I became aware of Donna Heart through the Hello Soul. Hello Business facebook community. She was an artist like me, trying to find her way to an artistic career. And also like me she had “been creative in one way or another all of [her] life.” I was immediately attracted to the art that she created because of the colors and organic shapes.
“I paint because I love to. I paint because my spirit needs it! I LOVE colour. I love texture. I love to let the painting evolve and grow and direct me, rather than planning too much. I believe in giving everything a red hot go, and I dont believe in mistakes.”
When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
Well I’ve always been a creative soul, but I’d have been far more inclined to call myself a ‘dabbler’ or a ‘crafter’ than an artist! That title was reserved for ‘real’ artists, not me. It wasn’t until three and a half years ago when I went through a fairly tumultuous time in my life that I turned to paint for a bit of ‘time-out’. It unwittingly became a form of therapy for me. I stopped comparing myself to others and gave myself permission to paint over something if I didn’t like it. It very quickly became obvious to me that the journey or the process was far more exciting than worrying about whether it would turn out ok or not. Ironically, when I stopped fretting over the final image, that seemed to take care of itself, and I did in fact manage to create paintings I was proud of!
What does it mean to live an authentic life?
For me living an authentic life is all about not going along with the status quo but charting my own course. It is a deep knowing that this one life I have to live is not a dress rehearsal. Change can be scary, but it is also the thing that keeps me striving to try new things, stretch my creative muscles and go places where I’ve never been before. It’s about being hungry for more and passionate about my own life. Bill Johnson says it wonderfully when he says “hunger releases a capacity for dreaming” I love that! For me it’s about constantly moving towards being the unique person I was created to be, always knowing that there is more to strive for…
What has been your most exciting moment as an artist?
I think being published for the first time in a magazine was pretty darned exciting! I had a 6 page spread in the Australian magazine ‘Artists Pallette” about 2 years ago. I was also recently chosen as a finalist for a local art prize and had my painting exhibited in the regional art gallery along side about 50 other fabulous artists. That was a great honour and a real buzz for me to see it hanging in that space.
How much time per week do you spend creating (rather than time spent promoting and running your business)
Being a single mum to two little sprouts means my time is limited. My youngest is at school three days a week, and so far this year those three days have almost entirely been devoted to painting. I find I am at my best creatively if I’m not tired and have uninterrupted time. I tend to use the evenings to do computer work, emailing, Facebook, blogging etc as I can accomplish those even with a bit of tiredness kicking in!
What is your favorite art supply, tool or technique?
Well, I have to say that discovering GOLDEN’s fluid acrylics has transformed my painting. It is not a brand that is very popular here in Australia, and there is also nothing that rivals it in other brands – so I’d definitely have to say those. I use my hands a lot too. I think they’re my favourite tool!
Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created? What is the story behind this piece?
I love all my paintings, but each differently. A bit like a mother with her different children I suppose! But I will share with you the piece that recently won the Mid West Art Prize (mentioned above).
Do you keep an inspiration board? What is on it and what inspires you?
I’ve only just started one a couple of months ago, so it’s a work in progress. But I have art from some of my recent favourites such as Angie Lewin, my friend ‘Skye and Starz’, Charlie Harper, a colour wheel of warm and cool colours made by me, Tsk Tsk, Christine Mason Miller wisdom and Jessica Swift, along with other bits and bobs…
What is your favorite art related book(s)?
I should probably start by saying something like “Hi, my name is Donna Heart, and I have an art book addiction!” Seriously! I’ll just mention a few of my faves… It all started with Kelly Rae’s book and went a bit out of control from there! Some of my most loved ones though are Print and Pattern, Unfurling, The War of Art (this is a must for all creatives), Life Paint and Passion, Hundertwasser, The Creative License (LOVE Danny Gregory), Angie Lewin’s Plants and Places, Charlie Harper, an illustrated life, Meet Me at Mikes by fellow aussie Pip Lincolne, The Creative Family ( Amanda Blake Soule is amazing) and most recently, Mati Rose’s Daring Adventures in Paint. See, I told you!
How do you recharge when your creativity hits the wall?
hmm that’s a good question… I have two responses to this question. Sometimes I just need to down tools and change direction. Often times I find I’m struggling with being creative because my mind just can’t let go of the fact that dinner needs to be made before the kids get home, or the floors need a darn good clean. The dog hasn’t been walked in a week, or there’s errands to run. So sometimes I just need to attend to other things, and I find once they’re out of the way I have space for dedicating purely to being creative again! Sometimes I need to find some fresh new inspiration – perhaps re-read one of my many books! Take my camera out on a walk and see what colours and images I can find. Other times I am so fatigued and tired that I know I won’t do anything decent, so I respectfully walk away. And then there are times when I have to stare the wall down! I simply plant my feet firmer on the ground and refuse to leave the easel. Change the music, dance around a bit sure, but I am learning the wily ways of resistance! Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art writes ” The professional has learned better. He respects Resistance. He knows that if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow. The professional knows that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello, you’re finished. The pro doesn’t even pick up the phone. He stays at work” So I suppose the answer is, sometimes I definitely do need to look elsewhere for inspiration, but other times I have to push through. The key is knowing the difference I suppose.
What advice can you offer those wanting to live a more creative life?
Just do it! Creativity is a balm for the soul. Once you start to satiate your thirst for it, there’s no turning back! Somehow, we each need to come to the deep realisation on our own that there is no-one else in the world who can create what we can create. There is no-one else on this planet with the same fingerprint, or mark as me or you. What each of us does is so unique and our families, our communities, our friends… They all need us to come alive and be the unique people we are created to be. Forget about being famous, or known. Knock down all the walls that say you’re unable, you’re too this or that, and just start. I like to say that there’s a Donna-shaped hole in the universe and only I can fill it – and I truly believe it’s the same for everyone.