Art Chat #10 – Natalie Lynch of Studio Yellow

January 25, 2023
Natalie of Studio Yellow

Natalie of Studio Yellow

Today I’m happy to introduce you all to my ‘art teacher’ and friend Natalie Lynch. I started attending Art Mentoring classes with Natalie at her ‘Studio Yellow’ in April 2021. I’ve done seven of the eight of her Art Mentoring modules and will be completing the eighth this coming February. I’ve also attended a Block Printing Workshop which you can see the outcome of in my Art Chat #8 post, and I’m a member of ‘Club Yellow’. If you click on the Club Yellow link, you’ll see that it’s similar to a social club with like-minded people. I’ve met some wonderful ladies and enjoy our meet ups very much!

Natalie has been instrumental in helping to awaken my creative side. What she offers at Studio Yellow is unique in my opinion. I hadn’t done an art class since I was in Year 8 at high school! She’s introduced me to many different art mediums and techniques that I’d never known of before and I’ve learnt about so many different art supplies/products that I was oblivious to. Her passion and enthusiasm for art is wonderful to be around, and it rubs off on you! She encourages all her students and provides positive and constructive feedback on our work that helps us to believe in ourselves. Not only this, but once you know her story, you’ll understand what she has overcome which makes her resilience and achievements all that more impressive. She is an inspiration to me, and to many others.

Another great thing about attending art classes with Natalie is you get to meet Billy! Billy is her black Cavoodle and he is very popular with students! You can see Billy pictured with Natalie above.

Natalie was a Secondary school art teacher, who also taught Art to primary-aged children in an independent Private school before she opened Studio Yellow around 6 years ago. She has a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary Art), a Bachelor of Education, and a Diploma in Art Therapy. Her story is not my story to tell so I will let her tell it below via a series of questions I’ve asked her.

I will include links at the end of this post where you can connect with Natalie, but for now I hope you enjoy getting to know Natalie and Studio Yellow.


Can you tell readers, in as many or few words as you like, what happened in your life that inspired you to leave your teaching position and start your new business ‘Studio Yellow’?

I started Studio Yellow a few years after my husband passed away.

When he lost his battle with depression, after 27 years together, my whole world was turned upside-down and I was left heartbroken. I found the only way to cope with this kind of grief was to start learning as much as I could about Depression, to develop a broader knowledge of mental illness and all its complexities. I also started to fill the darkest hours by making art. I quickly realised making art, while grieving, was very different from before.

As I experienced the therapeutic benefits, I also found myself wondering if my husband might have lived longer if he had pursued a more creative life.

He also loved art and was accepted into Seven Hills Art College (now a campus of Southbank Institute of Technology) when he graduated from Secondary school. Unfortunately, his parents strongly advised him to choose a different path so that he could earn money straight away. He choose a cadetship and studied at QUT to become a Civil Design Draftsman. Life got busy but he always talked about doing art ‘one day’.

As I moved through my grief, I decided I needed to share what I had learned, to see if I could help others discover the power of art to heal and improve their outlook on life.  After completing further studies in Art Therapy, I took a leap of faith and created a place where I could teach classes that combined a unique mix of art skills, and mindset techniques for adults.

What is your mission for Studio Yellow and do you feel like you’re achieving it?

I am passionate about helping adults embrace their innate creativity, by either learning art for the first time or re-igniting an existing interest. I show my clients how to use art as a hobby, to nurture their mental health. With my extensive professional experience, and my life experience (as a wife, mother of two, and widow), I know how to help people relax as I break down the art processes into simple, easy-to-follow steps. I also know how to cater to all learning styles and abilities. Whether you’re lonely, bored, depressed, anxious, traumatised, or just looking for a safe place to start, my Art classes are all about taking gentle steps toward living again, instead of just surviving. Many clients have said they can’t thank me enough for how much I (and the classes) have helped them.

What inspired the yellow pineapple theme for your business?

