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    Category Archives: women in art

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    Meeting deadlines with kids underfoot


    By Jasmine Mansbridge

    Picasso once said that; “our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”. I don’t imagine Picasso frantically making kids lunches, rushing to get out the door by eight in the morning, so he could then get back to his studio to paint in a three hour time frame, but I do like this quote as there were never truer words spoken. Basically if you add raising children to any plan that’s when the challenges truly begin.

    Deadline stress is unavoidable and it seems that kids have inbuilt sensors which make them difficult when you least want them to be. So considering how to best manage your family as well as your creative work commitments will help you achieve maximum output with minimal stress.

    I am a painter and a mother of four children, aged 3 to 17 years of age (with a baby due any day). So I have a broad range of needs to work around. I try and avoid overloading myself with commitments, but when an important date looms (for me that is usually an exhibition), there are things I do to make life easier for myself and my family.

    I don’t recommend making a life out of living this way though. Seasons of work, and then rest, benefit everybody in a family. The wheels would come off my wagon if I did the things I am about to suggest all of the time. But, here goes: some things that work for me when facing deadlines with my business.


    Simplify your wardrobe.

    Get a “uniform”. Mine for a while now has been black converse shoes, jeans and simple T shirts. I just add a jacket or scarf if its cold. This means dressing requires little thought in the mornings and I can get ready in about ten minutes. I save dressing the way I want for weekends and when I am going somewhere “nice”! This also goes for hair, whats happening up there? If it takes you a half hour to dry and straighten it, maybe try a messy bun when you’re flat out. You don’t have to look unkempt, but streamlining your weekday wear will ease you into a busy day and give you time for other stuff.

    Plan simple food.

    I generally think about food for the week on a Sunday afternoon. Although I am not a menu planning/spreadsheet kind of girl, a little thought and a quick shop will make a big difference to your meal time stress levels for the week. When I mean simple food, I mean things such as one pot dinners like roasts and pastas. Children can get involved in making food which is also a great help. Lazy meals like soups with bread or slow cooked meals means you can put them on and forget about them until its time to eat.



    Fill the fridge with fresh, easy to use ingredients.

    When it comes to kids snacks, I cut back on baking and other foods that are time consuming to make. Instead I buy tubs of natural yoghurt and hommus, then for easy morning and afternoon teas I just have to add fruit or muesli to the yoghurt, or savoury biscuits, carrots and celery to the hommus. This keeps everyone full and healthy, without lots of preparation. It will stop you having to resort to the convenience of take away and it also saves money.

    Negotiate with your partner/husband to share or take over bedtime and other household duties.

    For example, when I am busy painting I can get so much more done if I can at least share the kids bedtime routine. If I can start working straight after dinner at night, I find that I have a lot more energy to paint and I am a lot more productive. If I wait until the kids are down for the night, I find it so much harder to restart my energy flow. Also, negotiate for weekend working time. My husband is really good at helping me get over the line when I am busy, but it does take good communication and verbalising your needs for this to happen. It is also about give and take, so be prepared for some compromise. When my husband is busy with his own work, I do of course try and pick up the slack and do the same for him.

    Have an “in bed” and “out of bed” time for yourself!

    When I am painting late into the night, I usually get a second wind at about eleven o’clock, even though I might have been exhausted at nine. So, I make myself go to bed by 12:30pm. The times I have broken this rule and stayed up half the night, I have paid for it by being very weary the next day and then I am not able to work the following night. I really have to be out of bed by seven to get everyone ready for school and to be prepared for the day ahead, so sleeping in is an impossibility. I seem to be able to function pretty well on seven or so hours sleep, so my set hours work for me, (though its still a commitment to work long hours). Work out what works for you and try to stick to it. To keep a bit of balance, I usually give myself a night off on a weekend, to watch a movie or do something with my husband.

    Get a cleaner in on a regular basis, at least once a fortnight if you can.

    If you have a busy life, this is probably my number one de-stressing tip! Having a cleaner won’t mean you don’t have to do housework, but it does ease the pressure on your household while you go AWOL into your creative workaholic zone. If you are worried about the cost of a cleaner, try tallying what you might spend on coffee, wine, or other extras, and all of a sudden a cleaner may seem cheap, (but be warned they are equally addictive).

    Source some kind of childcare.

    Childcare is a tough one I know, and it can be expensive, especially if your not making any money up front from your creative work. I have had different help at different times. My mother in law is wonderful and has had my youngest children many times when I have a deadline to meet. But mostly I have had to just work with my kids around (not ideal, but necessary at times). I have also paid my teenage children’s friends and other friends to play with and entertain my small children, (picnics or games in the back yard work for a couple of hours). I have used occasional childcare, in the form of two hour sessions available at my local gym. It does take focus to switch in and out of creative mode so quickly and work when you have limited time or you are sharing your head space, but it is better than no time to work at all.

