Following a different path.

A while ago I made a decision.

For the last 3 years or so I have been painting and sculpting.


Painting and sculpting. Sculpting a lot and not painting enough. Sculpting for hours and hours on end and painting when I had a spare moment. I love sculpting, I love my wee creatures, I love painting, I love creating painted narratives. I work from studio and I also have a part time job. I have never counted the hours in a week I work (many many many), it does not matter to me. My artwork is a part of my life that is not counted in hours spent – more in how it makes me feel, how I express myself, how I live.

At the end of last year after a particularly gruelling few months preparing for the 5 large contemporary craft shows I exhibited at and the various exhibitions I took part in, the hours and hours of sculpting were causing problems in my hand and as it turns out I have damaged the ligaments in the palm of my hand – nothing that rest will help, scar tissue has now formed and sculpting causes me great pain.

Gillian Iphone pics 105

It should have been devastating.  Those wee creatures are my pride and joy, they are created from my hands and I love when people see them for the first time, I love the response they get even from those who do not love them as I do. BUT this hand injury has brought about the biggest sense of relief that I could never have foreseen. It has caused me to make a decision that I would have perhaps not made otherwise. In all the months of preparation for shows the sculpting took over and the painting was put to the side and it never really felt right. I was starting to focus on the making and selling rather than the creating and expressing and storytelling.

Soooooo!! At the beginning of this year I made the decision to focus entirely on my painting (alongside my part time job) and explore avenues for teaching art and to put the sculpting aside (perhaps not forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future). A change of path indeed. I pulled out of a show I had been wanting to attend for years, I did not apply for any of the brilliant contemporary craft shows I normally attend and I have been painting and drawing since the new year.  It feels great. It feels like the right thing to do. It feels as if I am on the right path. It is scary and freeing and exciting all at the same time.

Gathered at the shore

Now that we are half way through the year and I have not sculpted for more than 6 months I have no regrets (although I do miss them too) Perhaps someday the half finished sculptures on the tray in my studio will be finished but for now the ideas for new paintings are flowing, boards are waiting to become works of art, sketches are waiting to be developed. I could not be in a better place.


12 thoughts on “Following a different path.

    • Thank you so much Kathie – yes – it has always been far more important to me to create what is in my heart than to make money (although that would be nice too) but it definitely feels like the right think to do – I feel so much more focussed and I know that my painting has come on in leaps and bounds since I am focussing my energy on that. x

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you have found the path that makes you so happy and creative Gillian. I truly hope that one day you will do some online classes so that we at the bottom of the worls can share in your wonderful creativitly. xo

  2. I love that you’re following your heart, Gillian. Life has a way of nudging us (or sometimes rudely shoving us) in the direction we’re meant to be going in, and I think the sense of relief you felt when you were forced to focus on painting speaks volumes. When your art becomes a means to an end, then something’s out of kilter, but many of us don’t take the hints until it’s too late or something snaps. Thank you for this reminder, and keep enjoying the ride!

    • Thank you so much Kirsten – yes I agree – my problem has always been that I can turn my hand to different mediums but it has always meant that I have never had enough time to really focus and my painting has suffered because of that – but I can feel that it is developing much more since I have made it my priority – a hard choice indeed but the right one! x

  3. Maybe through your painting you will find new characters for sculpting, writing about,etc. I am sorry about your hands. I first learned of your work through your painting which I love. I have just found out about the sculpting not long ago. I admire your talent and additive. Best wishes for your path. It seems you are so milti talente.

  4. I too decided to make what I most want, it is a liberation and one I’ve never regretted. Will miss having you in the craft world though!

    • That is brilliant Ruth – have been following your pinterest images and it really shows that you are working on what you love most. I will still be around – but visiting shows rather than exhibiting – liberating indeed!

  5. I found your paintings reading Lynne Hoppe’s blog. First of all, your painting are stories,
    beautiful stories. Thank you for reminding me to focus what the real deal is with art.
    I’m excited see your work grow even more and bookmarked this blog. You have a big,
    strong talent and I’m inspired by it!

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