The Romance of Everyday Life

Interview with Painter Kellie McHugh

At what stage did you know you wanted to pursue a career as a painter?

I guess I had to wait for everything to line up, or actually, to fall away and create the space, for this wonderful part of my life, of me, to finally blossom.

What are the values that guide your arts business and drives you to create?

I seek to be intentionally open to and moving with the delicious flow, of life, of water, of the body, of nature; it’s the common thread that inspires and delights me.

Finding joy and expressing oneself through the romance of everyday life, is a skill that comes quite naturally to artists. By making my work available to others, it allows them to connect with this creative process and see the world, and possibly themselves, in new and inspiring ways.

What do you currently offer and how do you go about selling your work?

I am presently offering original acrylic/oil artworks on canvas.

While the online world is broad in its scope and online galleries such as Bluethumb make it easier to be found and to process sales, there is something special about making connections with the collector, talking through the artwork, the inspiration and creation process, witnessing them experience the energy of the artwork, it’s like introducing someone to a favourite food or place that they have never experienced.

How important is having a support network of peers and mentors as an artist?

In any pursuit, it is vital to have a network of people who ‘speak your language’ removing a barrier to quality communication, so you can skip the distraction of translation and dive straight into exploring concepts, grounding ideas and developing deeper creative relationships.

Working from home, many hours with just my art and the pooch, it’s easy to get into the habit of living to paint (wake, create, walk, sleep). These opportunities remind me how much I enjoy having a colleague to bounce off of and generate ideas with… It highlighted how much I was missing this for my balance and growth.

We met Kellie through our Business for Creatives online workshops in 2020 (which is now available to all as our Business Makers’ Program) and our Bundaberg Artist Forum in June 2021.

What did you take away from your experience with the CQ Shopfront program?

The practical tools shared have given me the confidence in moving forward with my art as a creative business. Participating in CQ Shopfront helped me feel more connected to a community of like-minded folks with similar goals and hurdles. It reinforced the value of networking, community and collaboration. Even if we all took away the same one tip, we will all do it differently, in our own way.

The value of having a business established with systems, routines and resources committed to this element of my art, beyond the easel… it’s the difference, the shift, from being a casual weekend painter to being an artist.

The programs also expanded how I saw a diverse product range available to me beyond the canvas, such as opportunities for reproduction prints, onto fabrics or perhaps even something to sip from.

What have been some highlights in your art career lately?

Having a stall at the Laneway-on-Woongarra Christmas market last Thursday evening was all about giving people the opportunity to see my artwork in person. It was a great chance to talk with people about their experience viewing the artworks, the inspiration behind the pieces and to share about my creative journey. Four paintings found new homes, lots of people visited the display, and people have since connected through social media, so I consider it a success.

Participating in the HERE + now Exhibition and receiving great feedback for my work in the Bundaberg art prize and attending the Makers Shopfront Forum in Bundaberg earlier this year.

Recently, attending Creative Recovery training with Creative Recovery Network and Red Cross has given me the skills to connect with communities in need through art, and this also bridges to my interests in wellbeing. I’m excited to see what opens up from this opportunity.

What is next for 2022?

I am now looking toward planning for my first exhibition – perhaps in collaboration with another creative? The aim is to find new ways for people to connect with my work in person, curating their experience of my paintings that allows time for reflection and conversation. Ultimately, to stay in wonder through the evolving creative process, explore like a child and embrace the new. You can find Kellie’s work here:

82 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All