    Try and find creative ways to let your children work alongside of you, some of the time.

    In my studio I have a couple of tubs of basic crafting materials. Pencils, colouring books, glue etc… My children don’t find me painting that exciting, as they are used to seeing me do it on a daily basis. This means they are happy to take up a corner (or half the studio) with their activities while I paint. Age is obviously a consideration, but stick some tunes on and you might get an hour or so of work done and they will get to use their own imaginations. It does take patience and tolerance and a certain kind of head space to make this work for you. If you have a deadline though, a couple of hours will be invaluable. If you are stuck for ideas, the internet is full of age appropriate kids activities, so get Googling!


    Don’t take it all to seriously.

    This is my last tip, and its because it’s probably the most important. While on the one hand it takes a hell of an effort and consistent commitment to pursue creative success and also raise a happy family, on the other hand , your family will always be your greatest measure of success. So, if you’re having a day when you feel like you are banging your head against a wall and getting nowhere, or if you feel tired, frustrated and worn out, then the best thing you can probably do it take a deep breath, call a friend and head to the park or the beach, or somewhere that is not at home or your studio for a few hours! When I do do this I come home recharged and refreshed, my tank full again. Remember being a creative person should be fun! (at least most of the time).

    Jasmine Mansbridge is a painter and mum to four (almost five) kids. She regularly blogs about the intersection of creative work and family life at www.jasminemansbridge.com, and you can also find her on Instagram @jasminemansbridge.

    {All photos by Jasmine Mansbridge}

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, guest blog, women in art | Comments Off
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    Bushfire recovery effort: Tea towels from Cloth’s Julie Paterson

    We’ve all seen on the news the devastation the recent fires throughout New South Wales have caused. But it’s closer to home – literally – for former CWC speaker Julie Paterson of Cloth.


    Julie is an active advocate for animal welfare and is also an ambassador for The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife. In recent weeks her home in the Blue Mountains has been spared destruction, but many of her neighbour’s properties and the surrounding wilderness have unfortunately not been so lucky. Her partner Amanda wrote this blog post describing the decision to leave their home and the haunting return days later.

    To help raise funds for the recovery effort, Julie has put her creative hands to work and is selling a range of limited edition, 100% linen, hand screen printed tea towels through her website. There will be a few designs, and the first ‘Banksia’ (pictured below) is based on an original lino cut.

    The tea towels are $38.00 and funds will go to The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife to be distributed where they are needed most.





    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: community support, women in art | Comments Off
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    Fluoro-pop: The art of Rowena Martinich

    By Liz Banks-Anderson


    You’ve probably walked past one and the sight has demanded a second glance. Rowena Martinich describes her art works as “fluoro-pop abstract expressionism.” Visually, they are vibrant, striking and bright and are a welcome sight in the tedium of a grey Melbourne Winter.

    Rowena is an artist whose use of colour in the transient, everyday space has become a signature. Her work is often displayed in the spaces of the everyday to challenge the notion that ‘art’ can only exist within the conventional gallery space.

    The everyday settings of Rowena’s works add to their immersive nature, capturing all of your attention.

    Martinich calls herself ‘an abstract expressionist with a difference.’ While her work is sometimes displayed in an art gallery she is more likely to transform through her use of colour an unconventional display space such as a retail store front.

    Rowena says the idea of displaying artwork strictly within the gallery system is very limiting both for the audience and the artist. Instead, she is inspired by architecture and interiors, which strongly influence her artwork and how it can fit into that scenario.

    “I feel that art should be accessible and enriching, so making it public is the first step. I also love the idea of transforming people’s experience of a space simply by adding expressive layers of colour,” she says.

    Rowena believes that everyday spaces are often not given a second glance until an ‘intervention’ of some kind, viewing her artwork as an “activator of urban space, particularly transient spaces, often passed through without a moment of thought.”

    “Through my work one can experience the everyday, but differently. What may ordinarily be an empty interval  – a non-experience in passing from one place to another – can be altered by the experience of walking through or past one of my works,” says Rowena.

    There is something very free, fluid and natural about Rowena’s work. It captures a boundless creative energy. The artist processes a myriad of thoughts during the creative process. 

”When I am deeply focused on a work, I am in my own world of problem solving, specifically balancing the painting, its layers and colour compositions.”

    Rowena works with acrylic on canvas, colour-fast acrylic for exterior public works and acrylic on vinyl adhered onto glass for window installations.

