Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Karin Zeller

 Soft relaxing music, lush green outdoors, shelves overflowing with books, cluttered table tops full of artists paraphernalia, an elaborate inspiration board and a big central workstation…that is what my senses were feasting on when Karin slowly opened up to me one fine morning at her Studio.  Her work spoke to me the very first time I saw only a bit of it on her Artist’s Card, but what was more interesting to see was how her eyes lit up every time she spoke about her work. There was this little girl full of glee hidden behind her calm, unruffled self and all I wanted to do then, was to one day meet that little girl who spins magic on paper. And that I finally did when Karin let her composed self go and let her real inner self take over.

 She always knew that she would be an artist, she said, and everybody else around her thought the same. She lovingly remembers how her mother always encouraged her to draw and express herself through colours. It was as if she was teaching little Karin how to find a companion within herself when nobody is around, how to build a self-support system with colours if real life is not really bright, how to find an oasis without having to really look for it. And this life lesson helped her all along because her art is her little world of glory where nothing morose or dreary can even come close. 

Karin very humbly recalled how during the initial days in the world of art she found it hard to believe that people would be willing to spend money for her drawings, but over time, and after doing hundreds of portrait commissions she felt confident about calling herself an artist. When she along with her family moved to Australia 20 yrs back Karin used her world of art to overcome the unforeseen loneliness and isolation that gripped her in the land that was foreign and new to her then. Although she was doing quite well in her business of pencil drawn portraits and found it rewarding at various levels she felt the urge to break-free and do something for herself. She wanted her creations to be guided by her sensations and not be confined by the limits of her vocation. This is when she took a step forward and slowly groomed herself to the fabulous artist she is today.
 She enjoys to work with watercolours and also loves to experiment with different techniques, media and styles at the same time. Art to her is almost like a self revelation where she can connect with her inner self. And that inner self undoubtedly is the inquisitive and joyful little girl who loves to play, dream and get lost. Her love of abstract was born about two decades ago, when she very playfully created the first tiger abstract and that marked the beginning of her love story with colours. Painting colourful abstracts of different animals – cats and fishes in particular gradually became her unique style brilliantly reflected in the kaleidoscopic paintings that she creates. “I’ve always loved cats, but never liked painting them until I stumbled upon Laurel Burch’s colourful cats.  Other influences who have inspired my colourful abstract style are Picasso and Paul Klee.”   
Being born in Germany, having spent a big part of her growing years in a farm in Canada with 6 siblings, together with a happy marriage and two wonderful kids, Karin dwells in a paradise that inspires her and nudges her to do more every day. Although there was a point in life when her marriage, kids and her job took precedence, today she is at a stage where she enjoys pursuing what she was destined to. Art as she says has slowly moved up the priority list and takes up most of her time now.  
Karin is an active member of the Hobsons Bay Art Society and enjoys the company of her social painting group. She regularly participates in art workshops and life drawing to improve artistic skills as she believes, “you can learn so many things from each person you meet”.  Karin shares her love for art by teaching water-colour and acrylic classes from her fabulous, fully equipped Studio at her home’s backyard. You can see more of her latest work here . She is also the proud mother of the talented young Jennifer Zeller who is currently busy making a mark in Berlin’s Art Space. A wide grin on her face every time she mentions her name is privy to the passion both mother and daughter lovingly shares.  Karin prefers leading a humble life not tainted by the success that art has brought to her. She rather basks in the happiness it brings along. A good cup of coffee, good music and her ‘space’ to create…that’s all she needs to spend a perfect day!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Doing 'nothing'

To do 'nothing' for a few minutes in my ever so busy life is such a luxury. Not that I like doing 'nothing' or I desire to do 'nothing'...(I honestly like to keep going all the time, but)sometimes  I love to sit back just for a while and watch the world pass by.

But every time I sit down on the couch doing nothing my body is severly confused and sends signals to my brain saying 'get up u haven't yet done this this this and that!' It's almost like the day after the exams, when you actually do not have to sit to study but somewhere in the back of your brain you feel guilty of not sitting down with your books.

Thanks to my daily routine, I now get more than an hour each day for three days a week where I can do 'nothing' without feeling guilty! I take the train to work on these days and conciously choose not to read, talk, browse, plan or even think of anything on my way back. (On my way to work I generally do at least one of the above.) 

Image from :
How nice is it to rest those brain cells just for bit and gaze out of the train window and look at 'nothing'! I just let my thoughts loose, let my mind relax and my eyes wander...Wander into the blurr the motion creates, wander into the oblivion where nothingness dwells, wander into the desolation that is almost positive and energising. I am soon lost in this world where I do not feel guilty of not doing anything. A world that calms my senses and fuels my brain. A world that I cannot reach easily even with the utmost effort.

