This week we asked Melbourne artist, Charlotte Alldis, to brighten our Brunswick East window in the hope that it lifts and motivates spirits on your daily afternoon stroll. If you can’t swing past the shop to check it out, Izzie has you covered with some beautiful snaps below.
Pixie spoke with Charlotte about her upcoming business Making A Mess, her studies; art therapy and an artist’s life in isolation…scroll for interview
Charlotte shared a beautiful thought she had when travelling Japan with some friends last year on her Instagram page, and it really resonated with me. I loved it so much, that it made me want to share it with you all (read below) and probe her further on colour psychology, painting and love.
“Been thinking about how nice it feels when it rains it’s warm and so is the rain. The green looks greener just after it rains, it makes everything feel like you have just seen colour for the first time.
If it rained like this every day do you think you might just get used to it? But it always feels like you’ve never seen it before. Could it possibly be different every single time or does our brain forget?
What about when you fall in love? Is it like rain and you just see all the colours again? What happens when you fall out of love or feel broken hearted? Did your colours get taken away? Has it maybe not rained for a while where you are?
When we leave someone we love for another, would we say it was the colours? I don’t think someone who has had their colours taken away from them would feel satisfied with that explanation.”
Pixie: This beautiful thought on rain and colours sounds like you have a strong connection to your use of colour - do you believe in colour psychology? Does this enter your mind when you dip your paintbrush into a certain colour?
Charlotte: I never noticed my own connection to colour until it was really pointed out to me. I do believe in colours as creating meanings for individuals. But I do believe that this varies greatly from person to person. Different colours mean different things to different people. I do consider the balance of colours on my canvas a lot, and spend a lot of time experimenting mixing colours. I mix all my colours from primary’s so its an interesting way to explore and be surprised by the combinations that appear on the canvas, colours you might not automatically choose to go together.
Pixie: How much planning do you put into the colours and shapes you paint? Can you tell us a little bit more about your process…?
Charlotte: I sketch every day at this point, so I feel that I don’t do a great deal of planning, it just comes intuitively from drawing over and over again and forming combinations of shapes and lines that feel right when you see them together. This is largely an unconscious process, I guess something that forms my understanding of what I find aesthetically pleasing and how I might know when my work is “finished”. I begin with a wash with oils, choosing either a warmer or cooler wash. I then draw rough outlines of shapes, and then painting the larger shapes first, and slowly finishing with the finer smaller details. I try not to overthink it, and just really enjoy seeing where each painting takes me. I often spend hours and hours with headphones on cramped into strange positions listening to music and drinking tea and painting. I don’t normally start anything and erase it. It’s like, if it’s there on the page or the canvas, I feel it’s meant to be there and I will just try to find a way to incorporate it.
Pixie: Do you think studying art therapy has shaped or changed your view on your process at all?
Charlotte: I don’t think studying art therapy has changed or shaped my views, rather just enriched and informed existing ideas and believes that I held due to my own personal experiences. I believed in art therapy through my own experience of finding art to heal and express myself during really challenging times. I have also found art as a really important way for me to understand and experience myself through the last 5 years. I have found it to be a ritual, a practice of mine, much like running or yoga or playing music for others. Studying art therapy has changed my reflection process greatly, and made me understand myself and my work on a deeper level through reflection.
Pixie: Have you seen any changes in your work during isolation? Or maybe - have your feelings towards art making necessarily adjusted?
I’ve actually wanted to just paint more than I have been able to, and have found myself feeling extremely creative and drawing every day. I know that’s obviously not the case for everyone, and I don’t normally always feel that way. But I am grateful that I feel this way for now. I’ve been thinking lots about how people are spending all their time in their homes, and people who maybe don’t normally spend this much time at home or by themselves, or with some spare time, might be considering taking up art as a form of relaxation and playfulness.
Pixie: Have you found a way to adapt your new project, Making a Mess to the new isolation laws?
We, my co-collaborators and I are working on it, we have made a video for signal arts on self-care. The three of us have been busy with work and studying but we will have some great online videos coming up soon likely in June/July. We love hearing about people taking up crafts and their own art practice during isolation!
Pixie: Apart from painting, what are some other activities that are bringing you happiness in isolation?
We (my housemates and I) have been making soft toys, we have been making papier-mâché pets, we have been making gnomes, we have been drawing, cooking, gardening, walking, watching movies and playing board games.
Pixie: What do you miss most in isolation?
Charlotte: I miss nature. I miss swimming in the sea freely, I miss exploring. I miss going travelling.
I miss hugging the people I love. I miss laughing with people. I miss being in a room full of friends.
I miss dance parties! I miss the daily rituals of leaving your house to go to work or uni or see people.
I miss seeing people I used to see every day. I miss the routine and structure that was broken up by place.
I miss the concept of going for a long drive.
However, no complaints from me I feel very lucky.
Pixie: And finally, has it rained for you recently?
Charlotte: It just rained he he
Interview by Pixie McElroy
Images by Izzie Austin
Layout by Shelby De Fazio