    “Most of my painting is done with large brushes these days, however I have been known to use mops and brooms to create extra large brush strokes on public works, as well as chemical sprayers for a splattery effect.

    “I build up layers of colours, starting with large areas of block colour then gradually add layers of dripping colour. With each layer I need to be sure that the one below is dry enough that the colours will not mix. I also ensure the paint retains the perfect consistency so it doesn’t run too quickly, or isn’t too thick that it won’t run at all. I also try and take regular breaks in the fresh air!” she says.

    Rowena has bold hopes and dreams for the future and these inspire her to create. Key among these include painting a trackside marquee for the Melbourne Racing Carnival and a fashion collaboration comprising beachwear and surfboards.

    Most of all however, the acknowledgement of her work is her greatest inspiration. Rowena says she loves how art allows her to interact with the public, especially when working onsite on murals. 

“Even without a shared language, I have found that art can enable exchange and break down any cross-cultural barriers.”


    Liz is a communications professional and freelance writer from Melbourne. Inspired by the city’s artistic endeavours she likes taking photographs, exploring the design world and has developed a great interest in all things art. Passionate about documenting and sharing the unique projects, people and possibilities in the creative community, Liz is excited by what lies ahead. Liz’s own blog will be launched soon…In the meantime, she’s happy being a twit.

    Posted by: liz
    Categories: regular columns, women in art | Comments Off
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    Women in Art: Press photography – then & now

    By Liz Banks-Anderson

    Recently I attended ‘ Press Photography: then & now’, where Photographer and Bowness Photography Prize People’s Choice Award Winner (2010) Melanie Faith Dove discussed with fellow photojournalist Bruce Postle their experiences of working as professional photographers for The Age and how photo journalism has changed in the last fifty to sixty years.

    Photojournalists manage to capture in one image many things. These can include the subtleties of emotions and relationships between people, moments of grief and hardship or political statements. Moments in life that can define an era, in one single shot. In an age where anyone can take a camera or their smartphone and press ‘capture’, the mark of a true photo journalist is an image that is truthful in its spontaneity and resulting authenticity.

    The images shared at the talk provided insight into a world past and shed light on issues we continue to confront in the present and will become all the more significant in the future.

    Melanie’s work comprises press photography as well as feature work and portraiture, book and magazine covers, to photo essays and news features.. She says to be a photographer, “…you almost have to be a bit nuts.”

    Charlie Lovick heads his cattle across the Howqua River in the Howqua Historic Hills Area in Mansfield State Forest Victoria on Fri 30th November.  Photo: Copyright Melanie Faith Dove

    Charlie Lovick heads his cattle across the Howqua River in the Howqua Historic Hills Area in Mansfield State Forest Victoria on Fri 30th November.
    Photo: Copyright Melanie Faith Dove

    Throughout the talk, each photographer shared images from their portfolio that displayed different elements of artistry, be it theatrical, realistic, political or pure fun.

    In additon, both Melanie and Bruce offered their perspective on a dynamically changing industry, transformed by new media, digital technologies and the advent of the 24/7 news cycle. They shared the view that in an age flooded by user-generated images, the role of the photojournalist is important “…in shining a light on issues that need to be explored, exposed or preserved for now and future generations. They assist in educating the broader public and perhaps bring about transparency and change,” says Melanie.

    The impact of technological advancements on the industry and its work practices has been transformative. With the help of an iPad or the smart phone, press photography is now more accessible to the reader than ever before. But accompanying these new technologies is also the expectation for the professional photographer to be ‘jack of all trades.’ Press photographers can work remotely, with jobs being emailed to them, resulting in, to a degree, a loss of camaraderie and sharing and learning from each other. Melanie says that this has been addressed in part by developing networks elsewhere.

    However, new technologies have meant new opportunities as well, producing a variety of images for different purposes, such as online galleries.

    What became clear is that behind each photographer’s method, as well as obvious talent, is an element of serendipity. Stumbling upon the perfect shot was all in the timing with stories ‘coming out of left-field.’ There is also an element of self-determination in seeking the perfect image, by placing yourself in the right place at the right time, “I have often given myself jobs, because I want to see and experience things,” said Melanie.

    More information about Melanie Faith Dove and her portfolio can be found at her website, and an exhibition of Bruce Postle’s work entitled Image Maker is at the Monash Gallery of Art until June 30.

    Liz is a communications professional and freelance writer from Melbourne. Liz’s own blog will be launched soon…In the meantime, she’s happy being a twit.

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    Posted by: liz
    Categories: regular columns, women in art | Comments Off