Marie with husband Graeme
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am an artist with a botanical and wildlife illustration background, and I have specialise in illustrating for children and for those young at heart. My work is best recognized for it’s mayhem and fun surrounding my imaginary characters that I enjoy placing in humorous predicaments. I paint on canvas using acrylic paint and my compositions explore relationships between humans and small animals. I also produce pen and ink drawings on paper, and am the creator of the interactive cartoon character Gertrude, being launched in ArtSHINE Gallery’s group show “Eclectic”.
Gertrude – “Macarons”
Where do you get your inspiration from when you paint?
I have inherited an off-beat sense of humour, and have always been driven by a need to make people laugh! I am inspired by the awesome work by animation studios, like Walt Disney and Pixar. I am an illustration-artist, and I love to tell a story!
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Kind, quirky, creative, hard-working, loyal.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
I my very first paid job, at the age of twelve, I worked as a dog walker and groomer! I was fascinated with archaeology but wanted to become an illustration-artist. I am happy to say that my childhood dream has come true!
How do you usually plan your daily activities?
I try to prioritise tasks that need most attention first. I usually rely on some sort of planner schedule, which could be just an ordinary to-do list and a calendar.
As an artist, what is your biggest frustration?
Not knowing where my resources are and how to get my career to the next level. I have enjoyed painting and drawing for many years, have completed an arts degree and have teaching qualifications, but have lacked the skills needed to use my art to earn an income from it.
“Air Ballooning Mice”
Tell us about how you prioritise your art?
If I don’t draw, if I don’t paint, I don’t live my life to it’s full potential! I try to schedule most other activites around my art activities.
How do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
It is important to network, we all have valuable information and skills we can share! I connect with other artists through studio-time at Waverley-Woollahra Art School, and through volunteering as a committee member on Randwick Art Society. I use social media to post and share progressive and completed art works, as well as news about up-coming exhibitions and projects. I am a member of Sydney Comics Guild based in the CoSydney Coworking + Project Space, which provides a place where comic creators can network.
Gertrude in the tea cup with egg cup
Your advice to artist who are just starting out?
To not just have a dream, but to surround yourself with a team of people with similar dreams. Be inspired, set goals, and never never give up!
Tell us about your up coming group Art exhibition at ArtSHINE Gallery?
Joined by eight other artists, I am very excited to launch my cartoon character “Gertrude” in the group show titled “Eclectic”! The exhibition will be showcasing the uniqueness, quirkiness, and diverse signature style of each artist. The character of Gertrude was created based on my own disasters in the kitchen, my reluctance of following recipes, and yet my fascination with the world of food! Gertrude is regularly posted on Instagram and Facebook, and she is an INTERACTIVE cartoon character, meaning that followers can “talk” to her and cheer her on!
“ Cassie” finalist ink drawing- Waverley Art Prize
How did ArtSHINE Business coaching help you and your art business?
I always had a dream and I left my house, my job and friends behind and moved to Sydney to pursue my art career. I wanted to take my art to the next level, to learn how to earn an income from doing what I love best: create. ArtSHINE Business Coaching equips you with a skill-set so you are able to define your own unique signature style, how to understand who your clients are, and how to professionally establish contacts.
What is your proudest moment so far?
Having been offered a children’s picture-book publishing contract by Lothian Publishers, Port Melbourne.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
I would love to meet two artists that I idolize: firstly the Finnish author-illustrator Tove Jansson, who is the creator of the Moomin-troll comic strip. I grew up in Sweden and was inspired by the Moomin characters’ sense of family, of childlike innocence, vulnerability, love and sometimes hippie-lifestyle. Secondly I would love to meet the American cartoonist Gary Larsson, creator of The Far Side where animals role-play with humans and cows and chickens visit bars! Gary Larsson’s unique sense of humour and signature illustration-style inspired me when I created my cartoon character Gertrude.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
That you will not truly be happy until you live your life being HONEST with yourself…
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
Reading, and re-reading Gary Larsson’s The Far Side!
Where do we find you and your products? (list stores & links, websites)
and new website (under construction): www.mariewidolfillustration.com
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