I love creativity in many forms. And spending so much time on social media I see so much of it and it is a pleasure to do so. Over the years there are many artists, photographers and sculptors that catch my eye often in the networks and streams. It is a joy to keep visiting this creative section of the site and showcase some of the talents behind the work out there.
Today I would like to introduce Maryanne Hawes.
From the desk of Maryanne…..
I’ve known Paul online for some years, since my days as a photographer and creative blogger. I’ve always admired his energy and consistency as a traveller and writer, and so I was thrilled to be asked to feature in this, the section of the Bald Hiker blog especially for creatives.
I often introduce myself as a ‘serial creative entrepreneur’; albeit with a wry smile as my first ‘business’ venture was less than successful. My first foray into self-employment was as a garden designer (I spent 15 years in Local Government for which I was not the best fit, I realise in hindsight). I spent two years studying for diplomas in horticulture and garden design at Bristol Zoo, of all places.
But launching myself as a working Garden Designer was complicated by the fact that my son, who had recently started school, was experiencing difficulties in settling (it’s a long story, but I eventually opted to teach him at home for four years, which rather put paid to the growth of a fledgling business.) The other problem was that I realised that all I wanted to do was sit at my drawing board and produce detailed and beautifully shaded planting plans, rather than stand in the wind and rain arguing with contractors about the intricacies of retaining walls and the depth of steps. The garden design business didn’t last long…
Whilst teaching my son at home I started to record our days and experiences on camera, and over time friends and family started to ask me to take photographs of them and their children, and pets. This began a wonderful decade of seeing life through a lens. I managed to make a modest but steady living , with highlights including spending a day with a Saudi Royal Family photographing a 5 year old Prince- and a day and a night on a film set in Wales capturing circus scenes including elephants dancing round a fire at midnight.
Eventually however I felt that something was missing, creatively, and I was feeling burnt out and ready for a change. Within a few months I had started to paint for the first time since school and at last felt as if I’d found the work that I am here to do.
Four years later I’m painting my socks off. I generally paint expressive, abstract interpretations of the landscape; which for me is not just about the view, but how a place makes me feel. I paint intuitively (in other words I don’t fully plan a painting before I start although I often make small studies or loose sketches ) and the outcome is dependent not only on where I am geographically but also on any memories and experiences associated with that place. I often use metaphors of geography to describe a mood; whether it’s mountains or rivers or fields. People have remarked that my paintings evoke a familiar place without being deliberately about a specific location.
I have just returned from a few solitary weeks at Brison’s Veor Artists’ residency on the very western tip of Cornwall, literally on the cliff top, an outstanding experience and one which will inform my painting over the next few months. I’ve also spent time painting in Snowdonia, Dartmoor and Tuscany, each with its own character which expresses itself in the resulting paintings.
I’m mostly a self-taught painter. My entry into the art world coincided with my 50th birthday and I felt there was no time to waste. Rather than go to Art School for a three year degree I decided to spend 3 years pursuing the particular courses and workshops that I was interested in; a kind of do it yourself degree. Most memorably, I spent a year studying with the St Ives School of Painting on their year Porthmeor Programme for artist development. I invested in mentoring and coaching too, which has proved invaluable in helping me overcome the fear and self-doubt which traditionally plagues us creative types.
I’ve also done online courses in marketing and social media. This focused approach to making art a career and not accept the idea that I would only ever be a starving artist is beginning to pay off. I’m pleased to say I’m selling my work regularly, have had my first solo exhibition and several group shows and this year have had a piece accepted for the 166th Annual RWA Open Exhibition in Bristol. I’m passionate about supporting other artists especially women like me who have come to a creative career in mid-life as I see happening more and more, as my fellow women realise that they cannot deny the intensity of the creative calling without making themselves unhappy, or at worst, unwell. I’m also determined to spread the message that art is for everyone and although it is deemed to be a luxury purchase, it need not be expensive, and I write on my blog about how to start your own collection on a budget.
I’m now preparing for a couple of shows next year and my happiest days are spent in my studio on the edge of a field in the Wye Valley countryside.
I can see myself looking at this view for a very long time to come. You can find more on my site at Maryanne Hawes.