Local artist Georgia Zweep shared a little piece of her daily routine and insights into her creative process with us.
What is your earliest memory of art/ being creative?
There was a lot of making in my childhood. I can think of many, but if you just need one: My Oma (Dutch grandmother) had me sewing and knitting from about five years and we worked on and exchanged many projects over the years. For her it was all about the process and not the destination. Mistakes were funny diversions, not permanent setbacks. Such an important lesson. My mother says that I was obsessed with drawing neat circles while I was still a toddler and I recall genuine praise for drawing and painting at school from age four. I always had some sort of project going. A big break through was age eight when I worked out how to make things look three dimensional with shading! I also recall collecting lichen on bush walks with my parents so Mum could dye sheep’s wool she would spin for knitting, and I would make little weavings from the left overs.
What is your artistic background/education?
I went to art school straight from school. I earned a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) at City Art Institute as it was known at the time. (Most people know it as COFA, but it has just changed its name again to UNSW Art & Design). When I finished there I actually put my paints away and did an economics degree. At that time, I loved making art but felt an unbearable pressure to chose a style or to be a product. I needed to step away in order to find clarity. For years I just made art for myself, family and friends and I worked with so many materials. But with time I became more focused, more certain, until I reached this point, where I paint full time. So, a big part of my background and education is the school of life. And I am still learning!
What are your favorite mediums?
I do like to work with different materials. It depends on how I am feeling and what I want to communicate. Drawing is so direct and the image can be so subtle. Drawing is also a great starting point for all projects. Water colour is mercurial, slightly unpredictable and the colours are great. Textiles appeal as they are tactile and sewing is meditative and it has been the principal artistic form for women for millennia. But oil paint is my big thing. It has such a proud history and is so versatile, but it has secrets that aren’t revealed without much practice. Oils can be unwieldy and there are so many techniques to master but when it all comes together it feels like magic.
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature is really important to me. I have a deep connection to the ocean and I love the sky and deep space too. Each of these elements in nature – wave or cloud or star – is unique but also part of an enormous whole. They cannot exist in isolation. And nature is such a mysterious paradox: beautiful and calming but also fierce and brutal. I think people can be like this too. What I try to do is to tap into these perceptions about nature and the human condition and share my thoughts through the art that I make. That said, I am a big believer in 95% perspiration, 5% inspiration. Inspiration comes, but it must find you working.
Who are your mentors?
To be honest, I don’t have a real, live mentor. But I am always interested in wise and inspirational thoughts and writings. Not just from creative people but from philosophers and scientists as well. If I am not painting, I am probably reading something.
What is your studio routine / what is your process for creating?
My studio routine starts before I get there. Every morning I swim laps in the ocean pool at Bronte. I do this all year round. It clears my head and leaves me revitalised and ready for work. My studio is nearby and I go straight there after my swim. When I get to the studio I open the window wide, light incense or a candle and start working. Some days I might add music and coffee, but apart from that, no mucking around. I keep distractions to a minimum – there is no phone line or computer in the studio. It is just me and the work all day. At the end of the day I pack everything away and make sure everything is in order and then I lay out a note or some other reminder of what I will be doing the next day so that when I return, I can dive right in again. Routine is the best safeguard against procrastination and creative block.