Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shani Nottingham -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Shani Nottingham.  Here is her story:

HIYA! My name is Shani (rhymes with rainy). I am a creative/blogger, living in rural Central West NSW Australia. 

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I try to live a creative, happy, content life. I regularly exhibit, am quite partial to doing challenges on Instagram, I do commissions and collaborations, create content for social media, host creative workshops (mainly watercolour and drawing), blog sometimes (not as often as I should), and am generally always creating and making. I am currently wrangling with technology, and refreshing my website and updating my little online shop… and learning photoshop.

I am a bit sporadic with my sketchbooking. I will use one lots and lots, and then not so much again. I tend to work directly on each piece with no idea what I am doing a lot of the time! I should probably use sketchbooks more often, I might make less mistakes!



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I mainly use my sketchbooks when I am traveling, because without something to draw in I feel a bit insecure and naked. It is like a protective blanky, knowing I have it with me to use at any moment. I draw everyday, so if I do not have paper and sketchpads at hand, then naturally, the sketchbook is the next thing I grab.

I often stick things into my sketchbooks too…bits I pick up, random stuff.


I like the story of my whole life, not just my creative journey, that my sketchbooks tell. They are a real insight into the times in life when I have been short of time (studying, breeding etc) and what has been influencing me. 

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I have been keeping sketchbooks for as long as I can remember. Since High school!

I used to go camping with my family, and traveling, and I always had a cheap little visual art diary to draw in. At the end of year 12, when I went traveling, I took one with me. When I went overseas for a few years, backpacking etc, I was never without one.

I feel like they are things, along with a camera, that I have ALWAYS lugged around in a bag, backpack, handbag…. 



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I completed a Sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project based in America last year, and this revived my joy in the process of sketchbooks, and then I did one on Instagram. And I was hooked again. It keeps happening! Cannot imagine that it will stop anytime soon.

I find inspiration in my garden, where I live, Pinterest, other people on social media, old books... I am a real bowerbird. I collect images like crazy. My walls in my studio are COVERED in visual imagery I love. There is art all over my house… I am really needy when it comes to stimulation. I need fresh input all he time. Luckily, I am easily inspired. It is actually the filtering and editing of ideas I find much, much harder.



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I work predominately in watercolours, with ink and gouache sometimes, or pencil. But I also collage (I am the Founder of a group on facebook called The Collage Club) sporadically! I majored in Photography at uni, along with plant and wildlife illustration, and I still have a huge passion for photography.


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I actually struggle a lot with knowing what it is I should be doing, what is my style, because I jump all over the place with my mediums and my styles. When I am having fun with it, I choose to think, oh well, Picasso had lots of styles too! People tell me I DO have a style, but then when I go and do something different..like neutral soft colours… I get lots of WTF! kind of comments! So it does sometimes worry me. As I have been on social media longer, lots of “experts” tell me that when you are so varied it confuses your audience and muddies your message. That it is better not to be so random. Unfortunately … I just get bored doing similar things, and cannot help myself. If I am honest, I think I will always be this way! 


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

In sketchbooks though, I admit I am pretty old school. Pencils, lead, inkpen!

If you're just starting out, have faith in yourself. Keep practicing, keep experimenting. Try not to be too influenced by what others are doing. Turn off the phone, the screen, and get back to the base kinesthetic joy of drawing. Draw anything and everything.


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry


Thank you, Shani, for sharing your story here with us today.

Dear readers, you can see more of Shani's work and connect with her on her:
Blog
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Shop
Email: rarepearstudio@yahoo.com




Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.


And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews


*Photos in this post © Shani Nottingham. Used with permission.

6 comments:

  1. What an utterly delightful post!
    Shani, don't let those "experts" squelch your exuberance!
    Your work is fun, joy filled and beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing your story here.
    xo

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Karen! I love Shani's perspective and the permission that she's giving us, too, to ignore what the "experts" have to say. May we all be as bold!

      xo

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  2. Shani you are multi-talented! Thank you for sharing your sketchbooks! Thank you to you Anne for introducing another artist who uses a sketchbook! :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed meeting Shani! Hope you're finding some time for your own creating, Simone!

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  3. I understand Shani's need to explore other mediums to avoid boredom. I find this true in my own creative endeavors. I'm not looking for the approval of others. I have to satisfy my own soul. I sense this same attitude in Shani, and I applaud her for it. Go Shani! You've got talent, so be fearless. xo

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    Replies
    1. I love this: "I'm not looking for the approval of others. I have to satisfy my own soul". Perfectly put, Nancy.

      xo

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