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How journaling made me organised

By | Art, Disability
When I was a child and couldn’t find my shoes or some other possession, mum would tell me that she would not always be around to find things for me. That as a person who is blind, it was even more important that I was organised and put my things away where they belong.

Every time I can’t find my shoes, my keys (the list could go on for several pages), I hear mum’s voice in my head reminding me of the importance of being organised. My brother, who lives with me will also tell you that I am constantly buying tools, storage etc to help me be more organised. I still lose track of my keys, my purse, my damn shoes. And then, my saviour arrived at Art Mania.

Well, Bek has in fact been with us for the last twelve months, or close to it. If you haven’t met her, Bek is responsible for all of the social media Art Mania puts out to keep you all informed. She also makes it possible for you to read these posts that I write. I write a blog post, email it to Bek and she does the proofing and uploading for me.

Last year, Bek came up with the brilliant idea to run a series of workshops on journaling. The first of these workshops was held on Saturday at the Hunter Wetlands. This first one, was called Journaling for Organisation.

I just knew, if there was going to be a workshop I had to do this year, it would be this one. And I was right. By following the simple structure and methods that Bek taught us, I have been able to put everything on paper and break things down. I came up with step by step strategies that leave me feeling less out of control. I felt like I could breathe again.

What’s even better is that this Saturday, the next journaling workshop takes place at the Wetlands. And a week later is the last of the three. This second workshop is journaling for creativity. I love the idea that I will be able to get all my ideas out of my head and on paper.

I don’t know about other creative people, but personally, sometimes my brain feels so full of ideas I don’t know how to untangle them.

And hey, you get to play with stationary of all kinds. So all you stationary lovers will be in heaven.

The third workshop is Journaling for well being. One of the downsides of being a creative, is that you can so wrapped up in your creations, the simple, day to day things can slip the mind and get buried in the other incidental tasks of day to day life. I know when I am creating, I don’t look after myself as well as I could, or should. I can forget to eat, miss medication. It should be such a natural, instinctual thing to do, to take care of yourself, but this isn’t always the case.

Does any of this resonate for you? If so you really should come join us for the next two Saturdays. You will have so much fun and learn some really handy stuff for dealing with life. That way you can stop worrying about the little things and have more time for the fun stuff, like creating.

 

-Sam Ogilvie

SCULPT AND SIP NIGHT

By | Art

A few weekends ago saw the first of Art Mania’s new and popular pottery workshops.

On Saturday night, a group of energetic and excited women arrived at the studio for “sculpt and sip.”

Apart from myself, all were new to the Art Mania Studio experience.

Sip and Sculpt was an evening of wine, food and hand-building with clay.

Each of us were given a portion of clay and after Kristie demonstrated a few key techniques, we were told to go for it. To make whatever we imagined. The volume was high, the energy sparkling with possibility and the wine flowed. Everyone was keen to give hand-building a go.

There was bonding in collective creativity, the opportunity to have time out from partners and children and a general enjoyment of the night. 

Part way through the evening, the group broke for a chance to enjoy one of Fee’s legendary platters. There were four types of cheeses, fruit, salad vegetables, cold meat and crackers. Everyone tucked in and continued to laugh and chat. And of course, more wine was poured and sipped by all.

In the first half of the workshop, we were encouraged to get their pieces completed, ready for stage two, after the break. One of the advantages of the weather warming up, is that pieces will dry faster.

At the studio, we work with two different types of glazes. There are under glazes. These are the glazes used for your base coat. These glazes are matte and after firing, do not change. What you see on your piece, as you glaze, is the colour your piece will stay. The other kind are fantasy glazes. These will change colour after firing. They also contain small chunks of glass and crystal. These little pieces will melt on firing adding a gloss and shimmer to your piece. Under glazes are the only ones that can be applied before the first firing. This first firing is known as a bisque fire.

On Saturday night, the group was offered that chance to apply an under glaze to their pieces. Part of the workshop was this opportunity to under glaze their work and then have it fired. Once the firing is done, a clear glaze will be applied before a second, glaze firing, is done. In around six weeks, the members of the workshop will be able to come in and collect their completed work.

I have to confess, the group was just a little loud for me. I only have a small voice and I’ve learnt over the years that there are times that I am just not going to be able to be heard. This doesn’t bother me, I like the dynamic energy. The joy of people letting go and letting themselves see what will happen, what they can create. I can sit and create, let the conversation wash over me and enjoy the night. They were a great group and I hope everyone comes back and participates in some of our other workshops.

We’ve also just launched our fourth term program. Part of next term are more sip and sculpt workshops. We are also running a high tea!

