Being an artist isn’t so much a choice as a necessity. It is a lifestyle choice rather than a wise financial decision!
For most of Dawna’s life she was a tertiary teacher in art & design, ceramics & textiles. There came a ‘tipping point’- a decision that had to be acted upon to realise a life-long desire to work as
a full time practising artist.
It took five years to plan & undertake the transition from teacher to full time artist.
A year spent working in Saudi Arabia earned Dawna the funds to kick-start the studio build, an additional two years to design & manage the building of the studio while continuing to teach,
then finally a move into the studio space & the establishment of a series of workshops & master
classes delivered in the studio enabled Dawna to explore & focus on the direction for her own work.
She developed the processes, work practices & daily rituals necessary to maintain momentum as a full time practising artist working in isolation in the studio.
A beautiful Enjay printing press was installed in the studio, print tables were built & equipment gathered to work in print, works on paper, encaustics & textile disciplines, often in combination.
Finally in 2013, Dawna began life as a full time practising artist, after fifty years spent establishing
a teaching career to generate income, creating a home & raising a family!
To Dawna’s surprise, she discovered that most galleries are not interested in artists who begin their art practice later in life. They seek younger artists who they feel will be a longer term investment. They perceive the younger artist to be more exciting - more ‘cutting edge’. That the younger artist’s technical skills & aesthetics are still in the early development phase is of small concern.
There is room for both though. It is a generalisation, indeed a misconception that the mature artist is not a worthy investment.
And so, Dawna will continue to develop her work, challenge herself, & work outside her comfort zone. Work that is authentic, sustainable & developed over a long period of time is her goal.
Dawna states; “If I have at least another twenty good years to make art, you may be certain that having created the space & time to do that, I will be giving it my full attention!”