Who’s cheering you on? And are you backing them too?

 

Holmfirth Artweek

This week it’s Holmfirth Art Week, a huge festival locally that has raised almost £1Million in funds for Macmillan Cancer and has been going since 1967.

It attracts 400 exhibiting artists, over 2000 pieces of artwork and approximately 10,000 visitors and spreads out from the Civic Hall, where the main exhibition is, to 32 fringe venues across the centre of Holmfirth, bringing a creative buzz to the picturesque town.

Shelley Art group (that I’m part of) were lucky to be invited to use the Market Hall as part of the fringe festival again so we’ve all been busy prepping new Artwork to exhibit and wares to sell on our tables.

It’s a busy time of year for all involved and this year felt particularly rushed and challenging due to me having a current eye virus that isn’t going away any time soon, much to my annoyance! It’s made it difficult to paint for long periods of time, it’s very sore!

7CA7C80C-860B-427E-9544-6E5CC1ACF528 - Copy

My pictures all up ready for Holmfirth Art Week!

However, what I want to really talk to you about and ask this week is; Who is on your team as a creative? Do you cheer them back and acknowledge their support? Or do you feel you’re not getting enough support and want to build a team to give you the best chance and gain confidence?

Let me explain with just my ‘Art’ hobby as an example. Two and a half years ago, I didn’t ‘do art’ as such, I doodled now and again but nothing of any substance and I certainly didn’t sit down to have a go properly at home.

All that changed when I got chatting to a friend, Fiona, (we’ll call her Team Member (TM) no.1).

She was part of Shelley Art Group and a committee member and encouraged me to go along. I had big reservations and was a bundle of nerves on that first night, see ‘Art’ for that story….and although the rest of the members were ridiculously talented, it didn’t matter, because they welcomed me in and have given me golden snippets of advice ever since, we’ll call them Team Member no 2, as there are many in the group!

IMG_4128 (1) - Copy          IMG_4129 (1) - Copy

Just two of the very talented members of Shelley Art Group, Kathryn and Sybil

Next came the demonstrators, amazing artists like Pippa Ashworth, Paul Talbot-Greaves and John Harrison to name but a few who taught me brand new skills (I was never trained in Art) and ways of looking at things and different materials to try. Their passion shone through too and inspired me to try new things = TMs 3.

IMG_4352 - Copy

John Harrison giving us some perspective on perspective! This was so tricky!

As I slowly developed and improved, so did the compliments from family (TMs 4); my husband’s sage nodding graduated to ‘Yeah that’s not bad’ and eventually ‘I prefer that one’ – If you knew him you’d know this is high praise indeed! And he stopped shaking his head when paintings appeared on our walls!

Thankfully my kids are a bit more effervescent and are my biggest fans.

This is my daughter’s favourite picture on the left below as it ‘looks exactly like the path to the woods’ and I’m not allowed to sell it!, and my son’s favourite picture is the Staithes village one on the right.

IMG_4192 (1) - Copy          Staithes Village painting

He likes art too and this week has decided he wants to do Abstract Art, and this is the result – watch this space he now wants to set up an Instagram account over the Summer with posts of his Art!

IMG_6106

Pretty cool for an 11 year old!

Other experts then joined my Team (TMs 5), the staff at Calder Graphic’s in Huddersfield, advising me on paints, pens, brushes and paper – I didn’t have a clue! They also do great demo events too, bonus!

calder art supplies store

TMs 6, are my customers, just a few at the first group exhibition I tried, and I was thrilled when a stranger bought a painting, my first true sale!

IMG_3171 - Copy

That first sale, I never thought it would be my little rainbow tree!

This year I sold almost £200 worth of work at the group’s exhibition, (slightly ecstatic about that!) which shows just how far I’ve come and that experimenting in different styles is paying off.

Also my long suffering friends (TMs 7), which I’d bombarded with photos of my pictures, were cheering me on from the side-lines and coming along to see my work, boosting my confidence and enabling me to start taking it all a bit more seriously, maybe I could do something with this?

8B7BFE60-08EA-4BA0-A06F-C041860652C2 (1) - Copy

My angel squad put up with a lot of picture bombardment!

By the first Holmfirth Art Week we attended last year, I dared to have some of my artwork made into printed cards, not having a clue what would look good; border or no border, portrait or landscape –  here came in Jean from Holmfirth Colour Print to the rescue, with her years of experience, she transformed my pictures into professional looking cards, with titles and contact information on the back too – they looked brilliant! I’ll never forget that first collection – I could now officially play shop, even the husband was impressed!

IMG_6102 - Copy

Jean to the rescue, so glad she’s on my team!

Jean (TM8 of course), continues to print all my cards and larger prints and she does an amazing job, I even created a personal Christmas card this year and got her to print that too!

Which then brings me on to my sellers (TMs 9) – Firstly Liz, at The Watering Can. On a whim one blustery day I took my cards up to her newly opened florist and dared to ask to sell my cards in her shop (I am rubbish at sales talk btw). Thankfully she agreed as she loved them and continues to sell them now, the perfect accompaniment to her gorgeous bouquets and plants!

My bird collection on display at Miriams and available to buy!