This is my favourite time of the term. When the current term is about to wind up and the next term is shimmering and sparkling just out of reach.

I love to sit down and workout what I’d like to try in the coming up term. It’s a lot like Christmas for me. So please, check out what’s still left this term, you might be lucky enough to snag a spot. Check out next term’s offerings and find something you’re interested in. Or maybe something that will push you outside your comfort zone.

I hope to see you in class soon!

– Sam Ogilvie

Sneak Peak into Resin Sculpture

By | Art, Lifestyle

A FEW WORDS ABOUT RESIN SCULPTURE

 

Last Sunday saw the start of a new kind of workshop at Art Mania. Last Sunday and for the coming two Sundays, we are running a resin sculpture workshop. Given my love of resin and sculpture, I thought it was the workshop for me and thus far I’ve been correct. On the first day we designed on the design, or picture. The other key word in the title of the workshop was foreshore. I’ve not put this in my title, because we weren’t limited to Newcastle’s foreshore.

My scene is rockpools and beach surrounded on three sides by water. I think of it as either a headland or part of an island.

 

LET ME WALK YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS

 

To create this first section, we were all given a small bucket of putty. This was used to make rocks, reefs and other objects wanted by each individual in their scene. I of course ran out of putty before I’d finished creating all my rockpools. Lucky for me, a fellow creator and friend didn’t need all of her putty and was happy to give it to me.

Once the rocks and reefs were established, it was time to add the sand. This was where it got messy. Although for me I’d already made a mess by choosing to dig my putty out with my hands and digging in my fingers to give texture to my rocks.

For the whole group, the sand was the messiest part. We needed to mix the sand with glue. The idea was to make it wet enough to be able to manipulate, but not so wet that it couldn’t be sculpted.

The whole process was finished in around an hour, giving everyone an early mark from the first day. We were unable to move on from this step, as the sand and putty needed at least twenty four hours to dry.

A BEAUTIFUL THING CALLED UNIQUENESS

Walking around the room after everyone had gone, looking at each piece, there wasn’t a single piece the same as someone else’s. We had all put down totally unique foundations for our pieces. This is one of the things I love about creating. Even with the same instructions and same materials, you can still be completely unique because it’s also about what you personally bring to the creating table.

We were all sent home with the instructions to gather together any little bits and pieces we want to add next Sunday. Things like shells, fish etc. I’ve been hunting out little sea creatures I can add and gathering twigs for driftwood.

We all meet again this coming Sunday and I can’t wait to see what everyone does next.

 

– Sam Ogilvie

Featuring Lee-Anne Corrigan

By | Art, Virtual Gallery

Lee-Anne Corrigan is a Novocastrian Artist and Art teacher, who loves painting portraits and contemporary themes in oil, acrylic, pastel and mixed media.

Lee-Anne’s qualifications include Diploma in Art, Diploma in Education and Post Graduate art University of Newcastle.

She has worked full-time and part-time in Secondary and Tertiary Education since 1983 as an Art teacher and instructor and have taught Children’s Art classes since 1990. Lee-Anne also held a position of the Art Director at Society of Artists between 2016 and 2018. Presently you can find her working as the early childhood art educator at The Rumpus Room Early Childhood Centre.

She has been actively pursuing her passion for Art in competitions and exhibitions and have received awards from The Society of Artists, winning The Newcastle Prize for overall Best Painting in 2018 for her oil painting of Three Kings.

‘Princess Dreaming’ 

Oil on canvas, 75 x 61 cm, $550

Artist Statement: Children are often the subject of my artwork. I have always enjoyed teaching children at my home art studio since 1990. This painting is a whimsical composition depicting children at play as they explore dress up and dreams. It is inspired by Chagall, one of my favourite artists.

‘Encaustic Still-life’ 

2020, Mixed media and beeswax 31 x 25 cm, $120

Artist Statement: This year I have turned my home studio into an encaustic art studio for experimenting with hot wax painting as an extension of my interest in mixed media. My husband keeps bees and I make my own paint with beeswax and Damar resin. It’s an exciting medium to explore and blend with drawing, painting, collage and 3-D art forms.

‘Portrait of Kurt Fearnley’

2018, Oil on canvas 75x 61cm,  $550

Artist Statement: I painted Kurt’s portrait for the Portrait Painters Hunter annual portrait exhibition. I met Kurt while I was working as early childhood art educator at The Rumpus Room Childcare Centre.
Kurt Fearnley is a renowned Novocastrian and Australian wheelchair racer who won gold medals at the Paralympic Games. This portrait was voted People’s Choice in 2019.

