Fuel Your Art with Collaboration

By Vanda Cummins - Originally written for MELBOURNE & VICTORIAN ARTISTS INC Sept 2021

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This is my story of dealing with creative block and the one surprising thing that dragged me out of it and how it is fuelling my art.

After two amazing years of creativity flowing out of me, exhibitions, some sales/commissions, I couldn't find my will to paint.

Where had my motivation gone? My inspiration was still there. My need to go outside and find beautiful gum leaves or natives to photograph was there, so why couldn't I paint.

It's almost the end of 2020, I'm sitting in front of a WIP painting for an exhibition, but all I do is sit, analyse, and then sit a bit more. My water jar was empty, and my brush was untouched. I thought I'd had some bumps in my creative road before, but this was bad. I didn't know if it was due to so many cancelled exhibitions, being stuck at home or what.

I've always had a passion for nature. As a family, we watched every nature docos on TV. We were a family of animal lovers with huge indoor plants growing up to the ceiling. I think of Sir David Attenborough as an uncle who always guided me through and educated me about the natural world. It was an escape from city life and a passion that has never dwindled. I remember doing WWF's 'Pennies for Pandas' campaign in 1984 when I was a kid and being worried that all the animals would be dying off by the time I grew up. I've grown up, and although many are still here, we are losing fauna and flora at alarming rates now, and the threatened species list is getting longer. We need more awareness to drive conservation efforts.

When I was diagnosed with a facial pain condition four years ago, my husband bought me some watercolour pens, and I immediately and inexplicably fell in love. What was I driven to paint? Nature, of course! It led me to learn about our extraordinary Australian biodiversity and fall in love with Eucalyptus in its unique colours, shapes, and forms. I eventually felt like I've found my passion, my driving force. Then, I found MAVA and off I went on my merry

artistic journey.

Ok, pardon me for going off on a tangent, back to my creative block and fuelling my art. So let's summarise by saying that nature is what inspires my art!

To recap, it was the end of 2020, and I couldn't paint for shitz nor giggles. Come 2021, and I was looking for help, something to reconnect me, then I saw a post. One of our lovely MAVA artists did some work for Remember The Wild, and I loved what they were doing, and their message and I wondered "Could I do that?"

I started to follow their journey, watch their videos and became a pretty big fan. After a few messages back and forth, I explained who I was and that I'd love to support them with my art. They arranged a zoom call, and it just escalated from there.

For the last five months, my brain has been working nonstop, I have never been so creatively challenged, and my desire to paint is at an all-time high.