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Story from Heather MacGillivray

I Want To Tell Visual Narrative Stories That Move Someone To Say “I Get That!”

About Me:

I am 65 years old but my mind is ‘ageless’ and lively, which is a trait I inherited from both my parents, but probably especially from my mother and her mother before her. I live in Victoria, Australia with my rescue cat, Timmie-Tor. Until last year I was my mother’s carer, having designed, and built it onto the back of my house in 2005 as an owner builder, a semi independent living unit for my mother to live in … despite my having had no previous building or design experience. From 2005 till 2013 was a wonderful time during which Mum was free of the worries of looking after herself and so able to enjoy life. She attended an art class and enjoyed light gardening and car trips with me and the beautiful rescue kelpie, Bonnie, we had as our pet. Unfortunately I had health problems (cancer and then heart problems) in 2013 and Mum had to go into respite care while I received (successful) treatment. Mum suffered terribly in the few months she was in respite care and went into an almost catatonic depression after the powers-that-be decided in their non-wisdom that my health would prevent Mum from returning to live with me; disrespecting both our wishes. After an exhausting effort to overturn that decision, Mum did return to my care at home, but she was a broken person and literally never walked again. She lived for another 18 months, slowly returning to her creative self and even rediscovering with the help of a music therapist her beautiful mezzo soprano voice. But the stress of ‘fighting the system’ for the right to live at home again, far away from the, generally unacknowledged, daily and horrific injustices of institutionalized aged care had taken its toll and she developed liver cancer and passed away at age 97 and a half. Honouring the life-long capacity and right to make everyday choices based on creative thinking as opposed to formulaic thinking now obsesses me even more than it did before. (I have always had an intuitive sense of their being a link between justice and creative-decision making.)

The Place of Art In My Life:

Art, especially visual art, has always ‘been there’ for me … but life got in the way a lot of the time and I neglected art for decades. I was even told by an art teacher, when I was young, that “you don’t need teaching, you just need to be left alone!” because I had an intuitive feel for some aspects of art. For example I seemed to be able to pick up on and convey the mood of the model in life drawing classes and I was not bad at composition … but I knew I had severe weaknesses in other areas of art, but was too immature to do other than to keep on lazily returning to my strengths.

Where I am Challenged In Art:

Developing my art beyond the initial draft idea is my key challenge. All the individual skills associated with that ’rounding out of a piece’ into a fully formed artwork are therefore where I need to concentrate my efforts. This includes developing skills such as: shading techniques to make my art appear more 3D than 2D; anatomical knowledge to move beyond the ‘gesture drawing’ stage; and art history to understand better the thinking behind art styles – what is it that the Byzantine artists, the cubists, the surrealists, the Renaissance realists, for example, perceiving so differently from each other that makes their outputs – at a surface level anyway – appear so different? (I have been learning lately about the difference between linear perspective and reverse or Byzantine perspective, which are so different; yet both are undertaken by a similar type of individual – artists! That fact is so fascinating.)

What I Want To Learn In Art:

I want to learn the discipline it will take me to achieve my current goal – which goal is to be a graphic novelist (visual narrative artist) and the best I am capable of being. I want to tell stories that matter to me, such as a memoir about my mother’s interaction with her creativity and how I think that affected my relationship to my creativity … and in the context of how society’s relationship to creativity does affect each one of us in our own creativity. That last point also relates to my interest in telling, in graphic novel or visual narrative format, science fiction stories. I am deeply interested in where Future Consciousness might go as science learns more about the fundamental place in life of creative systems. For example, I have been reading lately about Bayesian consciousness (first developed in the 1700’s) and its rediscovery by modern scientists for use in things like artificial intelligence. I now realize that a lot of the questions I had as a child, from witnessing my mother’s strange relationship to her creativity, can be answered by a Bayesian perspective on the nature of creative thinking! It will take discipline for me to delve into that well especially the relationship between Bayesianism and musical creative thinking. But the general principle of developing a strong relationship between a Disciplined Approach and a Creative Approach to an artistic ‘conveyance of an idea of a thing that exists in everyday life’ underpins everything about what i want to learn in my own art practice now.

What I Think About Drawing Academy:

I think it offers a rare commodity in modern art education: the teaching of distinct skills relevant to a distinct school of art – Classical and Renaissance Realism – to a level of specificity that can’t help but result in ‘disciplined’ art teaching … and hence learning. That this particular school of art (classicism), that Drawing Academy teaches, is especially suited to learning via disciplined principles, rules and skills makes it into something of ‘a universal template.’ I feel that access to such a template must be a help in then going on to develop one’s own artistic style, with an underlying confidence that wouldn’t be so likely to exist without that template.

Why I Want To Win The Drawing Academy Course:

Basically, it comes down to money and a sense of support. It will be very difficult for me to afford the course until I have finished paying off my mortgage – which will be in about a year’s time from now. I would like to take advantage of the help the course would afford me in attempting a disciplined approach to achieving my art goals. Without the course I will still try to put together my own program, until I can afford it … but it would be so nice to not have to battle on my own for a change.

A Reason Why People Might Want To Vote For Me:

If the words I have written above ‘ring true’ to you and you find you can relate to any of what I have said and if you can see, in my artwork, the seeds of a talent that might develop under good tutelage then please vote for me. Thank you.

goodreads.com/user/show/48350622-heather-macgillivray

Categorized: Art Competition Archive

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