‘Profile with a water pot’

2020, Pastel on colour-fix paper, 47x37cm, $160

Artist Statement: A profile photo from my travels to Uganda was the subject for this pastel portrait drawing. I love to teach portraits to my students and I made this one for a Zoom Art class during lockdown.

Introducing Samantha Ogilvie

By | Art, Virtual Gallery

How do you keep creative during lockdown?

 

I’ve been very lucky when it comes to lockdown. I’ve been able to continue one on one classes at Art Mania using Facetime. These sessions have been the highlight of my week and has given me something to look forward too, especially during a dark week.

 

I’ve found that it’s easier if I make sure I schedule in some creative time everyday.

 

It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, this weekend I’m cleaning up a clay bowl I made on the wheel. This involves shaving off outer layers of clay to clean and shape. I find the rapidity soothing and even meditative. Even just some colouring in will help stay creative. If you’re a parent, it would also help the family to try doing something creative together.

Who’s Samantha and what kind of art does she create?

Samantha Ogilvie has an advanced diploma in Professional writing and editing. She is a poet and blogger who has only recently come back to art.

She works with several different forms, styles and materials. Clay, mosaics, glass fusing, mixed media and painting. Most of her work is inspired by the natural world and attempts to show just what she can see, rather than focusing on what she can’t. Flora and fauna along with pieces that juxtapose the natural world with the artificial. All the materials Sam uses are chosen for their feel and texture.

 

Nightscape

Artist Statement: This painting is one of several created by the artist where different materials were used to create a textured view of a visual that is often taken for granted. As the artist is blind, the idea was to create something we all know, but from the unique point of view of someone who sees the world differently to the sighted. Rock salt was scattered over the canvas while the undercoat was still wet and more water sprayed over the salt. The salt that didn’t dissolved was shaken off or wet as part of the end piece. This has worked to create a visual representation of the artist’s tactile view. Other layers of paint has also been used to fill out this visual representation.

Landscape of the blind

Artist Statement: This painting was created using the same techniques as the previous painting. Rather than using salt, the artist has experimented with other materials. Glue was applied with a glue gun to make the surface of the painting uneven and textural. Once the under-coat of paint was applied, different colours of wax were dripped across the canvas. Again, it is created to try and give those the sighted world, a glimpse into what someone without sight can see and just how much their hands can actually see.

Lockdown Tatoo

Artist Statement: A shop mannequin consisting of torso and top of the thighs. Using multiple materials I wanted to create a piece that expressed the effects of isolation and the new landscape created by Covid-19. the collar hanging around the neck symbolises the loss of control over ones life and the enforcement of restrictions and rules. The leather over the shoulders and upper chest are an armour against the fear of the unknown. the tangle of thread over abdomen is the tangle of the gut when dealing with the new foreign world.

In contrast the torn up pieces of book pages covering the back is the power of words that has always been been available and the shells are the ebb and flow of the tides offering hope that things don’t last and there will be an end. The softest materials represent the softer underbelly in all of us. And the criss-cross materials are to represent the stitching of ones self back together.

Featuring Michelle Nugent

By | Art, Virtual Gallery

How do you keep creative during lockdown?

 

During lock down, I have been experimenting with new ideas, concepts and materials. I start my day with a twenty-minute exploration exercise, and each day I aim to try something different. It also challenges me to produce something in a limited amount of time, which is hard for me as I tend to overthink and dwell on an artwork. I then start my day, which has usually been working on commissions. Follow up with another twenty-minute exercise after lunch to break up my work and reignite my creative juices for the afternoon.

 

I think it is important that we allow ourselves the opportunity to experiment without judgement, and explore without limitations.

 

This is when growth occurs! If you are finding yourself struggling during lock down, I encourage you to try my twenty-minute exercise. Try something new; maybe you have always wanted to try palette knife painting, or use collage in a mixed media piece… It can be anything! Remember to set aside all judgement – it doesn’t need to be a masterpiece!

You might discover something really amazing…

Let’s learn a bit more about Michelle and her art

Michelle Nugent is a Newcastle-based artist, working across a range of mediums.

She produces both personal and commissioned works, for a variety of clients. Her works range from mixed media, watercolour and digital, and are available for purchase as prints and a selection of originals are also available. Michelle is constantly looking to the environment around her to gain inspiration and ideas for her explorative work, and is always seeking new ways to improve her practice.

Organic Exploration #04

Watercolour, Sharpie, and Chalk on 200gsm cold-press watercolour paper, 21cm x 29.7cm, $35.