Studio Yellow Pineapple Logo

Do you know how hard it is to decide on a business name? I came up with many possibilities only to find they had already been taken. Everything arty (that I liked) was already ‘googlable’…is that a word??  I wanted to use the word ‘studio’ so with the help of my daughter the name Studio Yellow was born. Why yellow? To me, Yellow was the best colour because it represents happiness, sunshine, and hope. Why pineapples? Pineapples are yellow, healthy, fun to draw, sweet to eat, and very Queensland. The pineapple is also a symbol of hospitality, prosperity, celebration and friendship!  After the logo was created (by my clever daughter) I was amazed at how many pineapples, other than the actual fruit, there are in this world. Now that I’m tuned into them, I see pineapples everywhere. Many of the pineapples in my studio have been gifts.

Can you give readers a wrap up of the variety of class and workshop options that Studio Yellow has to offer?

Art Class

I offer in-person weekly classes as part of my Art Mentoring Program. Every week I teach ways to express yourself within the pages of an art journal. All the skills taught are transferable and could be used for larger art projects. I also run 3 and 4-hour workshops on weekends that focus on one topic, such as Block Printing, Acrylic Painting on canvas, making Artist Books, hand-building Clay techniques etc. My Splat ‘n’ Chat sessions are also very popular. These sessions cater to those who want to schedule ‘art time’, to work on their own art projects in my studio, away from the distraction of life. They enjoy the company of like-minded people and I’m on hand to offer support if required.

What would be your description of ‘art therapy’ and the benefits of it?

All art-making is therapeutic so the benefits are limitless. A traditional Art Therapist can help people achieve insight into a wide range of issues using art materials as a tool. Art therapy is also VERY different from Art classes taught in schools that are all about following the curriculum and learning how to express your ideas to please a real or imagined ‘audience’. My Art therapy classes don’t focus on discovering issues or having your work judged as ‘good or bad’ by others. Instead, I share art processes that anyone can dabble in, to make the whole experience relaxing and enjoyable. Learning art for the therapeutic benefits is about learning to enjoy the moment (mindfulness) and your individuality (expressing your unique thoughts, ideas, and experiences, your way). When you know where to start, art is a great outlet that helps you switch off from the mind clutter (negative thoughts and worries), and feel a deep sense of achievement. Art also helps you to develop your awareness of the visual world and the beauty that exists everywhere you look. There are art teachers out there who only want their students to make beautiful art so they get frustrated with beginners and even resort to ‘fixing up’ sections of their work for them. That’s not me. Art is only therapeutic when you are willing to experiment and even make bad art sometimes. When you remove the pressure of making art to please others you will find your inner child and the world becomes a place full of wonder and inspiration. The magic happens when you focus on the process, and you’re aware of how you feel while you are using art materials in creative ways.

What would you say to someone who says they don’t have a creative bone in their body?

I would say, you need to watch a group of small children for a while. Ask any early years educator. All children respond naturally to the Arts. But for those people who feel that they missed out on the ‘art gene’, it’s more likely they missed out on the opportunity to live a creative life. I was brought up in a family of musicians and my father was always making things out of wood in his workshop. When I was not interested in spending my spare time reading, I was encouraged to draw. I also had excellent Art teachers at High School and relatives who were visual artists…so creativity was a normal part of my life and I had opportunities. If you want to have a debate over Nature vs Nurture, I’d say ‘Nurture’ wins! I believe anyone/everyone is an artist. If you nurture your mindset and allow yourself to explore ALL of the various forms of art (collage, printmaking, inks, sculpture, etc) you’ll probably be surprised in a good way! “I can’t draw/sing/dance” does not equal “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”

What is your favourite thing about having your own business and what is the hardest thing about having your own business?

