us are in this position, with different actions and offerings to choose from. It’s all in the actual doing though and I implore everyone to do what you can, wherever you are, with whatever you've got, Because we are all connected and in this together.
The women who most inspire me are the courageous ones, the deep thinkers, the makers, the doers, the ones that dare to go against the crowd in the hope that they will get more from this short life and as a result their courage and action inspires others and even brings about positive change. I wanted to paint just a few of these women to share their contributions on the platforms I've created for myself, they are women I want to hear more from, and see more often in the media and women that I think others can take great inspiration from.. In fact I want to be one of those women! My art, my actions and dedication of time to this creative pursuit can also help to inspire others, I’ve seen this time and time again and it never fails to empower me. I’m always going to go the extra step, even when I know I should take a few less. Call me an over achiever perhaps, but I continue to feel motivated by my gratitude for this life of mine and it really all stems from there.
Added to these very core reasons for doing what I’ve done with this series, I have to tell you candidly that I so often get approached about donating my artwork for various fundraising events, organisations and communities - many of which I know little about or have no experience or link to - which many artists would also have experienced and can very much relate to. While it is always flattering to have your work admired and thought of, I must admit I find it really overwhelming to be asked so frequently for donations of original artwork. It happens at least once per month, and if I added up the value of the works I’ve donated in total over the past 20 years I would easily have hit more than my current annual income. I don't know how many people can say they donated a year's worth of income to charity. It would be of no great surprise if I were to tell you all that pursuing an artistic career such as painting does not exactly equal riches, or any form of financial stability for that matter and even if I were to sell one painting a day I would never cover the hours of work I’ve put into my practice. It’s a career path that requires great financial sacrifice and redefining of what the word ‘success’ personally means to me vs what everyone else might like to tell you. Yet artists and artworks are so often sought after for donations for fundraising events to provide a unique cultural experience to their audience and provide ‘exposure’ for emerging artists and hobbyists alike. While it is great to have a platform to have your work seen on, it can be quite stressful and financially debilitating to give work away for free and to be asked so often – ultimately to help others in need when many artists themselves are struggling to pay their monthly bills. So rather than allowing the overwhelming number of requests for artwork donations to get me down, I decided to take matters into my own hands and find a happy middle ground.
Knowing there are so many incredibly selfless people in this country working hard for very little personal gain to help raise money for any number of individuals, groups, causes and crisis in our communities, the thought of choosing which ones to donate to and which to knock back - is too difficult a task. I have had to say no to many many requests for my artwork, which upsets me but also helps me keep it real, because yes I’ve got bills to pay like everyone else and I choose to pursue a career that sees me earn far less than I could in my previous career as a teacher. But I want it to be noted that creatives are often the first individuals to get asked to give their work and services away for free. Something many tradespeople for example, wouldn’t be expected to do. I see this as an opportunity to educate well-meaning-people and organisers on one simple point. If an artist is already donating a large amount of work and time to fundraising efforts, don’t assume their buckets are bottomless. In fact you can rest assured their limits have likely, already been exceeded. And this blog post also intends to spread that message further.
For this series and personal passion-project, I wanted to learn about the charities and NFPs closest to the hearts of the women I chose to paint, the women who inspire me! By donating a portion of my artwork and print sales, I was still able to pay it forward in a bunch of different directions while covering most of my own costs. It also means that I can tell you all exactly where I’ve chosen to direct my donations for the next few years, so it won’t hurt so much when I tell the next curious person seeking artwork donations that I have in fact reached my quota. And proudly so! Please know that I write this all with love and hope it helps many to consider new ways and means in which to fundraise for your own passion projects in the future.
So it is with endless thanks to the beautiful and generous collectors of five of my originals and the purchase of up to twenty of my limited edition prints over the past 18 months and winning bids from the opening night silent auction event for the gorgeous donations of dresses from Australian fashion label ‘Mister Zimi’, a handbag and purse donation from ‘Marimekko Australia’ and the stunning Australian made scarf from ‘Letitia Green Designs and framed artist prints from Left Bank Gallery’...
the total amount of money raised from this series so far, is; $5130.
The six charities and NFPs to receive donations (and beautiful humans to nominate each) from this total amount are:
The Starlight Children’s Foundation – received $1400 – nominated by ‘Mister Zimi’.
Beyond Blue – received $1275 - nominated by Letitia Green Designs
Sisters Inside – received $240 – nominated by Amrita Hepi
Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture & Trauma – received $780 – nominated by Charmaine Idris of ‘Diva Headwraps’.
Redland’s Centre for Women – received $760 - nominated by Maryann Talia Pau
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation – received $675 – nominated by Tamara Armstrong in memory of our friend Rebecca Fletcher.
