Monday, September 13, 2010

beginnings (part two)

 My arty background starts with - part one... now here's the second installment....

Quick quiz..... How many of my aussie arty friends have had a stab an Australia Council or NAVA or alternative art grant?....

mixed media collage

In 1996, feeling full of moxie after staging my first solo exhibition, collecting my Diploma of Western Calligraphy, ASC Guild Membership, and some international calligraphic kudos (not to mention an impending divorce), I thought I'd have a looksee at some of them there grant thing-a-me-jigs.....

wow - talk about a grounding experience!

I took one look at the paperwork and thought 'well at least this will make nice kindling'..... Despite a cursory inclusion of 'crafts' in one grant category, the reality was, if you had a traditional, artisanal, non-academic arts/craft training it seemed it you had less than a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting a grant. I figured there was only one solution: get a more letters after my name.

And that's how, at the end of 1996, I found myself thumbing through an Open University booklet trying to figure out how I could get a degree without leaving my beloved Sams Creek..... fast forward three years (and a lot of blood, sweat and tears!) and I had a Bachelor of Arts (Art History)...

but wait there's more

Part way through my BA via Open Learning I was alerted to a disturbing idea..... if I completed a Graduate Diploma of Education I could become... (wait for it)... A Teacher...... yes... I could have a Real Job and become Really Useful for the first time in my life (yes I can still hear the wonderous encouragement from my dear parents ringing in my ears!)

sooooo almost by accident, and just a bit before I actually graduated with my BA, I found myself enrolled in a Grad. Dip. Ed. (by distance of course....) and one whole year later there I was fronting a high school class.....

who'd a thunk that woulda happened!

'Alas my beautiful country'
mixed media and collage on TH Saunders
from my stint as guest artist at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery for 'southscribes'

Now, you've no doubt noticed that I've said nothing at all about arrrrrty things so far - and for good reason.... although I still kept my hand in making and playing in the studio (and participating in some group shows etc, heck in 1999 I curated the first official exhibition of calligraphy in a regional gallery.... and even had work published in Craft Arts Magazine...) the reality was I was making less and less in the studio and working more and more in the schools.... flushed with new funds I began rebuilding my old house and reworking my neglected garden. I also fell madly in love with my long-term neighbour (and old primary school class-mate.... my Farmer Phil) and before long we were setting up home and having the babies....


My life as An Artist seemed to be slipping further and further away....

In 2004, and pregnant with our second baby, I signed on for a solo exhibition with Spiral Gallery... yes I had a toddler underfoot, yes I was about to have a newborn, yes I was still working in schools, yes it was totally and utterly INSANE to be lining up at that moment for my second solo show.....

But, as I keep telling my long-suffering Farmer Phil - I may be a farmer, a gardener, a teacher and a mother.... but I've GOT to find the space and time to be An Artist....

Maternal Instinct 3
Mixed media collage on canvas board

(to be continued)

***more images of my past calligraphic works are on a gallery - at cecilia-letteringart***



  1. I hope it's not just being nosey to be loving this saga of your life, loves, art etc. (Maybe I should have said art and etc.) Your warmth and generosity of spirit comes through everything you do so I'm reading with both affection and amazement at your drive and abilities. Give us more, please!

  2. It's fascinating to hear about your journey thus far - you are truly generous to share so much of yourself. I love "Yes". It makes me think of those puzzles we had as kids - you know the ones with all the squares, and one missing, so you could move them about and reconfigure the picture? I look forward to the next chapter!

  3. lovely to see some of your early works. thanks for sharing. I am always in awe of your energy.

  4. I'm really enjoying your journey too, Ronnie, with a mixture of awe and amazement and the odd chuckle too! Thanks for sharing... and I'm looking forward to the next instalment! Sara x

  5. haa haa haa - well spotted amanda!

    the 'yes' piece WAS inspired by that funny little 'shift-the-pieces-make-the-picture' game..... I made quite a few works like this around the late 1990s/turn of the millennium

    I'm actually enjoying sharing all these old works/ old tales..... its fun to take a walk down memory lane.... it makes me feel more optimistic about the unsure future....

  6. Ronnie you are so talented and I love what you are producing.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx