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Breakfast with Anita

We’re off to the UK for Breakfast again this week, so I hope you like your toast browned on one side! Meet Anita Davies, prolific artist, poet, writer, blogger, and mother. I first encountered Anita’s work on the EDM SuperBlog. A year later, when Emma-Jane Rosenberg recommended Anita for a Breakfast guest, I could instantly bring to mind Anita’s work. She’s that good — as you’ll see for yourself. Chin-chin!

meCC: Please give us an intro to who you are, what you do, and your family headcount.
I am an artist. A published poet. I have held a monthly column in the Fenland Citizen focusing on local artists. I have held a weekly illustrated column in the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard where I spotlighted pages in my daily journals. I am a tutor, currently running a weekly adult workshop, giving private tuition and giving a weekly workshop in a village school with children.

I am also now an author, having recently published my summer project entitled Close to Home where I focused on the homes in three neighbouring villages, painting plein air sketches. The book is available for purchase through the Blurb bookstore.

My family and I live in Cambridgeshire, England, UK. Not in the city part but deep in the heart of the Fens where the skies are huge and the fields change with the seasons. I have two boys aged 10 and 17. It’s a big gap, I know, but after holding my first beautiful baby boy I didn’t believe I could love anyone so strongly and didn’t think it fair to try. Seven years later I felt I was ready and changed my mind. I was wrong…it is possible to love that deeply twice.

icedreflectionsCC: Tell us about your artwork and what you sell in your online shop.
I started to paint in 2003 and I paint anything and everything really. I love a challenge so there isn’t really a subject or medium I would turn away from — I dabble with everything. I am fairly well known for my paintings of roses and my glass works and enjoy painting both. My commissioned work seems to revolve mostly around portraiture and pets where I try to capture the subject’s character along with a good likeness. I’ve been fortunate to have sold pieces worldwide via my previous website, my blog, and word of mouth.

Everything I paint is for sale if it isn’t in my journals or commissioned and I am currently trying to get around to updating my Etsy shop with some pieces — it’s been on my to-do list for some time but I will get there. I’m also currently making some ACEO art to list in time for Christmas. For the past year or so I have been keeping a daily illustrated journal that has helped to ensure I am creative every day. It’s been a while since I worked on anything else, besides commission work; it’s too tempting to take my journals on location through the summer months but winter is approaching fast so the studio is looking most tempting!

cranberrywhip-eyecandy-soldCC: What prompted you to start a blog? What keeps you going?
I honestly can’t remember what prompted me to start my blog, my memory is a little erratic like that. I think I just visited one once and thought…I could do that!

My regular visitors keep me going, without a doubt. It is wonderful to have their support and feel I am speaking to someone rather than vacant airwaves when I type out my post for the day. I post EVERY day without fail; this actually works for me, I am best under pressure and knowing I have to post something each day urges me to do something creative even when I have very little time or energy…It’s a daily kick on the butt pushing me to be productive. I love blogging and I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have come to know through my blog.

max-soldCC: How did you become involved with EDM? What do you enjoy most about your affiliation?
Emma-Jane Rosenberg told me about EveryDayMatters [EDM] when we met for a sketch crawl date and I joined as soon as I got home. I have met some great people there. I think it is a wonderful spotlight for bloggers to unite and feel they have an audience to blog to. I have visited blogs before that have no comments at all and I admire that they still continue; I’m not sure I would post day in day out if I thought no one was looking. I’m sure this would effect my productivity too. Knowing someone will look encourages me to create and EDM provides a friendly and supportive platform.

dscf4491CC: Where do you do your creative work?
I started by working at the end of my dining room table. Lack of space prompted an outside studio, which was a huge building project and looks wonderful BUT it killed me to make the choice between my family and my art in the evenings — leaving them was very difficult for me. So, now I have a conservatory next to the open-plan dining room, kitchen, and lounge, smack bang in the heart of the home and I LOVE IT! I get so much more done and often create a journal page between peeling the spuds and basting a beef joint.

dscf4475CC: Do you have a schedule for your creative work?
AD: No. In my opinion, schedules create disappointment when they aren’t met so I simply ‘live’ art. If I get five minutes while the kettle boils, three hours while the house is empty or three minutes before darting out of the truck to run up the school and collect my youngest…I make the most of them. My journal goes EVERYWHERE with me.

If you threw a penny away each day throughout your life because it was worthless by the time you reached the ripe age of 70 you’d be over £25,000 worse off. I try to make the most of every moment, however insignificant it seems at the time and I am always pleased I did, no matter what the result, I feel I did something.

25may07-harrybCC: How has motherhood changed you creatively?
Motherhood has made me whole. I feel confident and loved enough to be myself, faults and all, which has opened so many creative avenues for me to explore!

CC: What do you struggle with most?
Hmmm, struggle…there’s a word! I guess I would have to say that I struggle most with my own creativity and the speed and abundance of it. I have a hundred ideas a day and I want to do them all.

lounge-29may07CC: Where do you find inspiration?
I am a thinker and a dreamer…Nothing is uninspiring to me, Everything holds an emotion…mystery…hidden beauty!

CC: What are your top 5 favorite blogs?
AD: That’s like asking me my favorite song…I have hundreds all for different reasons and moods. The most useful is the EDM SuperBlog because it gives me a variety of creativity in one single link, a quick fix with my morning cuppa before I head off to take Harry to school.

CC: What is your greatest indulgence?
The midnight hours, they are all mine! The house is silent and I can start to unravel all of those voices, ideas and notes in my head and file them into some kind of order. The earth is still and I am aware of my place on it and all the wonderful ways in which I am blessed. I can work and keep a single chain of thought and open the gates for ideas to come flooding through. I’m a night owl, always have been, it’s normal for me to climb into bed at 3 a.m. and be up again at 7:30 a.m. to start the day…although getting out of bed is a problem (I love my snooze button) and I am useless before black coffee hits my lips!05july08

CC: What are you reading right now?
(BLUSH) I’m a child at heart, I don’t read so much as look at pictures. I could look at pictures all day but my attention span is challenged by text…However, I love to write.

gs-final-soldCC: What advice would you offer to other mothers struggling to find the time and means to be more creative?
Don’t mentally separate the two: It shouldn’t be a choice between motherhood OR creativity. Combine them and be a creative mum. Okay, so you may well want to paint a realistic rendition of the Mona Lisa but if the day doesn’t allow for it don’t mope, excusing lack of creativity to time or the children, just be creative in a different way. Kids love to join in and offer some great inspiration and ideas.

Believe you are worth it: It may seem like just a few sketches or another long scarf to everyone else but it is i27october08mportant to you and you should be important to those you live with. Don’t be afraid to take time out, space alone to clear your mind of daily chores and allow yourself moments to be you, not Mum, not Wife, not cook…YOU!

Wanting time to yourself now and then doesn’t make you a bad mother, taking that time will make you a happier one!

CC: Very well said, Anita — thank you!

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    anita, you seem very grounded in your creative endeavors. thanks for stopping by. would love to hear more from you here! love your photo-realism and sketches that are terribly realistic, too! wow.

    November 7, 2008
  2. I got to know Anita and her work through the Everyday Matters group and love this interview! For those of us that need “to make things, ” it is so important to focus on the tiny bits of time that you have between your other responsibilities. An old book, now I’m sure out-of-print, inspired me when I needed some creative time, and had a full time career, and 3 babies. I recommend it if you can find it used: Jean Ray Laury Getting-It-All-Together-at Home Handbook.

    November 7, 2008
  3. E-J #

    CC: Do you have a schedule for your creative work?
    AD: No. In my opinion, schedules create disappointment when they aren’t met so I simply ‘live’ art.

    I love this quote.

    So great to see you featured here, Anita – and fun to get a peek inside that studio of yours!

    November 7, 2008
  4. Great article… Anita ‘forgot’ to mention what an inspiration she is, how she encourages new artists (like me) with a comment here a suggestion or a bit of praise there… she is WORLD famous, not only for her art but for her kind and generous spirit too. Count me as a fan … from Charleston SC USA…

    November 7, 2008
  5. Anita is simply “JOY” unleashed…a treasure, an inspiration, a friend.

    November 7, 2008
  6. Wow, I love that studio shot. Very inspiring for me while I conceptualize the process of building mine. Anita’s work is quite versatile. Thanks for sharing about this article in the EDM news group.

    November 7, 2008
  7. Wonderful interview! Anita is an inspiration to us all!

    November 8, 2008
  8. Anita,
    Aa ha, I relate very much with your work dynamics and set up. I have 4 kidlets and my studio area is at the end of the open room kitchen,dining area. yep it’s good to hear that I’m normal and I don’t have some attention deficit issue ( …gosh,.. in U.S too long!)
    I really know that making dinner,etc,etc,etc,etc… goes in between what ever piece of work I’m up to. It couldn’t work on a schedule as I’m with the kids full time. Interestingly, my kids everyday, all draw,glue,cut out without any prompting .
    Now I want to improve my studio area after seeing yours !!gorgeous.Also really enjoy your blogs and artwork, thank you for them:))

    November 9, 2008
  9. Juliet #

    I love your artwork, especially the wonderful pen and ink, watercolor drawings. They have such charm. In a society where recognition is still largely in the hands of galleries who continue to insist that one’s work be “limited to one or two styles” (quote from a recent gallery rejection), it is especially pleasing to see such a great variety of styles displayed in your work – all so well done and so pleasing to look at. Congratulations, and thank you!

    November 9, 2008
  10. welcome anita! very nice to learn more about you. and i very much agree with juliet. i love the variety in your work. i have a very short attention span and have a hard time concentrating on one thing for very long! now i have more of an excuse not to. off the check out EDM…

    November 9, 2008
  11. It’s a very interesting question…in the art world, an artist is expected to have a “voice” in the same way that a fiction writer should, correct? Although a writer’s voice can change dramatically from work to work. Hmmm — I need to mull this over some more.

    November 9, 2008

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