Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Hi Everyone. My name is Wanda Grein and I am an Art Consultant in my own business. My background is teaching, 35 years and counting! I teach three days per week in my Art Studio where I conduct art classes for 87 students ranging in ages from 5 to 75 years of age. I teach all of the arts not just painting!
I also do contract work for various schools across Sydney and the Illawarra where community art projects are required. Behind the work scene I am also an artist where I paint commissions for various groups, and I am just starting to become a bit ‘famous’! I will be showing my artwork in my own very first Art Exhibition in August this year. What a wonderful opportunity this is for me.
I also read Tarot cards and participate in various Psychic Festivals such as the Mind Body Spirit Festival.When I have time I also teach the Art of Tarot on the weekends.
I am a mother who enjoys family life, spending time with my very cute granddaughter, and watching my adult children become wonderful awesome people. I am so lucky to have a husband who is supportive of my work both as an artist and businesswoman.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?
I follow my intuition all the time even when I am consulting for big Art projects. I listen to the clients about what they would like to see on the walls or gardens, and I ask them questions about what they would like to include in the artwork. Images and styles will come flooding through my mind and the I see the whole design! I quickly draw it so I do not forget.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Over the years I know past clients and bosses have stated this about me and my work: Inspirational, motivating, enthusiastic, open, accepting, free spirit.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My very first job was working in a Delicatessen when I was 13 years old. I used to mop the floors.I thought one day I am going to sell the lovely cold meats and cheeses that was my goal! The first item I sold was a kilo of pork sausages!
By the time I was 16 years old, I was running the business while the boss went on holidays! I became a teacher and moved into the ARTS very soon after. I also have a Masters Degree in Applied Sciences and I studied Art Therapy. As an educator I saw the importance of the Arts as a vital component to children’s development. They lead happier lives and there is depth and tenderness in their character because they have been taught through the ARTS (including dance drama & music) to express themselves without fear. They gain confidence in how to relate to others, and understand themselves better. When I left full time teaching, I worked as an Art Specialist running Arts workshops for Teachers/Artistic Retreats/Spirituality Days for Staff Development days for various schools and Various Hopsital staffs. I have worked part time as a Visual Arts sessional lecturer/tutor at various Universities, and along with a colleague, I co-authored some Arts oriented Educational curriculum documents. I am involved annually in the judging and coordination of specific Children’s art exhibitions, and I have organised several other exhibitions for schools and small community groups.
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
My day begins with me making my very famous Balinese Ginger tea, which I steep to infuse the flavours of the ginger, mint and lime. My adult clients just love it! This is for morning tea.
Then I go down stairs to the Studio to do some clearing of the creative space. This includes always having fresh flowers next to a beautiful statue of Buddha, and burning incense. I check that all equipment is prepared on the tables, steam clean the floor, and have the artworks ready in the studio on easels. Finally, I set an intention for a perfect day. I light scented candles around the studio space, and turn on the CD player with some calming music. The adult students arrive around 10am, and I will be on my feet until 1pm After they have left, I prepare for the afternoon class at 3:30pm.This will include cleaning brushes, emptying dirty water bucket, sweeping floor, and the washing up from morning tea. I eat my lunch, and then if I do not have any business to attend to, I will spend a few hours ( if I am lucky) painting for my exhibition. At 3pm I make cordial and prepare afternoon tea for my younger students as some of them come to art class straight from school and they need a carb hit! At 4:45pm my husband comes down with ice creams for the kids. This is their time to stop painting, and have an artistic conversation with each other about their artworks. I finish at around 6pm and I have tidied the studio space ready for the next day!
As an Artist, what is your biggest frustration?
My biggest frustration at the moment is finding the time to paint for myself. I need to restructure a discipline where my painting time is important. I am learning this skill, and I realise I need to be dedicated to it. As an artist, I also need to spend quiet time away from the studio, to defrag if you like, to renew my energies.
Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
As a businesswoman of an Art Studio, and art consultant I am constantly prioritising my work. I am learning to network with other business people to see how they organise their books, finances, organise their mail outs and so on. One thing I do, as a number one rule is that every call I get to the Art Studio is a potential client. I always return calls and emails. My business acumen is a ‘a work in progress’.
Can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I connect with people in different ways and I find people come to art classes for so many different reasons. I find that some of my adult students are stuck in thinking that their artwork must be ‘perfect’. I find the idea of ‘perfect’ interferes with creativity. So I suggest to them to explore and play with the paint! That changes everything!
I start where the client wants to start.
Everyone is on his or her own individual program.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
To me the most important advice I would give someone who wants to follow his or her passions is to ‘just do it’. There is no time than the ‘present moment’. We live in a world of financial security and there is fear of ‘not having enough’. I have been there, watching my pennies as a single mum. But I always got by. Always
In 2008 after a health scare ( what was Spirit trying to tell me???) I stopped working full time to follow my dream of having my own art studio and teaching Art how I wanted to. We moved from Sydney to Kiama, and thought we’ll give it one year to see how it all goes, and we have not ever looked back. It was meant to be! We are certainly not rich financially but we are rich with where we live in beautiful Kiama, I love living by the sea. I have a gorgeous Art Studio. My art students are just wonderful, and I feel we are truly blessed. So Why wait? What are you waiting for?
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
What is your proudest moment so far?
I have had so many proud moments in my life. But my proudest moment was when in 2004 I conducted a State wide Children’s Peacelink Project, where 33,000 children stopped at 12 noon with their teachers, and meditated and prayed for World Peace for 10 minutes. I was very kindly acknowledged by Mr Nelson Mandela (Via Email from South Africa) and his Holiness the Dalai Lama (through his contact in Canberra) who both endorsed and supported the project! Mr James Twyman (World Peace Troubadour, musician and author of book ‘Emissary of Light’), the Director of Catholic Schools Brother Kelvin, and the Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Pell, also endorsed the project. It was a fabulous!
Who do you most want to meet and why?
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
Where do we find you and your products?
- Adult classes are in the mornings from 10am to 12:30pm.
- Children and teenage art classes run from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.
- Three hour art classes and small group Saturday Art classes are available upon request.