The Independent Artists Group (IAG) Blog

is an International group of just over 200 artists. We run auctions and exhibitions around the world and also communicate online daily to give eachother support and advice. We have created this blog for our news, images, photographs, and updates about our art. Here, we also announce group and individual artist's exhibitions, present artwork for sale and detail other newsworthy items.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Very Classic Lady - IAG Artist, Naj of Norfolk, UK

Pet Portrait Painting by Naj
IAG - Independent Artist Group Artist, Naj cannot remember a time in her life when she did not know she would be an artist, "I seemed to always think 'I am going to be an artist when I grow up,'" she confides. It shows. Her art is well developed and very sought after. It has a sophistication that lets the viewer sense it didn't begin just yesterday, the talent looks developed over time, nicely so.

So some where early in life the seed was planted, the talented felt and Naj began her journey that lead to being an adult artist. She says she'd rather just have some friends than to find that her friends are only artists. Naj does realize though that artists are known to be different but she does not seem to mind explaining that in her case, "Sometimes non-artists don't seem to understand the urgency to complete work that comes with inspiration, or that an artist may want to continue working uninterrupted deep into the night or early hours of morning!" The artistic impetus is not something that one can often turn off like a tap. Some deal with such dry periods of non-inspiration that when it flows most know they'd better hop to the creating, quickly.

Naj has quite an interesting background, "I currently live in Norfolk, UK. I'm a bit of an all-rounder and I have had a wide range of commissions over the years. Commissions for portraits and animal portraits have proved the most popular. (One of Naj's recently completed commissions, a portrait of an English Bull Terrier, can be seen above.) Other art work I have undertaken includes sign writing commissions, illustrations, wood carving, and canal folk art! Among other things, I am currently working on a fantasy art mural commission. As I work mainly to commission, I own very few pieces of my own artwork and therefore rarely exhibit", she admits. "Sadly, I was unable to submit work to the Nottingham show, due to current commitments", Naj explains. So to find ANY of her art available in the current IAG online Ebay exhibition, running concurrently alongside the show at Nottingham is a huge treat, indeed!

Building her art career has been a steady course for Naj, "Following A level fine art, I attended a Foundation Course in Art and Design in the eighties, where life drawing and stone carving were my main passions. I then pursued a technical career, while at the same time continuing to produce portrait and other commission work. My technical work involved draughting plans and graphics work for a government department. I stopped full-time technical work in the nineties."

DaVinci Inspired Tonal Pastel Painting of Madonna and Child by Naj Eventually Naj began selling her work online, "I have continued to produce art commissions as well as selling small promotional samples of my work through ebay, mostly ACEOs. (ACEO's are tradable art cards.) In the nineties I took up barge ware painting, which I find pleasantly relaxing. Then in 2005, I completed a basic HTML web page design course, which provided a basis for hand-building my artist web site, an on-going obsession which is slowly turning me into a geek," she smirks, though there is hardly a geeky thing about this interesting, talented lady.

Naj was but a young teen when she sold her first painting, "I was fifteen years of age when I sold my first portrait, so became interested in selling my work then when I realized people may be interested in buying it." Her favorite classical artists are probably a bit of a clue as to where some of her inspiration comes from since those teen age years, she enjoys Da Vinci, Gauguin, and Renoir, for example. "My favourite art style might be described as a 'soft old-world Renaissance style', such as that in my 'Madonna and Child after Da Vinci' pastel work. The wide range of work I undertake, means I use a wide range of mediums; pastels, pencils, acrylics, gouache, watercolour, ink, enamel paint, and chalkboard pens," Naj explains.

Naj's family is supportive of her art, "My late father was my most enthusiastic supporter of my work as an artist, but most my family members support my work", Naj explains. She has some other fans who are close and cheering her on, too. "I have one child who enjoys Mum's Art and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, often posed at my feet while I paint. I like dogs as much as cats and once had a vocal Siamese-cross cat that would steal things and used to growl at the binmen and postman,"she smiles. Naj has had no patrons threaten to bite an ankle though, all are thrilled when they get her Art home or in their office and see her wonderful work in their own world.

