Meredith Gaston is an artist, author and illustrator all the way from the amazing Blue Mountains of New South Wales. I came across her work on facebook, which is designed for both children and the young at heart. Meredith has published two books and is currently working on the third, in her mountain studio. Read on to find out more about her love of creating, her amazing surroundings and her upcoming projects. You can head to her Facebook, or follow her or find her on Instagram: @meredithgaston. For more, head to Meredith’s Website or Art Boutique for Children.
You are an artist, author and illustrator. When did you first start creating?
I started collaging, drawing and making sculptures at a very young age. The first old photos of me getting creative were in my preschool years. I would spend hours at home creating various artworks from any materials I could find – including foodstuffs! It seems that I was never short of inspiration!
Designed for children and the young at heart, your work has a warm feel. What drew you to this style?
My style is a very organic, intuitive thing. I never think of it as a style, just as my most natural form of expression. I have never trained it or thought about it. It evolves and grows with time and practice. Simple line work and warm, bright colours make sense to me. I draw from my heart. I love to draw my girls with my eyes closed; on serviettes, on envelopes, on walls…my hand and the ink are connected! When I’m most relaxed, I create my most honest work.
You live in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. How do your surroundings influence your work?
The beauty, peace and quiet of the Blue Mountains has had a profound impact on my life and my art. I love to be surrounded by nature, and feel deeply moved by the mountains themselves. They are so old and strong and beautiful – ever-changing with the light and the season, and they have seen so much. Some days when the mist is high, the mountain tops appear like islands on a white sea. This makes me think of prehistoric times when these very forms were more than possibly underwater. These thoughts bring me both inspiration and perspective.
We live in an 1865 slab hut bought up from a nearby valley in 1901 by bull and cart. It is an enchanting cottage on a big block of land. We have fruit trees, a creek and many vegetables. We built a studio in the garden for me to paint and write in. It is wonderful to live in such a special place.
Out of all your books, paintings, watercolours and illustrations, what is your favourite creation ever and why?
I have done a few paintings that I truly loved and thought twice about parting with. One was called ‘The Circle of Life‘ and the other was was titled ‘The Wishing Well’. Both were big, bright and warm paintings and both had very circular compositions. They felt still and peaceful yet full of dynamism and movement. I think this juxtaposition spoke to me about inner balance, and the joy and peace that comes with that.
I love your quote, “Our thoughts shape our worlds”. Tell us about your book “101 Moments of Joy and Inspiration,” and how it was inspired.
This is one of my most favourite quotes too! ‘101 Moments of Joy and Inspiration‘ was really inspired by my strong belief in the power of positive thinking. Through my outlook I have been able to transform so many aspects of my daily life to enhance my wellbeing and happiness. I have also seen the way that thoughts can heal, transform and inspire us all.
The most amazing proof I have had was in the form of an unforgettable compliment I received at Christmas time. A lady who had gifted my book to a friend hospitalised with cancer wrote to me: ‘My friend said your book was more powerful than her medicine‘. That really said so much to me. I believe we are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of a new kind of healing in this busy world. I feel so nourished and honoured to be able to put my art and thoughts towards this purpose.
Your work has achieved great success; being shown around the world and featured in numerous magazines. How does this feel?
It feels unbelievable. Truly, I pinch myself because I live a quiet life, and can’t believe how far and wide my work has travelled! Certainly to places I have never physically been. This is exciting, it’s such a compliment, and amongst many other things, I find success itself an inspiration.
What projects are you working on for 2014?
I have a really good feeling about 2014! My next book is due in May, so I’ve already made really good headway on that. The pages are packed to the rafters in my studio and I love to be surrounded by them! I am also continuing my collaboration with Sussan corporation and Breast Cancer Network Australia. Over the last three years I have created a signature sleepwear and paper range for Sussan that goes toward supporting all women affected by Breast Cancer around Australia. The million dollar mark in fund raising was reached eighteen months ago, so we’re continuing to go strong and make a difference to women’s lives around the country!
As well as your own creative practice, you direct Kindergallery, which sources and celebrates fine art for children. Tell us about Kindergallery.
Kindergallery is an online fine art boutique for children and the young at heart. We have a breathtaking, diverse collection of works across a range of media, ideal for kids spaces, families, and those with a playful sensibility! In directing this gallery I collaborate with amazing artists around the world from Tokyo to Buenos Aires, Berlin to Sydney, working together to provide an unmatched collection of art to purchase for cool kids and their creative parents.
What advice would you have for aspiring artists, looking to do something similar?
Love what you do. Do it because you can’t imagine doing anything else with your valuable time and energy. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing wholeheartedly. Live and breathe your work. Give it all you’ve got. Let the energy of life inspire and connect the dots for you.