And now I have a second seller! Miriam, an inspiring lady who hosts my writing workshops and WOW Wednesday group at her lovely community café, who supplies me with many lattes and lunches, great chat and brunches (there’s a poem in that I’m sure!) – much needed fuel for creatives, and now sells my ‘Bird Collection’ cards too.

Next up, key Team Member (10!), is Chris from Springfield Hobbies, in Denby Dale – a life-saver local business in framing and stringing pictures and finding the perfect mount too to use on my pictures – the difference it makes is huge and such good value for money!

4B41AD6F-B81B-4839-BA08-57FEE62E9B6F - Copy   58E93F4C-FCB6-4678-90F6-653535627634 - Copy

What a difference a decent mount makes! Thanks Chris!

And finally my star striker (Shirt 11), is my accountability buddy Clair, who’s been instrumental on all my paths this year (writing especially, and there’s a whole other squad for that mountain I’m climbing!).

Clair works for herself as a social media manager @asocialnature  and we set up this accountability idea between ourselves, to basically make sure we stopped talking and start doing!

Thankfully, it’s working, as each Friday we reel off on text all that we’ve accomplished that week and tell each other they’re doing great!

This may sound a tad cheesy but not only does it help us to reflect on the week, rather than getting lost in the detail but it also serves us well creating a list for the end of the year to fully look back on and see what we’ve achieved.

And of course this then extended into the idea of WOW Wednesday’s (our bi-monthly community accountability group) which is working so incredibly well I can’t stop grinning or talking about it and now we have a whole extra team (17 people in total so far attending after just 3 meetings!) supporting and cheering us and everybody else on! (Probably the loudest members of my team, in a good way! TMs12)

So as you can see the point I’m getting to is that in just this relatively short artistic journey of a few years, there are literally at least a 100 people helping me along in all kinds of aspects that are essential for me to be able to do what I do, especially if you also factor in artists I follow on social media and my followers too who send me lovely comments

Yes, it is me that creates the designs and produces the artwork, but without Chris and Jean and Calder Graphics, they wouldn’t look as good.

Without my supporters, followers, sellers and accountability buddy believing in me and liking my work, I could easily have given up and not had the courage to put myself out there and dare to call myself a ‘newbie artist’ (I think it will be at least another 10 years before I can say just ‘artist’ but that seems to be the norm!).

Without my family supporting me with childcare , I couldn’t have gone to art club or set up at exhibitions and my husband may have moved out over lack of table space and living in a virtual gallery surrounded by pictures he’s mostly unsure of!

And most importantly, without Fiona encouraging me to go to Shelley Art Group, me feeling very welcome there, and learning from the immensely talented members, this journey wouldn’t have even begun in the first place, and what a journey I would have missed out on.

These days I can’t believe I haven’t taken art up sooner, if only I’d known its restorative powers and realised the true gift of creating something from scratch with just an idea and materials and what joy that would bring.

Nothing, is more meditative, absorbing and truly relaxing for me. It is the only thing, (other than perhaps reading a gripping story) that can switch off my energetic brain and in a world that is crazy busy and never still; it’s a magical and much needed find.

So, my advice is this:

  • if you are wanting to try and start a creative hobby, look for your team. Start slowly, ask questions and you will find those key members that will lead you to the next step and to build connections.
  • Do your research well; seek the clubs, the Instagram accounts, your friend’s cousin’s talented brother, the YouTube videos that can teach you new skills without even leaving the house – they are all vital ingredients to become the best you can be at your chosen craft!
  • Further down the line, when you’ve gained the skills and confidence, hunt the opportunities, dare to share and you’ll find a whole other new audience to join your team and before you know it you’ll have a mini tribe who appreciate your efforts and like and follow what you do.

And so, as our group enjoys getting together and being a part of Holmfirth Art Week, connected by their passion and love for what they do, I want to say a huge thank you to all those who have been a part of my art journey, and will continue to be.

I’m still at the very beginning, still got an awful lot to learn, still very much a newbie but I’m enjoying every new direction it is taking me and will be forever grateful of this whole inspiring, arty world I’ve discovered.

I wish you well with your journey’s too, and if you’re at the very beginning, I hope this has helped and encouraged you to find your biggest supporters, teachers and advisers – and remember –

We rise by lifting others, so make sure you back your team members too.

Do let me know in the comments below how you get on and Good Luck!!

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Ps Incase you are wondering the main picture is me holding up my team above and shinin a light on them! A particularly dodgey art piece by me but remember the fun is in the process, and who doesn’t like paintings rainbows?!

PPs Whilst I haven’t mentioned any podcasts above (shock or what?!) because they don’t directly link with my art work, they are of course still important on this creative journey in general. This week Holly Tucker talks to another favourite woman I admire who also multi-tasks between lots of creative projects – Fearne Cotton – it is well worth a listen on ‘Conversations of Inspiration!’

Myself, Clair and Miriam are going to the live version of the podcast in Manchester next week, I CANNOT wait and will be reporting back!

3 Comments on “Who’s cheering you on? And are you backing them too?

  1. I love this! (And not just because I get a mention)….
    It made me quite emotional – you are so right, it’s all about finding your tribe who share your goals and cheer you on (and occasionally give a shove in the right direction).
    Thanks for being such a great team member for so many people!

    Like

  2. Lovely blog. I don’t know what I’d do without my cheerleaders!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: