Monday, July 27, 2015

Meet An Artist - Tracey Fletcher King

An artist, illustrator and teacher, Tracey Fletcher King from Queensland, breathes life into all things simple, small, ordinary and omnipresent offering them a new lease of life! One would never imagine they could be so beautiful unless one sees it through Tracey’s eyes! Her ability to turn even a regular kitchen gadget or a bottle of mineral water into a piece of art has what has always amused me. Each week I could see a household item turned into gorgeous art. So here’s Tracey Fletcher King for you my lovely readers…

Tracey Fletcher King

Deepa: Tell us something about yourself…your family, background, education etc.

Tracey: I am a painter, illustrator and teacher and have been creative in some form or another for as long as I can remember. I studied art and education at university and went on to teach art in schools teaching all ages, from 4 year olds through to some teaching at university level. I hold post graduate qualifications in curriculum and have a Masters degree specializing in creativity theory and over the years have taught workshops and exhibited my art in galleries and through different art groups I have been a part of. Now I mainly work as an illustrator, though I also sell my paintings, prints and cards of my work and I teach online, not to mention blogging, which I love a huge amount as it is the thing that brings all the creative parts of my life together somehow. 


Deepa: How did your journey as an artist begin? Who is your inspiration? Who taught or inspired you to indulge in art?

Tracey: I have always been creative and my favourite present growing up was a set of crayons which had a million colours and came from my uncle who is an architect and designer. He is a constant inspiration, as is my father who paints in oils, my aunt who is a photographer and writer, I had a grandfather who wrote in his spare time, and a lot of amazing teachers and people who have influenced me and guided meaning the way. I find that I am inspired by so many people and things that it is a bit embarrassing. It is like I see the world in terms of painting and it is hard to turn that off sometimes and I am lucky that through blogging I have found people who understand creativity and the thought processes that go with it. 


Deepa: From what I gather, you indulge in watercolours the most…Does that make it your favourite medium?

Tracey: I love drawing more than anything. It drives everything I do and I have sketchbooks that I work in constantly that are just for me and that I don't share. The work I do share tends to be in ink and watercolour as it is a medium that lends itself to working with drawing well and it is so unpredictable, which I love. I really like that it can go horribly wrong and that I can't control it because that means lots of fun things can happen. When I was studying creativity theory I realized that I had been taking the wrong approach and trying to learn it all and control it, and now I try to push things and enjoy not mastering things. It has freed me up so much and made the whole process fun instead of stressful.


Deepa: The work that you do in your sketchbooks that you don’t share, as you mentioned above…are they different from your usual works (that we all distinguish as ‘Tracey Fletcher King Works’’)?

Tracey: They are different and are a lot more experimental and include a lot of notes and writing as well. They are a continuation of sketchbooks I have kept since I was at university studying art 30 years ago. They are more working books and a place for me to record ideas and work out thoughts and processes, as well as to record what I am thinking about etc. For example during my treatment for cancer they were invaluable and had a lot of drawings of medication, IV stands, medical machines etc and were quite dark and lots of greys and blacks rather than my usual bright colours, plus they had lots of writing and I recorded a lot of my fears and worries. They reflected how difficult that time was and it helped enormously, but I would never feel comfortable sharing them and in fact they can be hard to look back on now. It is invaluable to have a private creative space that you never have to worry about making mistakes, or over sharing, where you can just try things and do whatever you like. 


Deepa: Your subjects are everyday objects which are unique in itself for being simplistic…which is quite interesting to be seen in a different light…what is your motivation behind such themes and how do you decide your subjects?

Tracey: I like to draw from things around me because I like to illustrate my life and things that interest me. I know the objects intimately and they have meaning to me so they work on a different level. I like to find the interesting things in my immediate environment because it helps me to be more aware of what is there. To be more present in a way and not just look for things that are worth recording, that is important. I don't believe in editing an object's worthiness to be painted. If it exists it can be drawn and painted and it means you never run out of things to paint. It is endless and it makes you more aware of your environment. A trip to the grocery shop can be inspiring; putting away my daughter's toys when she was small may made me stop and look at a toy as a possibility, or a flower I see on a walk. The whole day becomes one long creative possibility.


