This year for the second time I entered the 2020 Roar Awards. These are Australian Professional Industry Awards and I was drawn to them because they have a category for Artists, Creatives and Musicians. I entered last year in 2019 and was blown away to be in the top 5 finalists amongst such an amazing group of men and women. This year I made it to the top 3 and was awarded a bronze award. The callibre of contestants this year was phenomenal and I still can't believe I'm up there with the best.
It really made me think about my journey and how far I've travelled in the past year and ultimately where I have come from during my life time.
I thought that I would share my submission answers with you below.
Tell the judges about yourself, your business and what you do?
I am Jane Marin, 57, artist, dancer, intuitive energy healer, life coach and more. I live in the Bundaberg region of Queensland on a sugar cane farm with my husband of 32 years, Livio. We have two adult children, Levana and Demetre and a grandson of almost 1 year.
Throughout my life, I have studied and used creative expression and alternative healing methods to overcome many hardships, health issues and adverse life events and now use my experience and learnings to assist others to heal their own lives. I am passionate about helping people “find their heart and soul” - their joy. This, I believe, is what life is about.
I work as an illustrator for various publishers/writers and I sell my mixed media artwork and products created from them, through my website, at my own art and wellbeing centre and through a local artisan collective at Bargara - Artisans 4670. I have regular stalls/stands at Energy and Wellbeing Expos throughout South East Queensland.
I run art workshops at Wattle Cottage Art and Wellbeing Centre on our farm, teaching participants how to find their own “art and soul” in a beautiful supportive environment. These workshops are for small groups of no more than 8 participants and consist of one half day “Coffee Cake and Canvas” and one full day workshop per month. I’ve also recently added “Art in the Vineyard” a fortnightly art morning at a local Winery. I believe that everyone has an inner artist, so I teach techniques and introduce ideas so that each person leaves with a piece of art true to themselves and that they can be proud of.
Wattle Cottage is a part of our farm history. My husband’s family were tobacco growers in the Bundaberg district and the sheds and infrastructure are what I have converted into my studio/workshop space, shop and wellbeing centre where I run art, dance and meditation workshops. We were recently featured on ABC Landline. (https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-08-02/bundabergs-tobacco-growing-past-lives-on-in-relics/12512422)
I also work with women and teens through such organisations as YMCA Youth 360(underprivileged youth), Edon Place (domestic violence) where I run a course of 6 x 2hour art journalling workshops based on my book “The Me Book - A Journey of Self Discovery” and Richmond Fellowship (mental health) who enjoy full day workshops where they create a completed canvas.
What was the reason and inspiration behind starting your business?
The inspiration to begin my art business came whilst working as a scrapbook and photography teacher. A series of dreams prompted me to create mandalas or circular artworks from my photography which were put together to eventually form “The Mandala Oracle” cards which I self published. These cards became very popular and landed me work as a freelance illustrator for a couple of publishing companies.
This experience was the catalyst that changed my world. It was the first time in my life that I had listened to and actually followed my intuition about what I wanted to do.
I began to receive amazing feedback on my mandalas and illustrations from clients and customers, describing how they could feel powerful energy emanating from my work. This prompted me to begin to study more about the healing power of light, colour and symbols. It also motivated me to learn to paint, which was something I never thought I could do. When the opportunity to attend a series of intuitive painting lessons came up, I took it. After a few lessons I felt myself able to tune in to spirit with my art in the same way I did with healing. I began to paint from my intuition, not my emotions, and eventually found that I had created a whole new modality for healing.
I began selling my work at Wellbeing and Energy Expos and eventually built a new business plan, which focused on my mission to heal people with art, love, light and connection.
What makes your business unique? How do you stand out in your industry?
My art itself has something special. Described by many as “healing art”, each piece is infused with energy intended to “heal” the person for which it is destined. The pieces of art that I create challenge the idea that art is simply for decoration. The energy I channel through these paintings is my way of helping others heal, and one of the reasons I love to paint. What you feel when you look at a piece of my art is more than an interpretation, it’s the vibrations that are infused within it.
My paintings can also be physically infused with healing essences, quartz crystal and sometimes gold, all of which heal through their individual and combined vibrations. If something lifts your vibration, it is good for your health - physical, emotional and spiritual.
My workshops on the other hand, teach that absolutely anybody can be creative when we learn to relax and tune in to our heart and soul. My students start the day with meditation, journaling and occasionally yoga or dance and then we paint. Participants leave with an artwork to be proud of.
Although there is usually a subject or a plan to my workshops, I teach techniques and ideas and then allow each person to find their inner artist. There is no right or wrong when your art comes from the heart.
Our workshop space is very peaceful and relaxing surrounded by canefields and natural bushland.
Each person has challenges/obstacles to overcome. What were some of yours and how did you overcome them?
Following a difficult and abusive childhood, at aged 18, I contracted Ross River Fever resulting in nervous breakdown followed by diagnoses of fibromyalgia and ME. I was bedridden for over six months and the fibromyalgia and chronic ME continued for more many, many years. I developed severe depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia and was told I would be on medication for the rest of my life.
Arthritis in hips, fingers and shoulders developed during my early 20’s and was then diagnosed with severe food and chemical intolerances. This led to being house bound for more than a year as I was severely sensitive to car fumes. However I dropped all of my medications and began to study alternative healing techniques. This reawakened in me a healing gift that had been dormant since my early childhood; an ability to heal with my hands.
In the year 2000, a car accident resulted in neck and back injury. An X-ray taken immediately after I had given myself an energy healing showed nothing but light in the areas on which I had been working. This proved to me that the energy healing was real.
However, as I began to recover physically and whilst bringing up two extremely intelligent and active children, I realised that I no longer knew who I was. It was time to heal myself mentally and emotionally. I began playing with the creative arts including journaling, photography and various crafts. I wrote “The Me Book” a book of questions and prompts for journaling, as a way back to myself and began teaching it at a scrapbooking group. I began to realise that teaching what I had learned was part of my life purpose.
Using all of my knowledge and gifts seemed a natural progression and so I began so I started my healing practice, which slowly evolved to Jaaneman Art.
What are your future goals/ambitions and how do you propose to achieve them?
I am now working on expanding my timetable to include art retreats next year at Wattle Cottage. As Wattle Cottage is a registered farmstay, I am looking at the addition of a “Glamping” experience with belle tents for overnight stays. Perfect for my “art and soul” retreats. This will enable women to travel and stay at Wattle Cottage overnight for weekend (or longer) group retreats and workshops. This had been planned for 2020 but with the Covid-19 set backs, other priorities came to the fore.
This year gave me the push I needed to put together a series of video workshops which are available to purchase on my website and PDF worksheets that I will put together to make a book of intuitive art lessons. This will enable me to teach women all over the world. I think it is important to share workshops that absolutely anyone can do even with no knowledge or experience with art.
Also on the cards for next year is an open studio bus tour in our region to take visitors to artists and artisan studios who are “off the beaten track”. We have many in our region (including myself) who are too isolated to be part of the local tourist trade. And many artists on rural properties miss out because they can’t afford time and money for travel to have exhibitions or market stalls, so why not take tourists to visit their studios. Once again this was something planned for 2020, but has had to be put on hold.
If you could start your business again, what would you do differently?
If I could start my business again, I would ask for help right from the beginning, especially with financial and marketing assistance. I struggled along on my own for so many years. Our farm and family was first priority for me for many, many years, so when it came to my business, I didn’t think that what I did was important enough to ask for help.
If I could start again, I would treat my art as a business right from the start, talk to someone about loans to get my infrastructure in place instead of trying to do it all myself. I would have found the money and the support strategy to reach so many more women in need of my art and workshops. I guess it’s all about listening to your intuition and following your heart. I now understand that my heart and soul never lead me astray if I actually listen. I knew in my heart that I had something to offer not only other people but also a way to subsidise an unpredictable farming income.
If you could ask someone who has carved the path before you one question, what would it be and why?
