Friday, March 8, 2013

Malini Parker -"I became an artist by accident!!"

                                "I became an artist by accident!!"

"Remember that feeling when you fell in love for the very first time? For me, the discovery of art was just like that. It was all I could think about – first thing in the morning, last thing at night. Making art for the first time was a beautiful and consuming feeling and it was almost a struggle to do anything else."

                        Soaring to Success

               Interview of Artists, Writers and Photographers

                    Their work, creative spaces and techniques

                    Malini Parker ... "I became an artist by accident!"

   "I use a lot of texture and layering in my work – for me it is a metaphor for the layers and textures of life’s journey."    -  Malini Parker

1. Introduce yourself.  Name, City, State, Country  .. and describe what you do, what’s your passion?   
My name is Malini Parker, I’m an artist, writer and teacher and I live in Perth, Western Australia.

2. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I came to art rather late in life – started Art School the year I turned 40 and it turned my life around! I was a scientist, with a Masters degree in Medical Science and spent many years involved in medical research. I was never very good at it :) Finding art was quite a revelation. I wrote about it here. So I’ve been painting for 11 years now. Teaching has become my passion in the last two or three years, and writing in the past year or so… who knows what will be around the corner?!


3. What are your fears?  How have you faced them?  Or your plans of how you plan to tackle your fears.

This may sound strange but my biggest fear is probably paperwork! Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in paper – sorting, filing, doing the taxes, paying the bills. Drives me nuts and I hate it! Just today I hope to have tackled this fear head on – by getting my husband to agree to take over the book-keeping for me :)

4. What makes you different…unique from others

I do find that just making art doesn’t feel ‘complete’ for me. When I started sharing my process in workshops, and teaching beginners how to make art, quickly and beautifully, it felt like the puzzle was complete. So I guess that’s what’s unique about me – I have a seven step process that I share with others in my one day intensive art workshops, and I’m so grateful that they are wildly popular and usually booked out here in Perth, Western Australia. I hope to be able to take them around the world in the near future. My website and blog are here: and my Facebook page:

Believing Impossible Things

Valley of Joy
    5.Any secrets to reveal about the tools you use or your techniques?  Tips or tricks?   What makes your art special? Are your supplies unusual?  you own mixed media collage papers?  If you’re a  Do you have a lucky charm, maybe a lucky shirt you paint in, an inspirational poster or quote, or a special something that helps you to think positive?

I started painting when I was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, and as I recovered, my daughter became very ill for a number of years, followed by my husband with terminal cancer. It seems that adversity has been a big part of my journey since a started making art, and so quite naturally, my painting process has mirrored the lessons I’ve learned along the way in facing adversity . I’d say my main ‘technique’ is about embracing uncertainty! I believe no matter ‘how’ you paint, if you can be happy to take risks and be comfortable with not knowing the outcome, your paintings will be fresh and spontaneous.
I used a lot of texture and layering in my work – for me it is a metaphor for the layers and textures of life’s journey. I also use lace as a stencil for creating texture, and those effects often speak to me of the growth and learning one encounters along the way.
I draw my inspiration from the beauty of nature and from my practice of prayer and meditation.

Springtime Longings

6. What are your goals and inspirations?  Where will you hope to be in 2 years?  5 years?  10 years?
Wow! That’s a lot of advanced planning! And here I was feeling proud of myself that I managed to map out just ONE year!
What really excites me is how beginners LIGHT UP during my workshops, when they make art, sometimes for the very first time. I am planning to take my in-person workshop across Australia this year, and living in Perth – the most isolated city in the world - I’m 2000 miles from Melbourne, so it’s quite a trek! I would also like to run workshops in other parts of the world, and now that my husband’s health is a bit more stable, I do hope that this will become a reality. I’m also launching an e-course in the next year or so, and holding my ninth major exhibition… so there’s a lot to do.
I hope that in ten years, I’ll be able to say that I’ve reached and affected the lives of many, many people around the world, and helped them access that wonderful magical well of creativity inside us! And on a more practical, personal note, I really REALLY hope that I would have conquered paperwork and become majorly disciplined in this area!!

7. Where is your creative space or studio?    

My creative space has to be transformed INTO it every time I paint! We had to leave our beautiful home in the seaside town of Albany because of my family needing medical treatment, and now, we are renting a house where I don’t have a dedicated studio. So you can see paintings stacked up against bookshelves and even sitting on my piano :) I put dropsheets down and an old curtain up and this becomes my creative space.

Paintings propped up onto the piano

8. How much time do you devote to your work?  (Is it at same time everyday? Are you disciplined to go into your studio at 9:00am every morning?  Or do you wait until you are in a creative mood?)

I work about 8-10 hours a day – some of it is on the computer, liaising with students, organizing my workshops, writing lessons and so on. The rest is preparation work for my classes. On my teaching days that becomes 10-12 hours because of setup and clean up. I set aside weeks to paint when I’m not teaching, and when I’m getting paintings ready for a show, the deadlines drive me, and the momentum of painting creates its own schedule! Then I have trouble remembering to eat, the washing doesn’t get done and the dishes pile up :)

9. What are your “whispers” or callings begging you to do? What made you decide to take this e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts? What do you want to achieve?

