AnneLawsonArt My art work

Snipping away at the hedge

My masterclass with Donna Watson, “Essence of Identity” has made me think about a number of things. I had just begun in the last post.

The first thing Donna asked us was to deepen my understanding who I am. I have written lists of personality traits, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses and words to describe my art. It is the beginning, to explore deeper, to find my own voice, my own artistic map.

A side note: One of the exercises was to think about what various words mean to you. One was hope. I realised I didn’t really understand the word. I glibly say “I hope you have a good day”, “I hope you get better”, “I hope the world can become a better place.” I wondered whether hope was another word for wishful thinking.

After some reading I now understand that hope is a powerful treasure. Hope implies that there is the possibility of a better future, a vague glimmer of something better. However, it is more than that. It is not just passive wishing, but motivates positive action. It is optimistic and courageous, and gives us confidence. We have hope, I never gave up hope, implying that hope is something you hold dearly. We loose hope and fall into despair.

It’s not delusional , it isn’t denial or pretending. To have hope is to acknowledge the truth of the situation while working to find the best way to cope. It is something to hold onto at all costs.

Meanwhile, back at the masterclass….. The end of this module was to create a self-portrait. I made a book, which itself was part of the portrait. I am very tactile, and love to be making, love to be using my hands, so folding the paper into the book was another part of who I am. Finding ways to express who I am was a good challenge. What would you put into in a self-portrait?

The next exploration was our sense of place, a place that has figured prominently in our lives. I needed to define what that meant for me, and came up with words like magical, safe, interesting, resonates; a place that expands me and allows me to be who I am meant to be.

My place is my home and garden. It nurtures me; it’s my creative space; it is where I have strong roots; it is my safe, secure space. The garden, while frustrating at times, is also a place to explore plants and to connect with nature.

Again our task was to create a representation of our space. This was hard. I found it so difficult to find a way to express in a physical/creative way all of what I feel. It is too complex to distill down into a few images. So instead of making another book I created a mind map.

My latest exploration has been into the design elements I respond to. Design elements are:

  • Colour
  • Value
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Pattern and mark making

Donna’s exercises and examples have helped me understand and sort through my ideas. Some things become much clearer. For example when I was a botanic artist I would start to understand my subject by doing a tonal drawing of it, and my colour matching was often skimpy. I am an artist who responds to value rather than colour, which is why I loved the tonal drawings and struggled at times with the colour. Looking at my photos I see that I am attracted to the highlights of colour and strong contrasts.

Now I also know that I am an artist who responds to organic shapes, rather than geometric ones. That I love texture, but I have always know that. However I have learnt that I think I prefer texture created within the work by using stitch or marks or lines, rather than added onto the work, like bits of lace. This is something to explore further, as I would like my collage and textile work to merge.

Last post I used the image of a hedge as a barrier in my way. I think I have begun to snip away at that hedge. I have hope that my artistic voice will be clearer on the other side.

I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.  I also acknowledge that this Wednesday, the anniversary of the day white settlers invaded Aboriginal land, is a traumatic day for many Aboriginal people. Their land was never ceded ~ Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

23 replies on “Snipping away at the hedge”

Interesting and thoughtful question, Kathy. i am by nature an optimist, so maybe looking on the sunny side of things makes me hold on to hope. I wonder if the unconditional love I have had all my life is another well. Am I right ~ and presumptive ~ to say that your religion gives you a deep well of hope?

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Unconditional love is such a source of strength isn’t it?! You are correct Anne to think that my faith is the source of my hope. Last winter I learned just how deep that “well” was, when DH was so sick. I truly did not have the strength on my own, though at the time, I was nearly to my breaking point. I can see now, how the Lord carried me, and too, the blessing that came from clinging to the hope I have in Him. It was rocky, but looking back, I see God working through it very clearly. ☺️

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That strength to carry on, that well of hope, what an amazing thing. I know what it ia like to deal with illness of the one you love, and I am so glad that you were able to have your faith to give you hope. ~hugs~

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The class is certainly encouraging me to go below the surface. I am curious to know how it will influence my art. Thanks for your remarks about the collage. It is made from the scrappy offcuts of other works, something you would appreciate!

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That sounds an amazing expedition of self-discovery as a prelude to creating. What a fabulous thing to do! Do keep sharing if you feel able to.

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It has been a great expedition so far. It will help me understand what appeal to me, and to be able to use that ti find my own direction. I am quite happy to continue to share, with the caution of not breaking Donna’s copyright.

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I am actually more interested in what you are learning about yourself and how that affects the art you create. I am fascinated by how creativity is encouraged and expressed.

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Thanks Laura. It has been the right exploration at the right time for me. I am happy to share, with the proviso of not giving away Donna’s material. The next modules come out on Friday ~ I can’t wait!

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Hey Anne, so glad to have found your blog! I have been on the hunt for fellow artists’ blogs to follow! I love how you are fueled by such a magical love of the natural world. “Delicate” drawings of natural objects, as I read on your front page (& saw some of) are so magical.


[…] Last time I mentioned my work I was still deep in the masterclass with Donna Watson. This last month or so has been a great time of exploration for me. I thank Donna for helping me understand that the deeper you go into your self the more reflective your art is. While the outer world has been shit, my inner world is bright and shiny! […]


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