This week I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Joy Connell who works part-time as a nurse and also paints. Read on to discover how Joy manages her time, her very wise attitude to rejection and how she overcomes her doubts.
Joy was born in London and moved to Yorkshire as a teenager. She qualified as a registered nurse in York, got married and had children. In 1998 she decided to relocate to Brisbane, Australia and she has been there ever since. Her art has especially developed in the last couple of years. As she says, a lifelong love of painting and drawing is rapidly becoming an all consuming passion!
Joy is mentored by Jacqueline Coates. She has completed several private commissions for floral and animal artwork and exhibited around Brisbane in group exhibitions. Recently she won three awards for portrait, landscape and still life at the Beenleigh art show. Not bad considering this was the first time she had entered a competition.
Over to Joy…
Give a brief description of your day job and your artistic activities
My day job is as a telehealth registered nurse with a caseload of patients requiring cardiac rehabilitation and/or diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease support and education. I work 3 days a week on different shifts and have done this for 7 years. I am now into my 33rd year as a nurse!
My creative side is as a painter. My style is realism and I use oil, acrylics and charcoal on canvas or board. My subject matter is usually florals and animals, particularly dog portraits. No surprise that I really dislike painting city scenes and buildings!
How much time in a day or week do you spend creating? How do you go about your creative practice?
I physically paint or draw almost every day. Up to 10 hours straight if I am left alone in peace. Mentally I paint and draw all the time! On my days off work I try to prioritise what project to work on, but am not particularly disciplined and jump around a bit. I can focus sharply though if I have a deadline to meet.
I have a back room in the house set up as a studio. It has good light, a fan and airconditioning plus hifi although I usually prefer to work in the quiet. I wake up excited when the day is free to paint and head for my studio after breakfast and taking Angel out for a walk. If I don’t, I get sad eyes and heaving sighs all day from her!!
How do you manage your time and energy so that you have enough left for creative activities?
It’s a struggle! I get tired, more mentally than physically. I have to be selfish about my time and where I spend it. It helps me to set out a day schedule each morning. I think, OK what needs my attention? Housework, dog, garden, husband, family, renovations or the business side of art? Then I put a time frame against each one and try to stick to it.
When I paint I like to feel free and fully focussed. By setting a timer on my phone I can forget the worry that I will lose track of time as when the beeper goes off its down tools and back into reality.
What made you decide to start or resume artistic activities? What was the catalyst?
I have neurosensory hearing loss and as I get older it’s getting worse. I want to remain financially independent and have something to do that is interesting, has meaning and keeps me feeling useful in the world. I am using my artistic talent as a solution to my problem!
What one thing would make a difference now to how you go about your creativity?
Having a sales and marketing manager and a book keeper to do all that side of things. Someone driving the sales and doing all the IT stuff would be great! Not my strong points!
How do you motivate yourself to create when you don’t feel like it or your creative work isn’t going well?
If I am not feeling motivated I don’t push myself. Art is fun for me, it’s not a job as such and I don’t want to feel under any pressure. I enjoy it so much anyway it’s not long before I wander back into the studio and pick up a brush!
If I realise I need a break from painting I give myself permission to do nothing for a day or so. It’s a bit like reading a good book, I need a break to re-energise my brain. Walking the dog is good for me because I think a lot when I am amongst nature and I get ideas popping into my head.
How do you cope with criticism and rejection?
I try to be objective about criticism and rejection. I find it very useful to put my ego aside and learn from feedback. I acknowledge then squish down any negative emotions and they eventually pass when ignored! If, for example, I don’t get an art proposal accepted then ok, I am a bit disappointed but think, well there must something else that I am meant to be doing.
A bit of faith in the universe helps. When it comes to it life is too short to worry about what others think. I don’t take any criticisms too seriously. It’s only paint, not life or death!
Generally if I finish an artwork and like it then I am happy. It’s not a problem if someone else doesn’t. If they don’t sell, my house looks fabulous with them on the walls! I win either way.
How do you overcome doubts in your creative abilities and do it anyway?
I just have a go! Every new piece of art is daunting and a challenge. Art is about the creative process and every piece goes through an ugly or awkward stage. If in doubt about something I head for You Tube or a reference book to see if I can learn something that will help.
Find out more about Joy
Check out Joy’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/portraitsbyjoyconnell/