After so many years when every day of the year was scheduled, I love the freedom I have now. I followed rosters and timetables, rules and guidelines, curriculums and budget restraints for almost 30 years. Now I teach what I believe to be important and set my own work hours. I do not miss formally assessing the work my students do. I love that adult students can adapt and change anything I suggest without consequence because there is no set of criteria to adhere to. The hardest part is making myself take time off. I have so much I still want to achieve before I retire (when I will really focus on making more of my own art). Another hard part of being the founder of Studio Yellow is the constant reminder that the concept for this business and my ability to offer the services I have, only come about because of the loss of a wonderful and loving man. It feels wrong to say “I love my life and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved” when I also wish the father of my two children was still alive. He would be turning 60 this year, in July 2023.

I know you have a new element to Studio Yellow in the works. Would you like to tell readers a bit about what you’re working on?

Soon I will be launching a new program for people in the early stages of grief. ‘Art Waves’ will only be offered online, so it can be accessed wherever and whenever overwhelm takes over. Through my association with First Light, I am very aware that many people live in areas where art classes for adults don’t exist so they can’t physically attend a class even if they felt strong enough to get out of the house. While I think in-person classes are the best, grief comes in waves, at any time of the day or night. I want to have an online option for people who are grieving regardless of their other circumstances. Getting the content online is a daunting process, but again, I’m taking baby steps so it will happen this year!


Thanks so much Natalie for taking the time to answer my questions and sharing your story and thoughts with us all. I feel certain that your husband would be so proud of what you’ve achieved! I’m excited for you with the upcoming launch of ‘Art Waves’. I think it’s a fabulous idea and will be appreciated by many! 

If you’d like to know more about Studio Yellow or would like to connect with Natalie, here’s where you can find her:

Studio Yellow Website  |  Studio Yellow Facebook  |  Studio Yellow Instagram  |  Email Natalie

Ciao for now,

Linking up with Denyse Whelan’s ‘Wednesday’s Words and Pics

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee January 25, 2023 at 7:06 am

    Lovely post. I saw a thing yesterday, when depressed (floored with anxiety) or closing down with over thinking, remember to look up and engage with what you enjoy in life. Connect to what takes your focus (for joy). Art would be one of those things. #WWandP

    • Reply Min January 25, 2023 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Lydia! Yes art is one of those things and nature would be the other for me!

  • Reply HelenG January 25, 2023 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for sharing. This sounds like something I would thoroughly enjoy.

    • Reply Min January 25, 2023 at 2:48 pm

      My pleasure Helen. I don’t think there is anyone who wouldn’t enjoy putting the problems of the world aside for a while and getting totally absorbed in playing with some art!

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 January 25, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Hello Natalie it is lovely to meet you and I know that Min’s art has flourished under your guidance. Min is very talented that’s for sure. My husband has PTSD and suffers mental depression which actually was as a result of being called up for National service and spending a year in the Vietnam war back in the 70s. It didn’t manifest itself until his 60s and he had been repressing it for all of those years. I can relate to how things were for you and your husband and I’m very sorry for your loss. Your art is a wonderful way to help others and now that I am back living in Brisbane perhaps I might find some self confidence to attend some of your workshops. I am one of those who ‘can’t draw a stick figure’. Thanks Min for introducing Natalie and I thoroughly enjoyed her interview with you. #WWandP

    • Reply Min January 25, 2023 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Sue, I didn’t know your husband’s story. So many war veterans suffer with PTSD and I can understand why. What awful things they must’ve been witness to. PTSD would be so hard to live with. He’s very lucky to have you as his wife! Now you live in Brizzy and not too far from Natalie’s studio, maybe this is something you could both enjoy together! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the read, and thank you for your lovely comment! xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris January 25, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    What a great interview with Natalie, Min, I really enjoyed reading of Natalie’s work and can see how how she came to be so enthusiastic and driven to help others. I love the comment about watching young children play with art and often wonder what happens to children who used to draw and create but seem to lose that ability as they get older and say things like, ‘I’m not creative at all’ in later life. A lovely post!

    • Reply Min January 25, 2023 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks Deb! I’m glad you enjoyed getting to meet Natalie. It’s very true that comment about children, not just with art but with lots of things!