How do you build an online following? I have my online workshops and shop ready to go, but when it comes to building an online following my knowledge and confidence are holding me back. I’m also on a tight budget. I would like to have money coming in from the online side to support the face to face work that I do.
Why did you enter the Roar Awards and why do you think you should win your category?
I entered this award because I want to ROAR. I want to let people know that life is what you make it. Just because someone told you that “no one will ever love you”, you’d “never amount to anything”, just because you don’t want to “use your brain”, just because you are in to “arty farty, airy fairy nonsense” - all of which I was told on a regular basis - doesn’t mean it’s true. I doesn’t mean you can’t be a success. In the words of Maya Angelou “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it”.
I love who I am, I love what I do and how I do it. I have had the courage to face many hardships in life and I haven’t just accepted who I am, I have “allowed” myself to live my truth. This process I share with all I meet through conversation and by example.
I believe that what I do is unique and its effect ripples through those that come in contact with it. My art heals, it connects and it changes the way we look at our surroundings and our practices. I paint to help people overcome their struggles, to bring joy to their life and love to their hearts, and I run my workshops bring people together to share creativity and help heal souls in a way that is gentle, loving and safe.
My love for what I do, and for those I help, is my driving force to achieve my goals, and is my motivation for entering these awards. Winning this section would not only be amazing for my business, but would allow me to reach so many more women who would benefit from my art and my workshops. It’s for these women I have entered this competition, and for these women I believe I should win.
Every aspect of our lives can be improved by tapping into our innate creative energy.
We all have a creative soul. We are ALL born creative. How could we not be? Whether it is music, dancing, painting, writing or any other creative expression, we all have it deep inside of us. How about Engineers, teachers, farmers? All can benefit by tapping into that creative soul. I believe that creativity is not learned, but the opposite - it’s often buried on the way to adulthood.
As a small child I was passionately creative and I had clear picture of my purpose in life. I won my first national UK art award at age 3. In my teenage years I discovered graphite and photography BUT THEN it all stopped. A troubled and unforgiving childhood took its toll. It would be decades and hitting rock bottom as my own family prepared to leave the nest, before my heart finally cracked open enough to reach inside my soul to my creative self and begin to heal my life from the inside out.
I rediscovered, rather late in life it would seem, that the purpose of existence is to find joy and happiness and this can only come with a connection to the universal life force and the infinite love of all that is.
Many of us have to go through trauma after trauma to learn this lesson, but creativity is the way back. It teaches us how every single thing in this universe vibrates with energy and affects everything around it.
My paintings are how I share that energy, my joy and the infinite love of the universe. I work on paper and canvas using acrylic paints, pencils, collage, water colour, pastels and whatever takes my attention. I rarely begin with a clear picture of what I am about to create. I work with many layers and the images evolve.
Through my workshops I’ve helped countless women (and men) find their creative spark reigniting a joy of life.
The biggest lesson I learnt has been to throw out all of the RULE books associated with the arts. They crush the creative soul. I did it with dance and became a soul dancer, I did it with art and became a soul artist (I’m working on my music and writing!)
Social Media: www.facebook.com/JaanemanArt
(Yes, that's me on the right.)
There is nothing quite like a 40 year High School Reunion to make you feel your age, right? Well I was surprised. It didn’t do that for me at all. What it did do however, was to remind me of how very far I’ve come. It reminded me of the power of the mind and how changing your thoughts can literally change your life.
You see those years were probably some of the worst years of my life both at school and at home. I lived my senior school years in tears each and every day. My life had become a helter skelter, a downward spiral both emotionally and educationally. I was an emotional and physical wreck. I hated school and I hated home and I had become very good at hiding it. I had gone from absolutely loving school to just wanting to escape. I took every opportunity I could to “wag” school and hardly anyone even noticed.
