Portraying the Strength in Women
Gaye Tait is currently travelling the Queensland Coast on a motor yacht; breathing fresh life into her art practice and developing her skills further through experimenting with fusing different styles and techniques that create her very unique and stand-out works.
What is the most exciting thing you have been involved in as an artist? ~ One of the most exciting times as an artist was when I was asked to present art workshops for young people with disabilities at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery; the dedication and delightful humour these young people displayed has stayed with me and encouraged me in times of doubt about my work.
Also, I was so excited to have been selected as a finalist in the Dalgety Outback Travelling Exhibition in NSW early in my art practice and the Lethbridge 10 000 small scale art award in 2017 and in 2015 I was selected as joint prize winner in the Foot Square Competition, at Aspire Gallery in Paddington.
When did you become a practicing artist and what do you specialise in? ~ I have been painting for many years but on an on and off again basis because work and family became my priority. Now having the time to devote myself to my life long passion I have thrown myself into the art world. I am a late bloomer. I began studying a Bachelor of Fine Art as a mature age student completing the first two years. I hope to enrol again in the near future to finish my last year but at the moment I am travelling with my husband by motor yacht along the Queensland Coast.
The human face has intrigued me since an early age. I have vivid memories as a young child drawing profiles of women. Women are a recurring subject in my artwork. Expressions and emotions interest me greatly.
How do you plan and develop a new body of work? ~ I think about art most of the time. It may be a scene, a comment, a look or an emotion. I am not great at planning and I often start a work with a concept in mind, but end up with something quite different than the original idea. I go with my emotions knowing when something is worthwhile to pursue.
Where do you find inspiration? ~ I am inspired by the everyday. I am particularly drawn to societies’ attitude to young single mothers. I feel the young are much maligned on our society and should be recognised for their successes rather than their failures. Domestic violence concerns me and the struggles that many women endure.
I hope my work is successful in portraying the strength of women. Strong women played a big part in my upbringing and the result being that I found security and trust with the women in my life. I am a thinker and a watcher. Society intrigues, saddens, delights and enlightens me.
What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? ~ Like most women finding time. Women play many roles during their lifetime and at different times certain aspects of these roles can be all consuming. With work, motherhood, grandchildren, ageing parents, time can be short. When I think of the sheer physicality that goes with trying to be a successful artist for women it is little wonder that success does not come easily to many.
Self doubt is an obstacle experienced by many women as well. Having confidence in your work can be difficult to achieve for many women unless they have a supportive environment. I am astounded by the large number of women who are creating magnificent art yet downplay their considerable skills.
What does success mean to you? ~ At different times of my life success has meant different things. Recognition is always rewarding and is what keeps a lot of artists going. Selling work is financially rewarding enabling most artists to replenish their art supplies so they can create again. Success to me now is what do I get out of art? Is it fulfilling? Am I developing my skills or am I stuck? Is my work relevant to society? Do I give? Do I share my skills with others? Do I care what others may think or am I at peace with how I create?
Success to me at my stage of life is having the courage to push myself that little bit further. It is also not being closed minded and being brave enough to tackle new concepts.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? ~ I am travelling at the moment in our motor yacht along the Queensland Coast. This is the time I can reflect on my work and be able to further develop my skills. Drawing is important so I am concentrating on limiting myself to pencils and watercolour. Not having much space on the boat for paint, easels and all that goes with art has made me rethink what I want to achieve.
Living a basic life on board has made me want to keep my art simple and emotionally charging. Less is more they say so here goes.
Photography and digital art intrigues me and is a way of creating that is achievable while travelling. Blending my drawings and paintings with photography into digital collages fascinates me so I plan on further developing in this area.
Above all I want to keep learning.
Who was your first big influence when you started to get your work out there? ~ I have been influenced by many, many artists over the years Van Gogh, Picasso, Amedeo Modiglian, Lionel Smit, Ben Quilty, Guy Morgan, Amy Sherald, Tracey Dodds, Nick Runge, Ali Cavanaugh,
As mentioned before I have been influenced by the strong women I see, read about and interact with. My close network of friends are an inspiration in the art they create.
Other students while studying. I have found their determination and dedication awe inspiring as well as their support and advice.
And, also most importantly art groups. I have found so many inspiring artists in these groups who have encouraged me and offered advice that I have found invaluable.
What do you think are the first steps today's emerging artists should take? ~ Never stop developing your skills. Identify your weaknesses and strengths. Keep showing your work. Join group exhibitions. Use social media. Believe in yourself. Work hard. Develop a thick skin. Understand that not everyone will like your work. Look after yourself. Make sure you have time to relax, socialise, eat well and exercise. Join art groups. Find mentors who offer constructive criticism.