Paying attention to your intentions


This blog focuses on my studio practice. How I go about my art, what I use and the challenges I encounter. My initial aim is that it offers some insight into the life of a practicing artist and some useful tips for other creatives. In hindsight I think it may help me more that others. The self reflection about what you do can uncover some sloppy habits and manic moments. Maybe it’s my self therapy? As an artist we spend a lot of time in our heads. This blog will expose my thoughts, focus points and revelations. I can’t guarantee it will all be pretty or insightful, but I’m inviting you to join the ride anyway … strap yourself in for a seat on THE GINGERNUT EXPRESS!


There are many things to love about painting. It could be the texture, colour or sheer magic of pushing paint around a canvas. The thing no one ever seems to talk about it WHY you paint.

Throughout my residencies this was one of the elements you get drilled about. I remember a Art Critic on one of my stays trying to explain it to me. He said ‘stop telling me WHAT you paint, show me WHY’.

This question requires more than a five second response. It takes time to reflect on all the things you love and how they may have helped guide your artistic growth. You have to reflect on your inspirations and what you are trying to achieve when you paint.

This is something very few people discuss and it is always something that comes up in my ARTPRAC lessons. Why we paint what we paint will always help remind you on what to focus on and what to stop worrying about. But it doesn’t come easy, and it takes daily practice. And above all it takes planning.

Simon Senek is great at explaining the difference. Check out a snippet of his TED TALK (5 mins)

Defining your WHY will naturally evolve over time. If you are not paying attention to what you are trying to learn, discover or understand, you will always feel a disconnect with what you are creating. 

For me I am really trying to develop my understanding of colour by stretching my colour combinations and the way colour is constructed. My style of Fragmatism® helps me simplify shapes as well as eliminate a distinct horizon or foreground.

When you write this down, it all sounds so simple, but the actual doing is a lot harder. I am always falling back into old ways or methods that complicate and illustrate what I am trying to do, rather than work with the shapes and forms that evolve from the marks on the canvas. And developing my ‘style’ will forever be a ‘work in progress’.

I am always forgeting that it is me, the artist, that has the most to gain from my creations. It is part of the reason we creatives make stuff. The way we make things, should give us a better understanding of ourselves, but only if we are paying attention.

New work happening in the studio…

Working on my new body of work in the ‘Coastal’ Series has really pushed my WHY. I have really tried to remind myself as to why I am painting these pieces. My WHY for the viewer is my urgency to show you all of the glorious colours and moods of Sydney’s coastal edges. They are forever changing but I really want others to relish in the colours I see when I look out over the harbour. I can’t guarantee that will all be successful, but they will all be something, if not a stepping stone in my growth as an artist.

New ‘Coastal’ work happening in the Ballard Studio.

… What’s on show

Chuffed to have 2 works in the Autumn Light show at the Gallery 307 Art School in Northbridge. Show runs til 11 May.

Autumn Aspects
Bushland Blush

Check out some of my other originals available here > 

Fab students

Term 1 has seen a fabulous array of art making from a shoreline triptych to some gorgeous expressive works inspired by Van Gogh.

Joshua Satur putting the finishing touches on his triptych.
Elaine and Jenny working on their expressive paint strokes with a little guidance from Van Gogh.
WANT SOME TUITION OR ART MENTORING? Check out my offerings here > 


Sketch is catching some the Autumn rays and getting the low down from Mr Hockney on his love of light, landscape and Van Gogh’s originality.

Sketch is loving the Autumn rays and is just as excited to discover that there will be a new show at the Tate Britain on Van Gogh. (Yes his excited face is very similar to his annoyed face… he always has such a Cattitude!)

This major exhibition brings together over 50 works by Vincent van Gogh to reveal how he was inspired by Britain and how he inspired British artists.

The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain | Tate

Check out what David Hockney had to say about Van Gogh’s visionary works here >>


When nature turns orange it’s a sign that the temperature is getting colder! 
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To those lovely folks who have heard me bang on about some of these topics before I send my apologies. It is sure to happen again as I bang on a lot!

The Gingernut Express is a monthly blog, written and produced by Visual Artist and Arts Educator, Kristine Ballard on
© Kristine Ballard 2019