Australian Fine Artist

The First Year – A Revue

I thought since I have a bit of time handy this morning that I’d write a bit about the first year studying full time and life in general as an art student.

At the beginning of this year, as we all made our way into the Frankston campus I was wondering what I was thinking going back to school full time. After working for nearly thirty years in the print/advertising/graphic arts industry and being made redundant in 2009 I was really totally burnt out.

It took me two years with a lot of medical help to bring myself to the point where I could do a couple of part time courses last year and do some contract work for a few graphics companies. When the work load got too heavy though I still found myself falling to bits and still unable to cope so again, why was I thinking I could study full time?

Well honestly, it came down to a few things. First, I was expected by Centrelink to apply for jobs that either were not there or I knew I was not up to anymore. Second, the economy was looking like it was not going to pick up for at least a couple of years so any business ideas for fine art were not going to take off in a hurry when people are hanging on to their discretionary spending money. Third, I dropped out of art school at the then Caulfield Institute in the 1970s and have regretted it ever since, so given all of the other factors, I thought it a good idea to take the time to get qualified and make sure that I had all the little bits of information about producing art covered. Fourth, A huge gut instinct to get back to my original “calling” to be a fine artist and to do it now.

My husband has been a great support in all of this and any friends I have had over the years were thrilled when I decided to get totally back to my fine art.

Because of them I can say that I have been able to apply myself as well as I have to this year’s efforts. It, however, still hasn’t been an easy year. First I discovered I had tendonitis in both Achilles tendons so have spent most of the year adjusting shoes and recovering to be able to walk, go up and down stairs and get to excursions without pain. Next came three very bad colds in a row. The second leaving me unable to breath for about four days and hanging on for several weeks of coughing and wheezing. Most recently came the death of my oldest and dearest friend who had been like a second mother to me. She was the last link back to my own mum and was very supportive of my fine art career. I have really felt the loss. A more minor loss, although still very upsetting,  in amongst all this was having to have my favourite pet cow put down a few months ago as she had cancer.

So as I said in a lot of ways a hard year. I am not sure if the work at school has been my saviour, but I am sure that the people in my life still around or not would expect me to do no less than my best so I have tried to make sure I didn’t disappoint them or myself.

With the end of this first year approaching I am now reflecting a bit on what has been achieved and what is to come.

Am I happy that I came back to school? Absolutely yes.

Has it been worth it? Yes.

Have I learnt anything? Yes, my life drawing skills have improved, my paintings are being produced more efficiently, I have been exposed to some new ideas, new artists and made some new friends.

Am I encouraged to keep going? Yes. In fact I am planning on going on to complete an advanced diploma if I can.

Right now I am compiling all of my work for presenting for assessment week. Even though several need to be completed, the stack building up shows some experimentation, learning of new techniques and refining of others plus a chance to try out some things like sculpting and printmaking that I would not have the opportunity to try in my own studio. Even this blog has been an expansion of my opportunities to write and publish.

So, approaching the end of my first year, I can now say I am confident in starting my second year of study and very much looking forward to it. I want to let my tutors know how much I appreciate their input and their patience with me. I especially want to thank all the students I have studied and socialised with for their friendship and kindness.

Whatever happens in the coming several weeks as we wind up the year, I know I have done my best and with any luck my results will reflect that. Thanks everyone!


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