Deepa: Are you in any way influenced by artists’ like Andy Warhol (for recreating omni present objects)?

Tracey: I am not very influenced by other artists like Warhol. I love reading about contemporary artists and still read art theory regularly, but my work is just my work. I try to record my day visually and see what grabs my attention. I love going to our galleries, and visit regularly, and have several artists that I really love, not to mention I have a collection of art books and artist biographies that I read often, but it is more about immersing myself in the things that interest me, rather than them influencing me directly. I just like anything art, illustration or design related really. It is as simple as that.


Deepa: How is your online teaching experience? Please do share with us some interesting incident.

Tracey: I am fairly new to online teaching and it has been a very steep learning curve. The planning is the same as teaching in person, but the filming was a challenge at first as I am not great with technology, but I am getting better at that, and I actually enjoy the experience now. The actual teaching is surprisingly similar in a lot of ways, though the different time zones can present a challenge. The biggest challenge has been teaching student for whom English is a second language, and in one case a student spoke no English so we communicated via google translate which led to some very odd conversations thanks to dodgy translating. It all worked out and she created amazing work, but some of the translations were hilarious.

Deepa: You said that you sell art online…how good are you in business? I have always heard that people intrinsically artistic aren’t good in business…do you agree? What’s your take on that? What is your advice?

Tracey: I am not great at the business side as I tend to lose interest a bit at times. I am in the middle of setting up on online store to streamline the online processes. As it stands I will sell prints and cards etc when people enquire, but I have never set up an actual online store. I have usually sold a lot in person through galleries and artists collectives, and have struggled to keep up with demand so have never pursued the online stores very much, but I am getting my act together and going down that road as well now. I find it easier to be organised and more business-like in my approach to my illustration work and am a lot more organised in my approach. I think that is because the illustration side has started a lot later and I learnt a lot from my experiences selling my art. I am trying to get them both working the same at the moment but it is a struggle to find the time sometimes. I would rather be painting and that is why I think so many online creative aren’t great at business. We usually have things we would rather do, like draw or paint!


Deepa: “…I realised that I had been taking the wrong approach and trying to learn it all and control it, and now I try to push things and enjoy not mastering things. It has freed me up so much and made the whole process fun instead of stressful.”
(I think even I have that tendency to control things so do many other artists’ who are yet to free themselves up!)
Would you like to enlighten us on how you achieved that?

Tracey: I spent a lot of time telling myself that I needed to understand all the processes, and the details before I could say that I was good at something. I looked for solutions instead of giving things a go myself first. The internet is a blessing and a distraction as it is easy to look up how to do something instead of giving it a go yourself. There are so many experts online and you can start to doubt yourself and get confused. I made a conscious decision to not worry about details and get caught up in details and have a go and see what happens. My perfume bottles and the bleeding colours came out of an accident and I love that effect now, and if I was sticking to the rules of watercolour, and being uptight I would never have played with it. So it is about setting aside time to play and try things and to accept mistakes. Look at them and ask yourself what you can turn it into… work with whatever happens. Sometimes it works out beautifully, and others it is a disaster, but most of the time it works beautifully! 


Deepa: I had seen images of the Cuppa Project and it was quite fascinating. Can you share what that project was about and what was your experience like?