Artist Statement: Organic Exploration #04 is a study of the basic principles and elements of art in the form of a mixed media work. I have layered different mediums to explore organic shapes and their relationship between rhythm, pattern, and line. The shapes drawn in pen and chalk suggest fluidity and a relationship to water in the organic environment, which correlates to the material used on the bottom layer (watercolour). When creating this work, I imagined water droplets hanging from the linear patterns, creating an overall sense of movement.

Digital Illustrations & Portraits

Digital Illustrations, custom, prices are as follows: 1 Person – $30, 2 people – $50, 3 people – $65, 4 people – $80, 5+ people – $100+. Note: Drawings are customised to each person, thus the exact ones in the images are not for sale and serve as an example.

Artist Statement: These portraits are completely customisable depending on requirements. Using a reference image, I create a character drawing of up to ten people. They are a great way to capture a moment in a fun and creative way. I can add in things that are representative of the particular person, such as wearing a jersey of their favourite team, playing an instrument etc. They make wonderful gifts and look great in a frame.

Meet Ashlee Jedrzejak

By | Art, Virtual Gallery

I must always create, it's who I am...
Creativity for me births the entangled
and chaotic words and feelings
entrapped in mind, body and soul.
It’s my voice - an infinite
wordlessness spoken to the universe.

Ashlee JedrzejakArtist | Art Teacher

Let’s learn a bit more about Ashlee and her art

Ashlee has completed an Advanced Diploma of Fine Art, at Newcastle Art School, and is a practicing artist and art teacher.

She has had a innate passion for creating art from a very young age. Loves experimenting and exploring with an array of different art materials, but particularly enjoys acrylic painting and drawing. Ashlee has an affinity to create with a kaleidoscopic pallet, and uses courageous mark making to produce energetic works of art that are very raw and playful. Her inspiration is magnetized from nature, and day to day experiences.

Ashlee is an immense believer in art, as a means of self expression, and finds the act of art making quite therapeutic and enlightening. She feels that it is an honourable experience to guide and teach others to this awareness.

‘Tide pool’ 

2020, Acrylic on canvas 51 x 61 cm, NFS

Artist Statement: Inspiration for ‘Tide Pool’ was drawn from the Carey hole in Newcastle, and also in a metaphorical sense it reflects the landscape of the mind. It portrays a treasure trove of marine delights, in a tiny yet complex ecosystem. It was fascinating to create this piece, explore and experience where these hardy inhabitants survive the pounding waves, forceful winds and exposure to the sun.

‘Enlightenment’

2018, Mixed media on board 45x 60cm,  $160

Artist Statement: My work ‘Enlightenment’ was created while pregnant with my second son, and in the depths of exploration of self. It reflects the childbearing woman, nourishment of breastfeeding, and the correlations between nature as a source of life and an inspiration for personal reflection and emotional growth.

‘Eye don’t know’

2019, Mixed media on board 30x45cm, $120

Artist Statement: ‘Eye don’t know’ was created and guided by intuition. The repetitive use of the third eye symbol is a reflection of self- what it is to be human and woman, and the connectedness to the universe. The gaze of the figure holds painful yearnings and love that is so potent and melancholy that it lingers. It’s a love that lunges forward in anticipation, but with nothing to meet it…

WHEN ART MEETS ECOSYSTEM

By | Art, Lifestyle

WHEN ART MEETS ECOSYSTEM

The beginning of the new year at Art Mania brings along with it some exciting news for our kids and teens. We have established a new class which will take place at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. This 8 week kids program combines the amazing natural world of fauna and flora with the incredible wellbeing and expression that art provides!

This partnership between Art Mania Studio and the Hunter Wetlands is a unique opportunity that has been brought into fruition by local artist and teens teacher, Ashlee Jedrzejak.

The classes will focus on the calming and relaxing aura of the wetlands, and how to use art as a mindfulness activity. Classes will focus on students slowing down and really enjoying the creative process.

Art is a harmony parallel with nature. – Paul Cezanne

Our teachers will encourage students to use the Wetlands vibrant ecosystem as a source of inspiration. They will then assist in turning this inspiration into a resolved piece of art. Students will experiment with a range of mediums and materials, giving them the opportunity to express themselves in many different forms.

As a haven for wildlife (and people), the wetlands are a vibrant ecosystem bursting with life. This thriving wildlife sanctuary allows the community to get close to nature and we at Art Mania Studio cannot wait to get our senses delighted by all the beauty the exploration of this special place will offer. 

 

KIDS ART SCHOOL AT HUNTER WETLANDS

8-WEEK BLOCK / SATURDAY starts 15 FEBRUARY / 9 – 10:30AM

The cost for the entire eight weeks is $265. Creative Kids vouchers are also redeemable through Art Mania Studio, and can be used to subsidise costs.

