Nena Drury

“There was a period, which was almost a whole year, when I couldn’t create at all”!

Australian Contemporary Painter 

How did you find your creative / artistic style?

I don’t think I found it just yet. I have a friend who is an artist and my art supplies dealer. Every once in a while, she will hand me a new medium and I get lost in it for a few weeks and just play. Through this playing, I constantly find new things I enjoy doing or new effects that I like.

You seem to be very prolific, has artist block ever been a problem for you and if not why?

There was a period, which was almost a whole year, when I couldn’t create at all! I can’t explain it except to say that I tried but it just didn’t bring me joy. I turned to knitting colourful blankets and throws as a way of soothing my mind and expressing my creativity. After a while I really missed painting and drawing and decided to try a hundred-day challenge. To keep myself accountable I started posting on Instagram. My intention was not to gain followers, it was to catalogue my state of mind from day to day. It was magical, so I continued and now I paint daily. I mostly create A5 size paintings, so I’m sure I wouldn’t be as prolific if I painted large canvases. Small size artwork perfectly captures my mood and inspiration.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Creating art is my joy and hobby, not my job and therefore I don’t find it challenging at all. Whatever comes comes and I try to embrace it. I struggle with commissions as I am a perfectionist and self-doubter and completely petrified. I am never happy with the commissioned artwork; it seems forced and unnatural to me. I am probably the only artist that actively avoids commissions.

What frustrates you the most about the art world?

One day I met a very talented ceramicist at the art market. I asked her if this was her full-time job. She said “Are you crazy? I work in insurance, I have to live!”. That really made me sad. It’s very difficult to make a living as an artist.

What are your main influences?

There are several artists that I follow and it gives me true joy to see their posts every day. Some inspire me with their technique, some with colours and some simply speak to my soul. This is not a definitive list, but here are some of them: @estemacleod, @helen_dardik, @betty.franks.art and ever so quirky and wonderful @elketrittel. They inspire me to try new things every day.

Has there been a challenging period in your life when art has been a great comfort and do you think the viewer can see this in the work?

It’s always a great comfort. I suffer from anxiety and making art is how I calm my mind. On super special days you can see the mood creep into my paintings. I love those pieces the most. I think the viewer brings their own interpretation to a piece of artwork, it’s not for me to dictate that.

Your technique is fascinating, how do you decide what to draw?

Thank you so much. I rarely decide what I will draw. I decide what colour or medium I will start with and then I just paint. Sometimes things just work out and other times it’s a fight. Occasionally I will start with a piece of text and then take it from there (I learned this in one of @estemacleod’s online courses). Most of my drawings have been made while listening to true crime podcasts and audio books. 

What frustrates you about the world in general?

Where do I start, we haven’t got all day so in no particular order, I am frustrated by politics, so much hate and indifference in this world, destruction of our planet and lack of compassion… 

What are your aspirations for the future?

I would really like to have a treehouse art studio and earn enough money from my art to be able to buy any art supplies my heart desires and perhaps switch to part time work. 

Nena Drury

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