Tracey: In 2013 I started a project called The Cuppa With Friends Project which involves people sending me photos of their teacups and mugs and I draw and paint them. I was doing one every day when I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and it was impossible to keep that up as I underwent aggressive treatment for the next year, but every now and again I would revisit the project and do some more. It has taken me a while to get back into it fairly regularly, and I enjoy the challenge of creating different artworks on a small scale in a limited amount of time. I set a limit of 30 mins to spend on them so I don’t get too caught up. It is a great warm up, or wind down activity in the studio, and I love getting new ones to add to the pile so I always have one that inspires me when I flick through looking for one to paint. At last count I had completed 69 of them and I work on them when I can squeeze them into my schedule. I love the challenge of different mugs and cups and enjoy the stories that people send me telling me why they are special to them… it really does feel like I am having a cup of tea or coffee and connecting with them through painting their mugs and cups. I have people send me mugs and cups regularly and if you would like to be part of the project then email me a photo of a mug or cup that you love. T doesn’t have to be fancy, or special, just one you like…  the page with more information can be found at and you can email photos to


Deepa: Do you attend/conduct live workshops? How is it different from online ones? Which needs more preparation? How does it enhance you as an artist? 

Tracey: Online workshops need more preparation as you have to think ahead to try to anticipate what problems and questions might ask, whereas in a live class you can answer and adapt the class as they ask questions. I can draw on my vast experience in teaching, education and the many years at university studying art and so it is quite natural to adapt as I go. Without that experience and all the years of study into art curriculum and creativity theory that would be much harder.  Both take their toll on your artwork as they are time consuming to both prepare and then conduct. It is good to make sure there are spaces between doing them so you have time to get back into the groove of your own work.


Deepa: Which book is your “Bible” as far as art is concerned? Who are you favourite artist(s’)? Whose works can be seen hanging in your living room? 

Tracey: I have several art manual type books, though I don’t often look at them. I wouldn’t say that I have a bible to tell you the truth. There are some artists that I like very much. I love Australian artists Ben Quilty, William Robinson, John Olsen and Del Kathryn Barton. They are all very different but I love them all the same. I have several different works on my walls. I own several by and artist called Jack Oudyn who I adore, and Leigh Camilleri, as well as fellow artists I have met online such as Marjorie Thompson, Kristin Dudish, Sandra Busby, Yvonne Kennedy, Denise Allan and Nic Mclean to just name a few.


Deepa: Have you ever visited India? Have you come across Indian art/artists’? Any personal likes or favourites?

Tracey: I haven’t visited India, though my husband has and he loved it. I am not very familiar with Indian art, though there are several bloggers who I have enjoyed meeting immensely, and is one of the reasons I really enjoy your blog as it is introducing me to so many amazing artists and the culture and architecture… love the sense of colour I see coming through more than anything though.


Deepa: A tip/technique/an advice you would like to share with the readers.

Tracey: My best advice is to not get caught up in creating finished products all the time. Some of the things you draw and paint should be fun, or for play. We get bombarded by finished work as most people like to share the things they are proud of, and we don’t get to see the piles of work that was discarded for whatever reason. Sometimes it is great fun to forget about all of that so you can see what risks you are willing to take if you don’t have that pressure of sharing all of your work.


Social media sites where my readers can connect with you:

I would like to thank Tracey from the bottom of my heart for having done this interview even when she was on vacation and spending her days with family. Thank you so much Tracey…May Almighty shower you all the health and happiness and wishing you the very best in all your future endeavours.

Dear Friends, Hope you enjoyed reading about Tracey as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you…
Thank you for dropping by and leaving your words of encouragement, support and love as always. :)

please do not use the copyright images/content without the written consent of the artist/author. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In The Wilderness

There are times when you ponder before creating something and there are times when you don't give a single thought but just go with the flow. This is something done in the latter manner in a matter of a few minutes. The only time that it took was for the masking fluid to dry. There have been times when my intuition has taken me to a whole new level; a different genre and dimension never thought of...but this one seems pretty kiddish and that's what I love about it! Sometimes it's great fun to feel like a child - A child at play! 

Acrylic Inks, 8 1/8 x 11 3/4 inches

In the wilderness
when things seep in
amid thickening greens
vast blue and earthy browns
I love to live my life
in all its fullness!

Linking it to PPF!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rite of Passage

Curator Kanchi Mehta’s ‘Rite of Passage’ is an exhibition par excellence from the usual ones I have been witnessing for some time now. Happening in the silent, serene and dreamy locale of Fort Kochi in the gallery Art*ry, ‘Rite of Passage’ is sailing smooth while presenting stunning adventure in the form of the presented art works.

