Whenever the end of the year rolls around, I like to take a moment to appreciate some good things from it (otherwise it all seems to just pass me by!) and also think about what next year might bring.
There’s something about this period between Christmas and New Years that feels like it’s meant to be a moment to pause and reset. I quite enjoy the feeling of setting intentions, whilst avoiding making huge unachievable goals…as this pretty much never works!
2022 was a strange one. There were many lovely and good things, but also a lot of sadness both in my local community (flooding, financial hardships, changes in health) and also globally (covid, wars, climate crisis etc.).
Here, I’m making a list of 10 good things (mostly art related) that personally made this year special and that I don’t want to forget.
- Naturopolis was Published 🌿
I’ve done a few book projects for friends who self published in the past, but Naturopolis was the first time being approached by a publisher to do a book, which was very exciting! I worked on the illustrations for about 7 months in 2021, then handed them over to the publisher in January of this year. 7 months later, Naturopolis was out in the world!
It’s been surreal finding it in book stores, libraries and friend’s bookshelves (oo also in Gardening Australian Magazine)! I feel so lucky to have worked with Deb, Sam and Mardi on this project – they were so professional and passionate. Throughout the project I felt that I could absolutely trust each person in the process to make this book the best it could be.
2. New Farm Confectionery Chocolate Boxes 🌸
This again was a project I worked on in 2021, but was released this year. It’s always been a dream of mine to work on chocolate packaging, so I couldn’t believe my luck when NFC approached me out of the blue!
The series features watercolour illustrations of species of birdlife, flora and bright colours for the box bands.
3. Stuartholme Mural 🖌️
I had the pleasure of working on a mural for the Stuartholme art department with help from the year 11 class. Scale wise this was a big one for me! It was about the same area as the BCC mural I did a few years ago, but this time with the added challenge of doorframes, windows and brick (and also coming up with a design that year 11s would be able to help with install wise). It’s a bit different from what I usually do with watercolours, but overall I’m really happy with how it all turned out and adds such fun colours to the art department.
4. Travelling to Sydney for Finders Keepers 🚗
This was the first time I’ve ever travelled interstate for art related work. I was quite nervous to be honest as we had to cart down my entire market set up (this all somehow fit inside my Honda jazz!) make back the market fee & travel expenses, and also brave Sydney city driving. Luckily my partner was able to come with me, and he’s a much better driver than me!
It was so much fun! I think because all the prep was done in advance, it ended up feeling more like a holiday than work. Once the stall was set up I really enjoyed meeting new people, exploring Sydney at night, making friends with my market neighbours and having fun in a new city. We made back our expenses and a little profit, but I’d say the main reason this was worth it was the adventure and new community!
5. Fungi Calendar 🍄
This year I worked on a series of fungi themed artworks for the yearly wall calendar. The research component of this was very enjoyable. Fungi is something I have always been interested in, but had never taken the time to properly learn about until this project. I’ve been stoked to see how people have responded to the project as well as being able to meet fellow fungi fans!
6. Markets and Community 🛍️
This year I decided to focus on in person events and markets (so getting away from social media…I think we were all a bit sick of that after covid!). I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Brisbane more, meeting fellow stallholders and making new friends.
One of my favourite things about painting local wildlife, is that a lot of amazing people approach me at markets who have stories to share about their encounters with the things I’ve painted. I’ve met wildlife carers, researchers, vets, artists and photographers all with the most incredible tales. A big one is always the Bush Stone-Curlews – Brisbane folks have so many fun curlew stories!
As much as I’ve loved markets, being a massive introvert I am feeling a little burnt out by it all, so in the new year I’m going to take a solid break before getting back into it again.
7. Art Teacher Aide 🎨
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity this year to work as an Art Teacher Aide in two high schools. This has been such a fun role and I’m looking forward to doing more of it in the new year. I love getting to see kids being creative, exploring and just having fun with all the ways you can make art.
Last year I damaged my hand from painting too much (oops!) and my physio told me I needed to have multiple days off painting if I wanted it to get better. This has meant re-evaluating how I approach my career as an artist, as I don’t feel my hand can take it painting full time. It’s been so nice to find another art related role that means I can take some time off illustration, whilst still working within the arts, so I am very grateful for this!
8. Biome Windows 🪟
Beautiful Biome have once again let me adorn their windows which is always such fun! I was able to do up the Paddington window in the lead up to Naturopolis launching there, as well as their Indooroopilly windows for Christmas.
9. Working on a Music Video 🎵
This was a sweet little project that came up right towards the end of the year (and hasn’t been released yet so I can’t share too much on it!). It was absolutely the perfect way to finish the year – the client was so lovely to work with, and the illustration work was exactly the kind of content I love making. I also loved working in a new format (video!) and expanding my skills!
10. Visiting the Reef 🐠
Not exactly art related but I’m hoping this visit can inform some future works! We were very lucky to be able to visit the Great Barrier Reef as a family in the summer. It was magic!
So, going into the New Year, some intentions, projects and practical steps I’d like to take:
- taking care of my body (especially my hand) when working (which means for painting, working in a more ‘part-time’ capacity so I give my body time to heal between sessions)
- doing some self initiated projects that can expand my portfolio and also that bring me joy!
- spending time in nature, gathering inspiration and also finding rest there
- working towards my exhibition in April at Mary Cairncross discovery centre
- creating a new body of work for the calendar and shop products – I think the theme will be pollinators!
- educating myself on how to be a better illustrator, making sure to charge fairly and support other artists and illustrators in the industry
- setting up tools (eg. automated email replies, accounting software) to improve workflow and make admin take up less time 😆
And I think that’ll do for now! Happy new year to you all, let’s hope 2023 treats us all well 🌷