Scroll to the bottom of the interview to see some of Edna’s amazing tutorials!
Thanks so much Edna for sharing behind the scenes with us about your work, family and business!
Lets dive into the interview!
First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got started painting and working with resin and alcohol inks?
I studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion, as part of the course we learnt everything from textile design, to pattern cutting to millinery, of course figurative drawing and painting were part of these studies but ultimately after 3 years I decided it wasn’t creative enough and most of my fellow students ended up running high end fashion stores instead of designing!
I swiftly switched to Graphic Design and this allowed me to let my creative juices flowing for print and web design in communications and advertising and many years later I was art directing, here I gained micro management skills to keep to deadlines, an indispensable skill for working moms!
Art and design has always been a passion of mine and it’s well known that graphic designers are just frustrated artists! When I had my third child I needed to take some time out to raise them, a difficult choice to make at the height of my career but sometimes fate pushes you on another path and if I hadn’t taken time off to raise my kids I may never have pursued my creative passions at all!
I’ve been painting and exhibiting since 2010, the usual abstract, contemporary and figurative art using mixed media, I was pleased with my achievements and I sold many originals. After a while, I felt stuck, no longer inspired, my kids grew up and started school so I went back to graphic design for a few years but this time I combined the two arts, as best I could.
It was around this time about 2 years ago I came across some beautiful artwork images on Pinterest in alcohol ink. It was a complete accident having never seen this medium done before in this way, I instantly fell in love with the style and decided to buy some supplies and try it out for myself. The same thing happened when I discovered resin art, I was on YouTube searching fluid art, at the time very few artists were creating tutorials in this medium but I was fascinated, and needing a creative challenge, I went for it and bought some resin, I took to it like a duck to water, the challenge of teaching myself a new skill was exhilarating and the rest is history.
What is your creative process like?
As a graphic designer I was obliged to change style and mind-set with each project, you learn to adapt your creative style. This creative process has pretty much remained the same until today.
I’m inspired mostly by shades of colour and at the moment I’m in the semi-precious state of mind where healing stones and their colour tones and patterns and healing properties inspire me to create something. It’s much the same when using alcohol inks.
I may go a week using the same shades of purple for example, and then switch to another shade the week after and this influences what functional art or wall art I create. Sounds simple enough but most artists have own individual creative process and it can take a while to find one that works best for you.
What’s your work space setup like? What inspires your creativity?
I used to have the entire loft conversion as my atelier; it’s a bright and airy room at the top of the house with plenty of light streaming through the four big Velux windows; air and natural light both being vital when working with resin and inks.
Last year my son grew too old to share a room with his little sister so we converted half of the loft space into a bedroom and I kept the other half!
It’s the sacrifice you make as a parent but he’s happy there and he gets first view of my work on his way up to his room and his constructive critics amuse me.
I would love to have rented out a bigger space with the potential to teach classes but unfortunately Covid happened and those plans are on hold for the moment.
What are your favorite art tools to work with?
I must admit my torch lighter for zapping bubbles in resin, it works so well but it took practice not to scorch the top layer by over torching, which tinges the resin to a light shade of yellow, it’s not a good look!
And for alcohol inks I love using my small hair dryer or an embossing tool, the air flow is manageable, more so than a larger hairdryer although you can get good results with this too. It’s a tool I had lying around unused at home so that was a good find!
What’s your best time-saving painting shortcut or hack?
Buying quality pre-primed canvases, canvas boards and quality yupo paper. Art buyers underestimate the cost of art supplies and often artists themselves often take shortcuts by buying cheaper materials but from experience, I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s just not cost effective in the long run.
Resin art is not always the most ecological process, my TOP TIP is to dedicate an area on your workspace, place a bin liner down and when you’ve finished pouring, leave all the sticky cups, sticks and spoons on the bin liner and in the morning they will be completely dried and reusable. No need to wash out cups or clean up stirs sticks with chemicals!
Besides working with resin and paints, are there other forms of art that you like to do?
Oh yes, I don’t think there isn’t a medium I haven’t tried!
I’m a big fan of oils but during my first pregnancy the strong fumes of the oils and mediums made me switch to acrylics, I haven’t gone back since, I love their versatility and the fast drying time. Watercolours are an art form I keep to myself, it’s something I do to unwind, it’s a difficult medium to concur but I like a personal challenge, I practice and practice and watch loads of tutorials, always the best way to learn or improve a skill!
I also used to crochet, blankets, clothes, scarves etc, at the moment I’m really into creating jewellery using semi-precious and crystal beads. Again this is something I do because it encourages mindfulness and helps me de-stress by fully concentrating on a task and not getting lost in my thoughts and also because I’d rather make them myself then buy them, much more satisfying!
One thing, I have noticed it’s the beautiful colour palettes that you use to create your artwork. How do you decide on what colours will compliment and provide a mesmerizing design for your artwork? How many colours are too many?
I simply take a piece of spare paper and using a paint brush to create colour swatches to see which shades go together. Sometimes you think certain shades will be fabulous together and you end up with a gaudy mess. I always suggest testing out swatches before investing in the final piece; no one likes to waste art materials!
I try and limit the actual shades to just 3 colours and then add hues of each to complement. There is always a metallic element somewhere, either in silver, bronze, and copper or in my case mostly gold!
You have an online store; do you sell at craft shows or have your work displayed in galleries? What advice can you give to someone wanting to sell their art, but not sure where to start?
