My second maternity leave was an intense time, looking after a tiny new baby, and a big three-year-old, and all the balancing and spinning of plates that involves. Though it was tough in places, I enjoyed the time and loved being with my little one all day. At some point, I also allowed myself to miss my professional life and my art practice, and realised that it was ok to want both things. In the microscopic nap times, and staying up way too late after bedtime, I managed to get back into the flow of making digital art. My iPad Pro helped immensely allowing me to be able to make art at the drop of a hat, even while breastfeeding or with a wonderfully heavy baby sleeping on my chest. I was able to keep a little flame of my own interests and identity burning in a period filled with nappies, naps and boobs.
And as a result, my drawings were filled with exactly that. And related topics such as sleep deprivation, confusion and memory loss. These are two drawings from that time, which represent how things were for me. The absolute magical joy of breastfeeding, and the fuzzy sleepy confused state I constantly was in because my little one woke up every hour during the night. Somehow these two things, combined with a longer break from deadlines and clients, as well as having the perfect tool to make art, were somehow the perfect recipe.
I have to admit it’s a struggle to allow myself to take time for personal work now that I’m back at work, fretting about jobs, money and deadlines. But, looking back at my work over the years, I can see how important personal work has been in developing as an artist. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have clients approach me because of my style, which is really a dream. So I am going to start scheduling in time for this in my calendar, and treating it as seriously as any other appointment.
I work digitally in Procreate, often working with three layers on multiply blending mode, to achieve something that feels like a hand made screen print. I also sometimes use many layers, with an abstract, colourful underpainting, creating shapes on top of that in negative space, trying to chase the unpredictability of paint, which often gets lots when working digitally.