Filled with vibrant swirls of colour and inspired by womanhood, motherhood and birth mother artist Arna Baartz lives and breathes creativity. I am so excited to finally bring you this interview Arna did for me all the way back in February sharing with us her practice and how she balances art and motherhood to live an abundant and authentic life.
Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to create?
I am inspired by desire to expand my whole self, my creative self, my emotional and spiritual self and even my physical capacity to understand this amazing universe! Art helps me do this, different colours cause me to think different thoughts and ask unusual questions and as I paint I feel and hear the answers to many of my questions. Some work is extremely conceptual whilst other pieces are gentle and more meditative. Life inspires me, magic and mystery!
Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?
I have eight children aged from 28 down to 7, 6 boys and two daughters. I had babies at 17 and it has been an extraordinary journey. Motherhood has been in itself, a creative journey of personal development. Art is something i was always able to do with my children and really the one thing that seemed to work for all of us! Messy, fun, activities that sometimes evolved into truly magnificent collaborative artworks.
I am very proud of my beautiful children in all their diversity, they have and continue to bring me into an expanded place of love and awareness.
Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?
Yes I do, all my parenting regrets and guilt of which I had a lot has been processed through the use of art. I don't think my artistic process would be the same at all if I hadn't had children. I started making art to sell when I was about 20 yrs old and it was then all inspired by pregnancy, breastfeeding and birth, this really helped me express my fascination for the feminine principle and inspired the use of colour in a connected therapeutic way, the feelings of woman, motherhood and birth are so powerful.
Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time just for yourself?
My children have always been involved in my artistic process, they make art at the same time I make art they make mess that I paint around! These kids are so creative and are amazing teachers, not only of self-expression but also of looseness and individual style. some of my children are natural graphic designer, other abstract phenomenons, some sketchers extraordinaire, sculptors too, I learn a hell of a lot watching the way my kids let go to the medium they choose!
Having said this I also make time to create for myself, and this is important, time where I can question my process and hear the insight that comes from my work. Time to be inspired by something majestic that I cant actually explain, opening the channel to a creative force powerful. wonderful and sometimes scary!
Describe to us your work space. Where do you create?
I create everywhere in my house, in my bed, on the veranda, in my office out in the backyard down in the shed, the kids just meander around creating as they go too. I have now established a studio away from home where the kids don't create, this is more my own space.
What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?
I think being a mother gives us a unique opportunity to enter our creative process with an extremely open channel. We must open in so many ways on all levels to give birth, there is such power in Motherhood. WOMAN is divine and expansive. Whether we take the opportunity to open and receive the energy is up to us but we do have the option. This brings something wild and wonderful to my world and work that I am truly excited about.
What challenges does it bring?
Well the challenges I feel about motherhood and art are just the challenges any mother probably feels, the noise level and chaos sometimes gets to me and I get stressed and overwhelmed then can't create very well. If I am not careful I could (and have been in the past) be resentful, as though the kids are stopping me from making art. But with my personal development practice I KNOW that it is only me not settling into the present and relaxing my body heart and mind that is stopping me. You have to go with the ebb and flow you know... recognising when the energy is there and when it is quiet time.
Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?
It is as I said previously about being very present and aware in my life so that I recognise when to rest and when to work, when it is just playful art and when something more serious is occurring. self-awareness is key to managing anything but particularly other human beings! Emotional intelligence development is key! I also promote my children's art this helps in bringing balance and purpose to the whole family art affair!. There is so much to be gained from allowing ourselves to love a child's unsophisticated but extraordinarily evocative marks (see the eagles attached).
Self care and having independent interests is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?
Yes because being an artist allows me to see outside of boxes, I am not locked into anyone else opinion of who i am or who they think i should be. I am used to being seen as strange or rebellious , it is part of my own artistic identity, so i offer this to my children the opportunity to really imagine anything they want and create it. Art is a fantastic metaphor for deliberate creation! It benefits my parenting because I am not as scared by the unexpected and I know that one awful layer of paint can very well transform quickly into something awesome ALSO sometimes you just have to let go and art teaches me that too!!