I didn’t always sell online but in my experience it’s worth the investment; website hosting, SSL certificate for online security and secure payments etc.
I have done hundreds of Art Shows and Craft fairs and Christmas stands. This is the best time to sell. I always sell the most pieces that people buy as stocking fillers so always have some at hand as well as the more expensive items.
Selling locally is a great way to sell, apply in advance for all the art fairs around your area and invest in a quality folding table like the ones you go camping with, and a nice tablecloth with pretty decorations, like flowers and wood slice to display. Packaging is important too, so look around for pretty boxes or sachets and coloured paper to wrap up items in before bagging.
When I sell online, I like to keep shipping costs down buy offering recycled packaging, this means no fancy bags or fillers, it’s a very popular choice and saves the buyer on shipping costs as the parcels are lighter in weight but still properly protected, of course!
Do you have a favourite piece of artwork you’ve made recently?
I don’t have any favourites; they are all my babies, so they are all beautiful in my eyes.
Can you give beginners some advice on how to create art and find their own style?
Practice, experiment and definitely avoid trying to copy someone’s style or method. You should be using their technics to help you learn how to use the materials necessary but personal style come from the heart and your own individual style will occur naturally and that’s what will sell best, not a replica from another artist because their style is popular.
There are so many lovely art forms out there made from resin that I don’t bother creating tutorials for because it’s no longer original and I thrive on creating new things, in my way, with my own individual take, this is also what makes it fun and keeps me inspired.
What are your favourite techniques when it comes to paint/resin pouring?
Most people using resin are scared of the working time, they rush into it and it ends up a muddy mess, I get so many emails about this from viewers about how all the colours have blended together, I get them to send me pictures and then I understand better what’s gone wrong.
Go slow with the heat gun! Too much heat will cause your resin to flow too runny and ruin all the lovely effects you’ve created as it dries. Learn to let the resin do its thing, let it sit there for a while before whipping out the heat gun again, resin has a way of doing the work for you, but you have to let it and practice will help you learn what your resin is capable of and when to stop. It’s not an easy medium to use!
I love creating wispy effects using alcohol inks, it took practice and again working with inks on yupo paper is not easy! Hopefully my tutorials will help get a better understanding of this medium, I’ll be doing some more very soon!
Do you have favourite paint, tools or silicone mould brands that you always use?
I like many brands, not all and some I don’t like at all but what I like the best are mica powders for the shimmer, silicone moulds have their place in resin art but lately I have felt as if each piece I’ve made has the same shape, it’s no longer original or individual, I prefer making a new shape with different mediums such as modelling clay, it’s a longer process but if its fast art you want you won’t enjoy the process as much.
I like that each piece I create is an individual, handmade artisanal piece of artwork or functional art. That’s what my clients have told me they like, if not they would just buy coasters from the high street!
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers & fans?
I’m sure my viewers are aware that I don’t post pictures of myself or use stories as a personal blog, that’s my choice, I want my art to speak for itself, for me personally, it’s about my creativity and artwork.
It’s not because I’m particularly shy, but personally I’m not really interested in seeing stories of artists by the swimming pool on holiday or watching a boomerang of their third cup of coffee with fake steam rising from the surface! And besides, that takes a lot of effort editing and I don’t have the time for that.
But sometimes, it is nice to put a face to a voice and hands!
Where can people find your artwork?
ONLINE SHOP: https://shop.wargon.net
Do you have a family, and if so can you give any advice to other Moms who are trying to balance work and home life?
This is a great question, I’m glad you asked because I have a large family, 3 children and my husband so that makes 4 people I’m running around after and cooking for and driving to the dentist, doctor, optician, buying school supplies for and shopping for endless pairs of shoes and clothes as they outgrow it all within six months!
Yes it’s exhausting and of course I could get so much more done without this extra workload but then I chose to have a large family so the sacrifice was already made and I have no regrets.
I know that one day they will all leave and no longer need me so much, so I am making the most of them now and looking forward to the after, when that time comes , knowing I have many future plans for after, I intend to accomplish.
The balance is very difficult but I’ve always worked and having children should never get in the way of your personal goals; ask any working mum if she feels overwhelmed at times and if she’s says no, she’s not being honest with herself! It’s no different for artists. Just remember that the time as a Mom is shorter than you think, they grow up fast, too fast!
How do you balance your family life with your art business? Can you give any tips?
There are times you just can’t do it all, you have to choose. At times I will ask my husband or my eldest daughter to take over so I can get more done, video editing, voiceovers, inventory, replying to social media and uploading tutorials etc.
Being organised is essential, preparation is key; I’m fortunate that I have good micro management skills and am a good time keeper, key skills I gained as an Graphic Designer & Art Director when deadlines where often really short and the client wanted it done, yesterday!
I try and cook dinner the day before or at the weekend for the week ahead so I have more time for my work. I create and film during the day when the kids are in school (Confinement was extremely challenging!).
At the weekend and school holidays I’m off so I can look after them. I try to switch off as best I can, checking my social media only from time to time, it’s easy to get obsessed about every post and comment you get but I’ve learnt to keep it down to a minimum per day.
The best advice I can give is to give it a try, and if you don’t manage then at least you’ve tried and hopefully you had fun in the process.
Where are all the places people can follow you online?
Do you have a favourite quote or film?
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
Thanks so much Edna for sharing your heart with us!
Please take a second and share some back to Edna by visiting her channels or sharing this interview on social media, the more people it reaches the more it can inspire others to create their own art.