I was born a gifted child with high IQ (163 at age 7) with hyperactive child syndrome (ADHD) a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning. I had a reading age of 12 when I started school at 4, working with the older children right from the start. (There is another story in this - for a later page)
I loved flouting my intelligence and throughout my infants in UK and early primary school years in NSW it was never a problem. Due to my father’s work, I was backwards and forwards between schools in different towns each year and each new placement began with an intelligence test so that the teachers knew where to place me in the class, what reading to give me and which library books I was allowed to borrow. I loved astounding my teachers with the results of these tests and I was treated to extra reading material, quizzes, and fun things to do. During the school holidays I would work through maths text books two or three years ahead. I loved this too and was so proud of myself when I came to the end of a book. But things didn’t go so well as I got older.
My father’s work relocated him to a new town for three years and I was stuck at the same school from grade 5 to grade 8. My grade 5 teacher had no patience for someone who was so far ahead. He refused to allow me to work at my own pace and I was hit with a ruler on a number of occasions for “showing off” or doing long division “the quick way”. In grade 6 I was banned from maths and english games in class because I always knew the answers which meant that no-one else had a chance. I had to sit by myself and watch everyone else struggle and not be allowed to help. I began to get so miserable. By the time I finished primary school as DUX, I was being bullied by other students for my intelligence, for being English and even for being skinny. On a few occasions I was even threatened at knife point by another student. I told no-one. I thought I knew how to fix it though. As I began grade 8 I vowed never to be top of the class again and I even tried failing exams on purpose. My class results started to slip, but I realised that I wasn’t really happy. And to top it all, I was now being teased and laughed at for NOT being top of the class.
Towards the end of grade 8 - first year of high school, my father’s work took me to my final school destination in a regional city - no need now for the boarding school for which I had won a scholarship. I was full of good intention - I would be able to prove myself again. BUT the mind is a powerful thing. I couldn’t for the life of me turn things around. I was still a good student, but I could no longer put pen to paper on a written test or read multiple choice without making stupid mistakes. I COULD NOT pass an exam. As soon as an assignment or an exam hit the desk in front me I would freeze and my mind would be completely empty. My essays became a series of dot points containing all the facts, but nothing else. I was called lazy at home due to my results, and I began to take it on board - I was beginning to believe it.
Gradually, I was failing almost every subject except art (which not surprisingly I did not enjoy). I had gone from top of every class to literally the bottom of every class. Music and Dance kept me going and also gave me my escape route from school. I was part of the school Stage Band and concert band, learned flute and tenor saxophone at school and studied ballet externally. I made friends with the school office staff who would mark me away at dance or music classes when I needed to escape. Nobody ever knew what I was going through, although I have an idea that my friends in the office suspected. Unfortunately during my last two years at school I was made to give up my dance to concentrate on improving my school work - I lost that escape route.
By now the tears had started - at school because I didn’t want to be there and then I’d cry all weekend at home because frankly I would rather have been at school. I had nowhere to go.
With the problems at home, the looming end of school was especially terrifying. I had nothing to show for my years of study - there was really nothing I could do in those days, but become a secretary or shop assistant. I did both. I moved out of home at 17 and worked one full time job in an engineering office, part time in a dress boutique and part time at my parents picture framing business. All in an effort to prove that I had some worth. I would walk to work at the office at 6am in the morning and not leave until 6pm. Then work weekends and Thursday nights at my other jobs.
But then life caught up with me and at the ripe old age of 18 I collapsed after contracting Ross River Fever. I was bedridden for 6 months and had to move back into the family home (another story for later). This culminated in diagnoses of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, early onset arthritis, depression and anxiety and in all honesty I did not expect to make it to 30 years of age. BUT I was determined. There are many stories to tell around my long recovery, but those I will share in parts at later stages.
Surprisingly though, I didn’t give up on myself. I’m here! I’m fit, healthy, happy and living my dream. I learnt to change my thinking. It did take me a good few decades, but I’ve never given up. I have multiple qualifications in different areas as I found that studying outside of school suited me well.
I now understand the workings of the mind in creating reality. Life really and truly is what you make it. You can make it negative or you can make it positive. The choice really is up to you.
In the words of Mike Dooley “Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones”
I'm Jane Marin, artist, illustrator, writer, self confessed eclectic bohemian. Follow me and my musings right here on my blog.