There are still seven remaining original works from my series and six remaining charities and NFPs that were nominated and have not yet received donations from this fundraising endeavour, therefore I would like to continue to raise funds for each of these organisations in the 2018/2019 financial year. 20% of all limited edition print sales of the following portraits will be donated to the corresponding organisations at the end of the next financial year if purchased directly from my online shop:
‘Rainbow Dreaming – A portrait of Aretha Stewart’ Raising funds for AIME Mentoring.
‘The Art of Giving & Receiving – A portrait of Ellen Stapleton’ Raising fund for the ‘Indigenous Literacy Foundation’.
‘The Water – A portrait of Waveney Yasso’ Raising fund for the Puuya Foundation
‘Embrace – A portrait of Michelle Law’ Raising funds for Rare Cancers Australia.
‘Inshallah – A portrait of Yassmin Abdel-Magied’ Raising funds for Youth Without Borders.
‘Centennial Kim – A portrait of Kim Leutwyler’ Raising funds for The Global Women’s Project.
I’d also love to take this opportunity to thank and publicly acknowledge the amazing and supportive staff at Left Bank Gallery, who kindly negotiated their commission % to make it possible for me to not only have a beautiful and professional gallery space to exhibit my series in, but also to make it possible for me to donate the money from the sales that I have been able to. Being a self-represented artist is no easy feat and any attempt to put on a solo exhibition comes with a lot of upfront costs and challenges. It’s a financial risk and there are a lot of factors to be considered and details to be accounted for, and if I didn’t have the right space and team of supportive people to work with from the start - and be able to exercise the amount of control and ownership that I was granted, then I can confidently say that my exhibition would not have been the positive success that it was. Thank you so much to Toby for inviting me to have this exhibition at Left Bank, thank you to Milly for the endless email threads, phone calls and meetings to plan the many events and marketing endeavors that you did for me and thank you so much to Jules for seamlessly scanning and colour testing all 12 of my portraits with so much care and attention to detail. Thank you to Bob and Sandra for always providing me with the warmest welcomes, words of support and willingness to help out anytime I came asking and especially when I didn’t. It is truly a rare thing to find such an incredibly friendly and professional team of people in the one building and you are all so wonderful and very much appreciated by me!
To everyone who purchased a ticket to come along to the International Women’s Day Creative Immersion Day and to the amazing crowd of people that travelled from far and wide to celebrate this long awaited event with me on the opening night, I can’t thank you enough for making both events so very special. I shared so much of my heart in the words I shared with you all and I truly felt that you all saw me, heard me and sent the love straight back. I’ll never forget the warmth and connections and smiles I personally witnessed happening between you all as well, my artistic peers, my family, my friends, my greatest supporters and the gorgeous friends you brought with you.
It was truly magic!
To watch the beautiful video captured by Chantal Keegan click here.
For the complete album of stunning images by River Hazel taken on International Women's Day, click here.
And for all images from the opening night taken by Daniel Snare, click here.
‘The Power of Vulnerability and Surrender’
A Portrait of Faustina Agolley
By Tamara Armstrong
Acrylic on Canvas
100cm (H) x 150cm (Width)
On spotting Faustina...
When I first had the idea of asking Faustina if I could paint her portrait, I wasn’t exactly sure why it felt right, but I did feel compelled to ask. I only vaguely knew her face from her ‘TV Hits’ days and more recently started following her on Instagram after seeing her ‘coming out’ announcement via social media two years ago on her 31st birthday – which was shared by our mutual friend Sarah Wilson.
Faustina’s announcement read: "As black as my skin, as Chinese as my blood, and as Australian and British are my nationalities, I'm also a proud Gay Woman. Most importantly though, I'm a happy human being."
Accompanying the words was an image of Faustina sitting beside this giant rainbow birthday cake that had sparkly flames, like mini fireworks streaming out the top of it. Her face in the photo just radiated sheer joy. It was one of those images you instantly see and just cannot help but smile. The image was shared on instagram and Twitter by quite a few people I followed and I just felt so overwhelmingly happy for her.
I started following Faustina via social media and noticed how joyous, optimistic, upbeat, interesting and fun her posts and images were. She seemed to me to have a somewhat child-like innocence about her, baking fun cakes and making cute craft and always beaming a gorgeous gratuitous smile. She shared different things she was learning about the civil rights era while travelling around different parts of the U.S. and I particularly loved one of her posts about finding an amazing lady who showed her how to properly care for her Afro.
'Make Do Be' is a place to share my latest ideas, thoughts, works and ventures. My work is contemporary, original and affordable. I can create work for budgets ranging from $100 to $10,000.