About ‘Rite of Passage’

A rite of passage is a ceremony and marks the transition from one phase of life to another. It is an internal (as well as eternal) journey of evolution one must go through to pierce into a new role. This could be with reference to birth, beginnings, relationships, endings, and even death. This anthropological term and concept arose as a part of social obligations, when rituals were (and still are) performed when adolescents reached puberty, or when a king would be enthroned or when a woman would become a mother. However, this term marks a milestone at every step in our lives, whether it is trauma, re-location, revelation or love. This passage from one experience to another is enough to alter one’s perception of life as it was, into a re-coded transformation.

Featuring Artists:

Rithika Merchant
Arundhati Saikia
Kedar DK
Shivani Gupta & Corinne Adams
Kalidas Mhamal
Ratna Khanna

As I stepped into Art*ry with my friend, we were greeted by the pleasant Gallery Manager, Edwin David Sam, with whom I had spoken over the phone a few days back to check on the exhibition. He then retired allowing us to ourselves while we slowly and gradually walked from one frame to another. Later, he did join to brief me with the details wherever I needed one.

Rithika Merchant took me by surprise into her realm of myth, history and culture…it was pure fantasy for me almost surreal an experience to see, imbibe and move through her paintings. Each had a mythical story to share…something new for me. It was most appealing for one, I love myths and legends. And second, for all the nuances each art held…even a couple of the canvas was arranged in 'tangram-like-piece' manner. Each element in the painting was entwined in some form with the other either by vines, roots and emotion. It definitely does the same to the onlooker too!



Arundhati Saikia turned out to be one of my favourites as well since her art deals with miniature form (people who have been following me would know that am extremely fond of miniatures). It’s inspired from centuries old Assam miniatures but the subjects are interlaced with modern and the traditional. The beautifully patterned window that opens onto the tranquil nature, the blue Mahavidya with one leg on the lotus, the animals on the spreads and the walls, the dreamy spaces with minute intricate patterns, the perspective of each frame that it presents were all exciting to gaze at. To top it all they were painted on silk! You could make out the fine texture of the fabric and that really sensationalized me!!! There was a kind of newness to it as referred in the Artist statement that the “painted space is a hybrid.”





Kedar DK is one genius I would like to meet someday (not that I wouldn’t want to meet the others!!!). One has to see his work to understand my statement! ‘Babylon’ is a magnum opus sort of work; I haven’t yet seen his other works though.

It says: “‘Babylon’ portrays human ethics which have been recognized as the parameter of human morale for centuries.” The question he “poses is the relevance of these traits in the current context, be it culture, society, politics and religion.”

Huge, filled with minute details of terror, horror, grief, pain, torture, dark emotions…it is something one would want to stand still and look at to really grasp the intentions. On the side wall, there were two of his miniatures as well depicting the duality of the same space. I had to enquire about the artist and I was totally taken aback when Edwin mentioned that the artist is just 27 years old!!! I expected a much elderly man to have portrayed the canvas with such intensity!




Kedar Babylon-HuesnShades



‘Threaded Whisperers’ by Shivani Gupta, the Photographer and Corinne Elysse Adams, the Story collector and Songstress is a visual treat as they seem to not only narrate a story of the hills and it’s inhabitants but sings their way through sheer poetic touch to the depictions.






Kalidas Mhamal presents ever day objects with certain dates on it; on fabulous papers yellowed around the edges, beautifully framed. Their presentation is done with care and is appealing. It did remind me of Andy Warhol who had done some exceptional art on omni present subjects.


Ratna Khanna’s works were minimalistic and as the note says she is interested in contextual landscape; which for her is a medium rather than a genre of art.

“Through her explorations, she contemplates issues concerning the built environment, geography, un/settlement, displacement, design, ambiguity and fantasy.”

If you are someone like me who tends to be aesthetically inclined, Ms. Khanna’s work was difficult for me to grasp.