Of course there’s always more I could do, but I didn’t really set out to ‘achieve’ anything when I took this course, as I am very fortunate to already have a thriving arts business. I guess I was curious about e-courses in general and how they work. Designing and launching my own e-course is one of the very loud whispers – seems more like a yelling in my ear at times! The very surprising and delightful outcome of doing this course is making so many new friends and like-minded folk all around the world, like yourself! KRR is just a master connector with a beautiful heart!

10. Do you keep a daily journal or sketchbook, or write in a diary?  (please share photos of a few pages of your journal, or sketches in your book) These are usually very interesting  and  very charming to share- like a peek into the life of an artist.    

My current journal is a gorgeous one that was given to me by one of my dearest friends. It’s ornate beauty and special origins make it almost a sacred space for me to share my deepest, secret-est secrets and where I do ridiculous sketches :) Here’s a little glimpse of something that came to me a short while ago after an intense period of meditation. The challenges at home were getting the better of me. At the end of the meditation, the words BE PATIENT were echoing in my soul so loudly that I had to write them down and design a painting around them. That’s how my paintings often begin – just pen or pencil sketches with arrows and notes :)

A Peek inside Malini's Journal

11. How do you market yourself? How do you plan to get “the word” out there??  

My website is my main portal to the world:  I’ve been represented by five different galleries, and had eight major shows, so yes, I’m very fortunate, my work has been selling for a number of years. I’ve had to turn my focus more toward my teaching in the past two years because it’s very hard for me to focus on both with equal attention – and teaching not only fills my heart with joy and delight, it offers me a very good income due to the success of my classes. Taking myself out into the wider world will be more of a challenge – but considering the family health challenges of the past few years, one that I will embrace with an open, grateful heart :)

12. What type of music (if any) do you listen to when you create?

Actually I tend to work in silence!! I really enjoy the peaceful balance of movement and stillness that is painting, and I find that music can distract me. But if I do have music on, it’s usually mellow – Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Sting.

Tim Storrier painting

13. Who is your favorite artist, photographer, author? …  In other words, who do you admire, and look up to?

My painting style was heavily influenced by many of the artists I studied at art school – Robert Rauschenberg, Imants Tillers, Rosalie Gascoigne, Robert Juniper and Tim Storrier (shown in picture) and I love the ephemeral art of Andy Goldsworthy.
My daughter Mary is my favourite photographer! She is phenomenal, still a student, and has over 3000 likes on her FB page ! Her photography is just so soulful and beautiful, and she is not even pursuing it professionally.

Mary Parker Photography

I have many favourite authors and so many bulging bookshelves that my books are now stacked on the floor and on top of cupboards! … I love Alexander McCall Smith, JK Rowling, Amy Tan, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ken Robinson, Deepak Chopra, Bill Bryson. I just finished Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place which I really enjoyed, and I’m currently reading Anna Funder’s All That I Am.

14. Are you encouraged to follow your creative path by your family or friends?
Malini with three sisters!

I couldn’t be more encouraged – totally and completely supported – I’m so very fortunate in this. In fact, the entire time I was at art school (5 years) my mother supported us as my husband decided to study full time as well! I have three older sisters and they have been my rocks, my guides and my friends, especially through some of the scary, dark times of the past few years as we’ve navigated Greg’s cancer and all the heartache that brings.

15. How do come up with titles for your work…whether it be paintings, short stories, a novel, or other artwork?

My husband, Greg titles my work! I tell him the story of the painting, and he comes up with a few options from which I pick the one that feels right. He’s much more of a poet than I am – being a songwriter, so this works well for us. I like the fresh perspective it brings my art as well.

16. Do you work on one project at a time … or have several going on at a time?

I simply CANNOT work on one painting at a time! I have always worked in layers, so as one layer is drying I move on to the next painting. I also find it keeps me engaged and excited about the work.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share a little slice of my world with you :) Please come say hi on Facebook or on my blog at

"That creativity – when it finds its expression – may not change your life completely, but it will help complete your life."

 * THANK YOU, Malini for sharing your techniques, vision and personal experiences in my Soaring to Success Interview series!  I wish you continued success with your lovely artwork and workshops. But, most of all I wish you and your family the best of health. It's difficult to continue to accomplish goals when you or a family member doesn't feel well.  Hopefully, that is all behind you  - keep up the determination as you are such a positive  inspiration for us all!!!  It pleasing to see family bond and support of your mother, the encouragement of your beautiful sisters, your husband...and your very talented daughter!  ...what a talented family!
Your artwork is wonderful. It represents your colorful journey through life.
            Keep soaring look beautiful up there!!!   Joan

          If you are interested in being interviewed and published on my blog, please contact me at


Malini Parker said...

Oh thank you Joan, for your words of encouragement and for sharing our stories with others :) Your warmth and generosity can be felt all the way across the world! xox

Joan Carver said...

Thank you, Malini what a kind thing to say! You were a pleasure to feature... your beauty, talent and creativity definitely shines through in the interview ..and into your artwork!!! Joan

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