I believe it is essential to begin drawing and painting with a solid technical, fundamental base of realistic drawing and painting skills. Like when building a house, a strong foundation is vital. It is from this strong base of knowledge that we can break free to create whatever our heart desires. We can leave things out we have learned, but we cannot add what we don't know.
Some people choose abstract art because they just don't believe that they can learn to paint realistically, other students have problems to break from perfectionism and realism to create something of their own, anew and fresh.
It is of great value to have a knowledgeable and skilled art teacher, in fact, several teachers if possible and an environment you feel supported and comfortable in. All else will fall into place automatically.
Everyone can be taught, although the speed is determined by how much the student is willing to put into practice what is learned. Having said that, even with the smallest amount of regular time for drawing and painting, every student will improve.
Having taught for so long, I learned that certain aspects of tutoring proved to work better and I have developed strategies by which students frequently advance faster, in particular within the first couple of years.
When I see a student struggle with their work, I remember the feeling of inadequacy well and the questioning of my own abilities in this field when I started out. Every artist walks through those stages. I was the student once, taking classes and making all the same mistakes my students do today. I don't see my students ever failing, but their potential and what lies ahead, probably more than they ever do.
One of my favourite projects over the years was the creation and co-directorship of Illustration House Pty Ltd, a Visual Literacy Centre with adjacent Gallery and art school, training children, adults and teachers alike in art and visual literacy. I left the business due to the terminal illness of my late husband so that I could care for him until his passing in 2005.
I passionately held numerous roles within the arts industry, including presentations and lecturing of art business seminars and discussion rounds for emerging artists. Teaching became my main interest in 1999 at which time I stopped freelancing as an illustrator to teach art full time. I still operate as an art show judge and present talks in relation to artwork critiques, business skills and planning within the art sector.
In 2009, I was invited to join the board of the Regional Arts Development Fund Committee Gold Coast City Council. My role as a committee member involved making recommendations to Arts Queensland for the funding of emerging artists and art organisations and stayed in this position for over two years.
In 2003, I was nominated as Member of the selection panel for the Biennale Internazionale Dell'Arte Contemporanea organised by the World bank, UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Florence, Italy for the selection of Australian Artist.
On a personal level I have found utter joy and peace in my marriage to Deane, yes, the best husband in the world and through my three grown children, Tristan, Catharina and Marin and my eight year old granddaughter, Chelsea. My joy was completed with the powerful conversion to Christ in 2010, which directed my interest into missions and humanitarian work that is a now vital part of my life today.