— The featured artist of Issue 34 of Living the Photo Artistic Life magazine, AWAKE artist Ann Wehner (from Australia) should have been featured long before now. Her work is fabulous and she has long been a great favorite within our group. It’s exciting to interview her at last . . .
Q. What got you started in photo artistry?
As a teenager I dabbled in acrylic painting at school but soon lost interest in this as basketball took over my life. Five years ago I rediscovered painting as something I could do while recovering from knee surgery but I quickly got frustrated by all of my mistakes, and my lupus arthritis made holding the brushes painful. So out went the brushes, paints, and canvases.
After buying a point and shoot camera for my daughter’s wedding in Fiji, I started getting interested in photography, but the photos I took back then were pretty ordinary as I was only learning. So many out of focus and chopped off images … It certainly didn’t get my creative juices flowing.
A friend not long after sent me a tutorial on making “Amazing Circles” from photographs, so I purchased Photoshop and gave that a go. I was so daunted by the program at first, and I had no idea of its true potential. So with my limited knowledge, creating circles soon became boring. Then one day while surfing the net I stumbled across the Photoshop Artistry course — and the rest is history. I had at last found a creative outlet that I was passionate about, and now I will never stop creating or learning.
Q. What do you feel most inspires your work?
The inspiration for my compositions comes from my love of reading and listening to music. Childhood memories also inspire my work as I love to tell a story with it, allowing viewers to then create their own narrative.
I am also inspired by other artists, such as Brooke Shaden (whose work I am so passionate about), and, closer to home, so many of our AWAKE artists have been an inspiration to me over the years as well.
I also revisit the various courses and re-watch videos as I find it amazing to see how other artists create their pieces.
I have also followed a few of my favorite artists on YouTube watching their tutorials to learn a new technique, etc., and I also make sure to enroll in any new courses which catch my eye.
Q. How do you approach your work? Any particular process?
Sometimes I will start to create with a particular image or pose in mind and then build my piece around that. Other times I find a background texture I love and start building my piece from that. It all depends on my Muse on that particular day. I love experimenting with blend modes, LUT tables, various tools, plugins, techniques, and layering.
I have also learned to always look at my art with fresh eyes, so a piece may sit unfinished for a day or so until my next inspiration hits.
Recently, I purchased an iPad Pro and I am thoroughly enjoying learning how to use the various apps and creating a different style of art with it.
Q. What does “living the photo artistic life” mean to you?
To me, “Living the Photo Artistic Life” has really changed the way I look at the world and how I live my life.
I find myself more aware of the beauty that surrounds me, and I have discovered a new purpose in life which brings me so much happiness and peace.
I bounce out of bed these days ready to create, and only then head off to work. My lunchtimes are filled with art as I create on my iPad. This in itself has been a great talking point, with strangers often coming up and asking me what I am creating. While I love talking with people I have always been a bit shy, yet I now find that since I have started creating art it has been so much easier to do as I feel more confident in myself.
Q. What’s your next step as an artist?
The latter part of this year has been a rewarding one for me as an artist, what with my work being published in the Photoshop Creative magazine and being the featured artist for the December issue of Living the Photo Artistic Life, as well as having won a few awards in the various competitions which I had entered.
My next step as an artist is to eventually have my own exhibition. What a thrilling experience it would be to have my own art on display. Also at the top of my list is to sell my work regularly. I think that would be absolutely amazing, knowing that someone loves your work that much to hang it on their wall.
All-in-all, I want to continue to improve as an artist and to continue to enjoy the friendships I have formed during the last few years within the AWAKE group.
Q. Any advice or tips for other aspiring artists?
I think one of the hardest things a new artist has to overcome is the desire to want to compare their art to the work of others. I know I am guilty of this myself. When I first began posting my art to the Facebook groups I would frequently pop back to see if I had any likes at all and I became quite despondent when others got more likes than me. Thankfully a post from Sebastian sorted me out on this issue.
Practicing your craft while learning and perfecting new techniques — all this is so important in improving the pieces you create. And at the end of the day it is how you feel about the piece that is most important, not how many people get the chance to view it and or how many “like” it.
I also think that when your Muse goes AWOL it is hard to not get frustrated at your inability to create. This has happened to me recently and I found myself unable to create anything. I would start then stop then delete until I gave up in frustration. So I had a good talk with myself, got out the inspirational music to listen to, and I played around with a few finger exercises from AWAKE.
I also watched some videos on the iPad apps I have and just gave myself some time to get refreshed . . . And then I found my Muse was back on duty. So if this happens with you, please be kind to yourself — your Muse WILL return, I assure you.
Also: believe in yourself and in your dreams. If creating art is a passion of yours, as it is mine, you are an artist. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.