"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

When life gets in the way .......

It's been a difficult couple of weeks and not a lot to show for it artistically ... have had a lot of health challenges and what with end of financial year there is so much to take my attention away from what I love to do.  I am lucky enough to work from home running our business but it also means that 24/7 my attention is divided rather than home being a sanctuary away from business and work commitments.

I imagine one of the most difficult challenges for artists and those trying to purse their creative dream is to find the time needed to make progress and feel they have achieved results.
I am currently working on a page of seven flowers .... here in Australia it is the middle of winter - choices are few and involve visits to the garden centre for inspiration .... then trying to mentally compose a page that is pleasing and yet shows a great variation.  So far I have only been able to do some sketching and tonal studies but I don't feel like I am anywhere close to having a selection.

More often than not other tasks take priority - family, business, housework ... and then art.  How I manage to fit in a course like the Society of Botanical Artists Diploma Course in amongst an already full life was always going to be the main obstacle.  Time management is crucial - and when you do have the time your health has to allow you the creative freedom to let your mind and heart connect to what you are trying to achieve.

  I really enjoy sketching and hope one day to spend more time with sketchbooks and journals but for now I have to commit to the deadlines.  The colours and hues of each flower are also proving a real challenge - trying to find the exact colour to depict the flower accurately takes time and lots of trial runs.  I am so fortunate to have contact with a wonderful group of supportive artists who are always willing to help and suggest options - technology may be exhausting at times but I feel far less isolated by having the internet to connect us to each other.

© Vicki Lee Johnston

 I don't have any paintings to show but thought I would post a photo of one of the very first roses I attempted to remind myself I have come a long way and it's all about the journey...


  1. Keep trying Vicki... I can sympathise with how much hard work is required in being so disciplined with your time. I know you'll come out with flying colours though... have you got your marks back for your leaves yet?

    I am actually thinking of taking on ANOTHER diploma on top of everything else which is nuts! But then I love learning and this is something I can squeeze in between hours, which frustratingly you can't do with botanical illustration. Right, here starts my little stint after work this evening. I think I can just about 4 hours in if I am good!

    P.S. Hope you are well - you said you had had some health problems? hugs xx

  2. I'm sorry to read about your poor health Vicki - mid winter can be a difficult time... Just as you are doing - I think that the important thing is to continue drawing and painting - regardless of the results. As you know, I've been working on some much smaller studies recently in an attempt to get past a bit of a seasonal artistic slump. It's actually helping quite a bit.

    Good luck with your flower studies - the rose looks very promising. :)

  3. You'll get there Vicki,have great faith in you
    love from Wales xxx

  4. Dear Vicki,
    I could not image you are not well. Hope it is just some of seasonal problems.I know it is hard to deal with all, but botanical drawing is essential for mind good health. It keeps us alive. I can understand, because like you I do work in the family job, and now it's high season for tourism here, we work hard and I dream of winter time, when I can do my botanical art quiet at home. Some time I look to other my age woman, and fill they are a bit switched off meanwhile others, that have passion inside for something, are beautifully a live. this is what a feel like and think you do the same. un abbraccio renata

  5. Thank you so much Jess, Hedera, Claire and Renata .. uplifting words - thank goodness we have this passion xxxx