So I know it isn't New Year, but my new venture started with the New year.

I decided to make a commitment to myself and to the 'What I should be doing' part of my life.

I would like to get my thoughts out there to document my artistic venture and to have an outlet, to have others join me along the way and to find others who can relate.



Under my mum's strict orders my sister used to drag the covers off the bed, then 5 minutes later when I still wasn't up she would come and grab both ankles and try to pull me off the bed… all the while I was ‘pretending' to be asleep whilst gripping onto the bed for dear life. When she succeeded I would head off into the bathroom, pop a towel on the floor next to the warm radiator and go back to sleep for a few more precious minutes before school.

I wish someone would've taught me how to get to bed early so I could get up early, it would have made my life far easier now I am older!

With my sister all grown up and living in the Scottish highlands there's only the cat to wake me up as my other half wouldn't dare go there! I've always been a night owl, working in jobs revolving around nightclubs and having a partner who worked night wasn't a great recipe for a healthy body clock. I struggle to go to bed even at 3am and then have a major guilt complex when I can't get up for 10am after snoozing for an hour.

Living with this guilt day in day out has a huge impact on how productive you are as an artist. Reading many ‘your life's purpose' books I had an ‘aha' moment (as Oprah would say) when I read…… ‘It is simple, if you are a sportsperson then train at sport, if you are an artist… then paint' Oh my giddy aunt, is that is all there is to it? Just go and paint?

I realised that I was becoming bogged down and not moving forward. Never mind the worry of procrastination, fighting against myself when I can't stick to a schedule it has taken me all week to create. Forget the guilt of getting up late in the afternoon and feeling depressed about it all day. Just get in your studio and paint, regardless of how creative you feel, whether you're inspired or not, even if you're not in the mood! It is work. So paint. And paint I did.

Motivation has to be created, it is energy, and it has to have a starting point to gain momentum. If you sit still and wallow in the ‘why is nothing happening' ‘what should I be creating?' ‘Why can't I motivate myself?' then you are blocking yourself from gaining momentum, from allowing yourself to open up the doors of opportunity.

At the beginning of 2009 I made a commitment to my creative gift, I opened that door, I'm being proactive and it is paying off with opportunities and the occasional commission or sale. The strangest change of all is getting up at 6.30am now my partner has gone on days.

I believe my universe works for me when I work for it; it is as simple as that.

Liz McDonough


Feel Comfortable With Being An Artist? – When I decided to put my creative foot down on my life and drastically reduce the hours of my day job (to about 2hrs per week!!) I found I had to change my occupation when asked ‘What do you do?' ‘I'm an artist' seems like such an easy answer, it is who I am, what I do, it is everything….. So why do I feel uncomfortable saying it?

I lived in Mauritius for 5yrs. I wasn't allowed to have a job there as didn't have a work visa. Most people lumped me in with the ‘ex-pat / stay at home mum / housewife' category, but as my partner was a native Mauritian I didn't fit in the ex-pat category, I didn't have children and wasn't your typical housewife, there was a genuine interest in me being an artist which was lovely. I used to say ‘I paint' rather than ‘I'm an artist' as I had only just started taking it seriously. I had a considerable amount of time on my hands to work at it, no day job distractions, no cocktails in Manchester at six every evening, no going out burning the candle with friends, no salsa, actually…. not really much else to do, once adjusted, it was great!

So, now I'm back in the UK and have decided I am going to take my new career as an artist seriously… seriously though, what is my problem with saying it? Or is it that people just can't take me seriously? Here's how that conversation usually goes…

Person A: What do you do Liz?

Liz: I am an artist

Person A: What do you do for a living though?

Liz: I am an artist? (Phrasing it as a question slowly in case they didn't get it the 2nd time round)

Short pause (it looks like person A is about to say something annoying to me)

Liz: I paint, make jewellery (I add, to convince them and defend myself)

Person A: Oh, do you manage to make a living at that?

Liz: Erm, well I try!!

Why does this always happen? Is it just me? Do I not have the face of an artist, should I act a little crazy to prove it? I find it annoying that people judge you on your income; does it mean I cannot be something if I don't make bags of money at it? At the moment I am in the volunteering and making the coffee stage of my career, and I love it regardless of the pay.

Not everyone can say they love what they do.

Liz McDonough – Ahem, artist!


CONFIDENCE & CONNECTING – Monday I attended the Air Time 09 and A-N Open Dialogue at Castlefield Gallery. I came back buzzing with information, ideas and a something I've never experienced… being around so many artists.

If you've gone to University or share studio space you will be used to being around other artists, creative's, peers and people to bounce ideas off or to get a critical eye on your work. I dropped out of college when I was 17 so I being around many artists in one space was a novelty for me, and is something which is lacking in my life. Because I haven't had others to guide along my journey so far, sometimes I have felt out on a limb. It has taken a long time to feel as confident as I do today about my work.

Being around other artists can have its drawbacks though. I am not 100% confident when comparing myself to other artists. I accept that I am not at the forefront of contemporary art or pushing the boundaries of art, I am a simple artist compared to many others, though complex within my own world, which is enough.

We all have our creative place and creative space in this world, I am proud of myself for doing what I do, and proud of you too for doing your thing.

Monday confirmed what I was thinking…..

Blog – to get it all out of your head Liz!

Read others blogs – as there are so many interesting, inspiring artists to connect with.

Connect – find artists to connect with, to share ideas with, to exhibit with and to have a cuppa with if anyone is in Cheshire.

Oh my, I may have just opened the flood gates, I have so much more to say, but that will do for now. Blog before 9am I can happily check that off my to-do list, I'm not sure if avoiding facebook will have so much luck!

Liz McDonough