However when it comes to pleasing only herself, not family, nor potential patrons Naj likes to create abstract collages with texture for fun and time off from the commissions she does for clients. Creating art like in that genre is really Naj's favorite break for personal enjoyment.

When asked how art as a vehicle might change the world or how Naj viewed the thought as a potential she says, "It would be good to end all violence and all poverty. Poverty is relative, and life is a drudgery if you are poor. Violence? Who needs it?" Like other IAG Artists, Naj seems another rebel for positive change,"I was a bit of a teenage rebel and was once famous for five minutes in my then hometown for an outrageous painting I did. No, I wont say what it was, or what it was about - my reputation could suffer!" So it might be that we'll have to just use our imagination about this one, Naj and hope that we aren't painting a more vivid picture portrait than we should about this subject!

Naj's Canal Folk Art - Hand Painted PlateNaj's Canal Folk Art - Hand-painted Milk Churn w/ Traditional Roses & Castles Canal Folk Art - Hand-painted Plate & Milk Churn w/ Traditional Roses, Castles

Naj says she is at her best when, " happy, healthy, inspired and can work uninterrupted", she laughs. She does find her creative streaks can hit her at just any time of the day, "I work and paint at the time inspiration takes hold, be that day, night or afternoon. Any time at all," Naj explains smiling. We asked Naj how she learned about IAG - Independent Artists Group and she teasingly told us, "I found the IAG through browsing the community groups when I first joined Ebay in 2005. I also found the International Association of Geomorphologists and the Intelligent Agents Group through browsing Google near the IAG listing. I'm not a member of these by the way", she winks good naturedly.

We asked Naj who in the IAG group she really admires as far as the art they produce. Not willing to step on friends toes of course she back slid for a moment and fidgeted in her chair, paused and then said, "It wouldn't be fair to single out a few favourites... Some of my favourite works in the past year have been Sal Swingewood's Hoodies paintings, but there are many more - I just cant recall them at the moment. IAG has so many good Artists, you know", she takes a quick opportunity to boast a wee bit about the group talent around her.
Naj's Ladybird at Rest ACEO - Tradeable Art Card
What would Naj advise a young person interested in connecting to and pursuing the Art Universe? Refreshingly honest, Naj admits, "There's plenty of people out there with good artistic ability and talent. Its more about marketing and who you know, not what you know", sounds like just another business of networking. One has to wonder if it is really that simple or Naj like many talented Artists with a lot of success is just entirely too humble.

We begin to have a gnawing thought that only Naj's Staffordshire Bull Terrier knows for sure, but he's not talking! He's too busy admiring the recent pet portraits Naj had been commissioned for. Perhaps he's hoping for a portrait of himself like so many others he's seen her create. Given his owner has twenty years in portrait painting, he's probably barking up the right tree. As we leave we have the strangest impression it's just what her dog has wanted so he can ask about his portrait, while barking privately or growling privately Now, this dog really KNOWS the rules.

The IAG Group, showing is at the View from the Top Gallery in Nottingham, England (4th Floor above Waterstones Bookstore) January 9th through January 22nd.

Exhibition hours are from 9 AM until 7 PM Monday to Saturday and 10:30 AM until 5 PM on Sunday.

Then Monday the 22nd, hours will from 9 AM to 12 AM. Opening night private viewing on the 9th includes wine with nibbles from 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

This special art show event was coordinated by IAG - Independent Artists Group leader, Charlotte Thomson of Nottingham. Thomson hosts an International Art group online and Naj is one of it's members. Concurrent IAG member art sales, including Naj's art will be available on Ebay for those who cannot make the Nottingham show. Just put IAG in the Art Classification of Ebay's Search Engines or bookmark this page and click the blue IAG above.

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