And when I actually reach my destination, I am ready for the rest of the day...not tired, not exhausted nor spent (well not mentally at least) because that IS the most important part of the day. That is the part of the day I get to spend with M, I and J.

I ask myself...Is that what Meditation is?

What do you do everyday to rejuvinate your senses?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Julee Latimer

Julee Latimer. Photo by Dita
12 countries in 17 years! Apart from her being the friendliest person in the group,  that was what that I remembered about her when I came home that night. I remember the feeling of urgency in the drive back home...I could not wait to get onto the computer and have a look at her creations (and some of the others as well). A few clicks and there they were...resilient, spectacular works of art, mosaic sculptures like I had never seen before...and immediately the same feeling of awe struck me. The feeling that makes me want to know more about the person behind those creations, the feeling that fascinates me and makes me think what it is that makes her do what she does! She is Julee Latimer, the mosaic artist who
has been awarded, published and is represented by several prestigious galleries across the globe. Julee Latimer, the humble, honest, down to earth 'local' artist who will not speak about her accomplishments unless really asked! The Julee Latimer who was happy to have me in her Home Studio one fine January morning and chat over several cups of tea despite the time constraint of finishing PERSEPHONE, in time for their display at New York.

SIMPLY TULIP - Glass over hand formed substrate
Photo by Dita
 'Colours always fascinated me', she said, trying to remember what initiated the artist in her, "but I would never paint a whole field of flowers. I would rather highlight the details of the one colour in the one flower in its various shades and grandeur." This was before she started creating Mosaics but you can see the essence of this in her work even now. She loves to create pieces that play on the different shades of the one colour and evidently that is what has made her work so unique. 

Full and Close up view of HYBRID,
Glass over hand formed sculpture
Photo By Dita

When asked how it was to pursue a career in the world of art alongside bringing up two boys, she very lovingly recalled a few incidents where she stood blank in front of the canvas not being able to connect with the inspiration...but knew at the same time that she had this one hour only before she would have to jump in the car to pick the boys up from school.

She accompanied her husband where ever he had to move because of his work as she believed that a close knit environment at home would be best for her boys in their ever changing surroundings. Having studied Interior Designing and Colour Psychology, Julee on the other hand had to find something constant to pursue that would not be defined or dictated by the sundry Visa laws in the different countries. She needed to do something that would not disturb the equilibrium of their unique, ever evolving family life. After pursuing painting for some time she found her true passion in Mosaics about 15 years ago. She describes it to be "the most exciting art form I have ever come across. It combines texture, colour and light like no other and gives me the freedom to be carried away."
Every move meant that Julee had to start her networking from scratch. But this has also helped her art-work evolve into what it is today. According to her, the Mosaic Artists Society worldwide is a very well connected group and that has been a positive influence all through. Contemporary Mosaic Art (CMA) which celebrated 6 yrs recently has also been a very supportive influence in her art-life in the last 6 years that she has been in Australia. Now that she has more time to devote to her passion, an ideal day starts with a Yoga session in the morning and about two hours at the computer doing all the administrative stuff that come along with being a free-lancer. The Yoga she loves but the administration she detests! After all that is out of the way she pretty much spends the rest of the day in her Studio letting her “real-self” take over. If it's fiddly, intricate pieces the indoor Studio rules, for bigger, commodious ones the spacious ‘hot pink’ Outdoor Studio is the place to be.

Currently on Julee's desk at the Indoor Studio. Photo by Dita.

Julee takes 5 weeks off every year to visit her parents in England. This is the time she spends to meditate, reflect and contemplate on the year spent and the time ahead...only to yearn to create more. Her fingertips itch and her mind overflows with the possibilities. She is back in 'heaven' when she starts Mosaicing again - creating magic by combining the sub-conscious with actuality. Mosaic to her is unique as a lot of thought, cognition and deliberation go into each piece because it is a slow, time consuming process. No wonder scratched knees, cut fingers or aching backs do not matter to her!

Julee with some of her Greek Goddess Flowers. Photo by Dita.
Her sheer hard work, persistence, incredible sense of colour and vivid imagination has created a niche for herself that is commendable. To see more of Julee’s work visit her website here. She has won several awards and her work has been published in many countries. She has recently exhibited at the prestigious International Exhibition of Contemporary Mosaic Art held at the Clauiano Art Exhibition Gallery Udine, Italy.  And the most exciting project that she is working on at present is for a New York based exhibition in April 2013 where she will be showcasing her Goddess Flower Sculptures - her vision of flowers based on the myths of the Seven Greek Goddess. You can take a sneak peek here.