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

By | Art, Lifestyle

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

 

Something that comes from the earth, tactile, resulting in engaging in the creative brain which can be described as relaxing and therapeutic at the same time! When we work with clay, through hand-building or spinning clay on a wheel, our mind and body are in a state of synergy while being focused on the tactile process: the touch and the feel of soft clay between our fingers. 

The perfect mindfulness process to creating a door for your outside worries to fall away.

 

1. An outlet for ‘Self’ 

We all need an out from time to time! Too often than not, everyday life gets in the way of allowing us regular weekly time out to truly do something for ones’ self! There is a plethora of documented statistics, evidence based which demonstrate the importance for both physical and mental wellbeing, by engaging the creative brain. Pottery offers you an outlet for self!

2. The Brain’s Pleasure Centre

The brain produces many natural chemicals, dopamine is just one.  Dopamine affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain. When our sensors kick in with the tactile processes or  hand-building with clay or working on a pottery wheel… BINGO! The brains receptors kick in and you start to feel good, hence the term ‘Pleasure Centre’!

3. Improve focus

When the pleasure centre kicks in while working with clay or on a Pottery wheel, you will notice improvements in areas including: flow and spontaneity, reduction in grief related thoughts; assists with self-identification and self-expression while also bolstering confidence and self-esteem. Being able to fully focus with the combination of hand and brain engagement assist the mind in coping with everyday life.

4. Reduces stress

 Our hands can be the answer to the reduction in stress, depression and anxiety! The importance of touch opens the flood gates to the pleasure centre.  Think about it…! Our hands can be the perfect outlet for creativity and focus; therefore outside distractions and influences are reduced to allow you time for ‘self’.

5. Helps reduce pain and discomfort

The movement of working with clay and creating on the pottery wheel is gentle yet strengthening to the hands, wrists, and arms. This can be beneficial to those prone to arthritis in the hands, as it promotes joint movement and dexterity. It’s common knowledge ‘stress’ can lead to feeling sensations of pain and discomfort. Creative hobbies – pottery is known for reducing stress and boosting self-esteem! It’s the natural chemical released in the brain which alleviates pain receptors while working with clay!

So tap into your pleasure centre, and get your clay on at Art Mania Studio’s fantastic welcoming studio space!

UPCOMING POTTERY CLASSES

Why enrol your child at Art Mania?

By | Art, Lifestyle

Creative Kids Voucher

Do you remember the look of pride and joy in your child’s eyes when you put their first piece of artwork onto the fridge? Remember the sounds of excitement and enthusiasm as texta’s or pencils scattered across the kitchen table as they decided to start their next creative project?

Recapture that excitement and pride by taking advantage of the $100 Creative Kids vouchers! Kids are taken on the most amazing journey over a term here at Art Mania Studio, they visibly blossom as their skills improve and their perspective on what’s possible widens.

Creativity is a foundational key to life. Kids shine and the ripple effect can be seen across every area of their life.

Art Mania Studio offers their After School Development Program for kids (age 5-12) and teens (age 13-18), to make sure that every child who wants to get creative, can! Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-5:30pm for 10 weeks of term is when it’s on! Weekdays no good for your family? The Krafty Kids Sat morning class also runs for the 10 weeks of term and gives an equal opportunity for growth and creative expression. These classes are a fantastic way for your child to delve into the creative world, and explore a variety of methods and techniques each week.

As parents and caregivers, there are a million different activities you can register your child for. So why should you choose to enrol your child at Art Mania?

  • Creativity is for every child (and adult!). It isn’t about having a special inclination towards being artistic; it’s not about how talented you are; it’s not even about whether or not you like your own work. Skills and techniques can be learned (just like riding a bike!), under the guidance of our wonderful tutors. Being creative has its own benefits – benefits that are just as important as those your child might get from team sports or similar.
  • Did you know that encouraging creativity in children encourages concentration, critical thinking and problem solving? Our classes engage participants in receiving and giving feedback – an essential social skill. Also, being creative helps your child learn to express themselves in different ways – this is a particular benefit for teens and preteens!

One thing that is so important is helping your child find their niche in life. The way of the world is changing and learning to use different parts of the brain will help your child in managing the demands of living in contemporary society and finding creative solutions to what life throws at them.

Our after school and weekend programs at Art Mania are a safe, fun space for your child or teen to really experience the world of art. They’ll explore different techniques and artists each week, with practical experience at the heart of each session.

Every child deserves the gift of creativity and expression.

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE KIDS VOUCHER

AVAILABLE KIDS & TEEN CLASSES