The exhibition is currently running in Art*ry Gallery, Hotel Fort Manor, Fort Kochi.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Orange Sky

Finally it is the last prompt of this season of  SOC. Thanks Kristin for this wonderful opportunity.. it has been great as always and an amazing learning experience as well! 

Color prompt: 1 Orange + 1 Orange + 1 Blue

Acrylic paint and ink
Canson Aquarelle, 8 1/8"X 11 3/4", 300gsm

The Orange sky
to rub in 
the blue.
Warm turning cool
cool turning warm...
they were...
that's how
they were
Meant To Be!

Linking it to SOC

Friday, July 10, 2015

Greens and Pink

"If people want to make war, they should make a color war, 
and paint each others' cities up in the night in pinks and greens."
- Yoko Ono

Isn't that a wonderful quote!!!

The colour prompt for this week's SOC challenge is:

1 Green + 1 Green + 1 Pink

It's been a lovely and colourful journey and there's only one more week to go for the SOC to come to an end this season! :)


Greens and Pink
Acrylic inks - Brilliant Green, Apple Green and Mix of White and Red
Canson Aquarelle, 300gsm

Flowing drifting greens
Sways and stirs
Balancing the pink blooms,
Divine creations…
That adorn the Lotus Feet!

Aren't we just like these blossoms!? Offerings to God from God and yet we don't really realize Him as we ought to! It's perhaps those instances in life when one feels how small one is when facing galactic situations that one really realizes how humble and helpless one can be! I am not facing any such problems (to friends who go concerned! :) ) but I am speaking in general terms. This discussion comes up several times when I meet some of my just jotting down my thoughts here for my blogger friends to ponder. :)

It's from a picture I came across in Google and I made a version of mine here! I do store beautiful and amazing pictures, in a folder, so that it could inspire me as and when I want! I think almost all of us, artists', do that.

Linking it the post to SOC and PPF :)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Bride

Tangy Tuesday Picks

"Happy Girls are the prettiest"
Audrey Hepburn

Any bride is ever so gorgeous a being the wedding day that all eyes are set tight on her save anything else! Brides are always a fascination to be watched at (and to have been one is no less a fascination too!). The adornments both inward and outward  places her in a kind of magical realm where she would rule, definitely, even if for a short span! :)

The Bride (in all bling!!!)
Acrylic Inks - Crimson, Scarlet and Gold
Canson Aquarelle paper - 300gsm

When this week's color was mentioned as RED+RED+METALLIC, the instant thought was that of an Indian bride! That got me thinking about other brides in our treasure trove of arts of the Masters! There are a good number of brides being painted and what stuck me recently from the book I was reading was two of the paintings which coherently depicts the time of Art Nouveau* and the inner workings of the artists. My bride has no connection with the mentioned paintings though, for she is as real as she can be in the present world! The bride all dressed up and submerged in gold! The bride of the times! The picture is referred from Jodha Akbar (movie).

The Three Brides - Jan Toorop

The lean and lanky figures with intricate patterns and lines around, the colours that provide a backdrop of eeriness, the figures beaming as a multitude...the three brides - the human in the center, the bride of Christ in the left and the courtesan(also wearing skulls around her neck reminding us of Goddess Kali) on the right are all juxtaposed to form a coherent whole. It however imparts a definite unsettling experience!

The Bride of Christ - John Thorn Prikker

Again, one clearly observe the art nouveau influence in the painting while the bride is symbolic of being spiritual, it also stirs a query in us by depicting the tulips on her gown which of course retraces away from spirituality and more into the reality of life. Prikker though not a well-known artist has his place in almost all major Dutch and German museums.

*Art Nouveau (New Art):

From 1880s until the first World War, artists took interest in the natural world around them. It influenced art and architecture in applied arts, graphic arts and illustration. Lines and curves were derived from botanical studies, nature being the primary source of inspiration to break away from the redundant past styles. The forms and designs flowed as a metaphor of the newly availed freedom. It sought the unification of fine and applied arts which they did achieve.

Linking it to SOC and PPF!