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au January 25, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    That was a really interesting insight into how a new direction can open up a whole new career and benefit others in the process. I’m currently emailing with another lady who has a similar story and is passionate about helping adults discover their creative sides – something most of us neglected for decades. It’s such a great idea – and definitely something that we can all enjoy.

    • Reply Min January 25, 2023 at 2:57 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post Leanne. Yes I think most of us neglect ourselves and our interests (including those creative interests) for a large portion of our life because we’re ‘busy’ … raising kids and running them around, working etc. It’s incredible how many woman in retirement find their creativity and many are actually very talented! It would be good if that creativity and talent could be tapped into sooner!

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid January 27, 2023 at 2:23 am

    What a great interview Min! Natalie is so inspiring especially in the way she has channelled her grief into her enterprise enriching her life and the lives of so many others. Also I’m relieved that as someone who does not consider themselves arty or crafty, there is still hope for me in the art department! Art Waves is such a wonderful idea and will be a great resource for people navigating grief and loss. Love your work Natalie!

    • Reply Min January 28, 2023 at 6:11 am

      Hi Sammie – so glad you enjoyed the interview with Natalie. Judging by your great taste in outfits for your Teddy Roosevelt and your incredible cooking and baking skills, I have no doubt that you are a creative. It’s actually quite exciting to discover what creativity can be unlocked within us. Thanks for popping in for a read! Stay well! xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan January 27, 2023 at 9:32 am

    I loved reading this and could see why you have learned so much, and been nurtured by this lovely woman as part of your creative journey Min.
    It’s interesting how creativity can come from grief and struggle.

    I would feel very grateful to have been part of learning with this gifted teacher.

    Thank you so much for sharing her story….wow. Lots of life lessons there.

    Thank you for your post this week shared on Wednesday’s Words and Pics. I am grateful for your support. I hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

    • Reply Min January 28, 2023 at 6:15 am

      Hi Denyse, I’m so happy you enjoyed reading about Natalie and Studio Yellow. As a former teacher (and headmaster) yourself I guess you might be looking at her journey with different eyes than us non teachers! I think it’s fabulous that her teaching skills have been combined with art therapy studies and her lived experience to help others. Have a great weekend Denyse! xo

  • Reply Natalie Lynch January 30, 2023 at 8:29 am

    Thank you all for comments. You inspire me to keep sharing what I know and do, because without your mental health everything is harder. Studio Yellow is my way to honour the life of a good man who was loved by so many.

    • Reply Min January 31, 2023 at 6:12 pm

      Good to see you here Natalie! Love what you do so I’m very pleased you’re planning on keeping on doing it for longer yet! Your husband would be so proud. xo

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan February 1, 2023 at 12:59 am

    Oh, my gosh. Thank you for sharing Natalie’s inspirational story. She is a shining example of finding the good or creating something good from a very dark time in her life. Just wow. I would love to have a similar place where I could sample a variety of mediums and just play with each one. Have taken painting classes but been disappointed when the teacher wanted to paint for me. Have enjoyed mosaic classes but would love an opportunity to try calligraphy and watercolor and pastels again.
    Looking forward to seeing what you create in your 8th module.

    • Reply Min February 1, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed virtually meeting Natalie and reading her story. I think we are very lucky here where I live to access to her and the classes she offers. I don’t know anywhere else that offers the same kind of thing. I dabbled in mosaics once (didn’t do any classes) and loved it. It’s so messy though. I’d love to do more of it but wish I had a dedicated art studio where I could leave all the mess out! I hope you do some calligraphy and watercolour and pastels again. Just do it Leslie (and then show us)! xo

  • Reply Sherry M February 1, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    yes such an interesting read. It’s so nice for all of us to tap into our creative sides. And important for our mental health too.

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 9:58 am

      Glad you enjoyed the read Sherry. I agree that tapping into our creative selves is good for us in so many ways!

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