Student Stories - Gina Axlund

This is one of an occasional series of posts I’m calling Student Stories! 

I felt it was high time I celebrated and shared the work of some of the artists who have interacted with my work in some way over the years as part of their art journey. Some have taken a course {or courses}, some have been following the blog or reading Artnotes for years, or a combination of these.

These short stories are about where their work and my work met, and what they experienced after that. Please go and check out the links of these artists and like, follow, and support them however you wish! A rising tide lifts all boats, and all that. 🙂

This week’s artist: Gina Axlund

“I don’t even remember how I first came across Tara. It was some years ago (2016?), and I was looking at art pics on Instagram or maybe Pinterest. I came across a post about going back to art after a break.

I felt totally targeted by it. My children were then 3 and 5 years old and I’d given up on painting since giving birth to my firstborn.

Holding a brush felt frustrating and scary after 5 years and, for your information, I didn’t have any inspiration, nor any space for my supplies and art practice so, as you can see it’s impossible to paint!

Gina Axlund


Anyway, I clicked the link to the page, read the blog, the Artnotes and took the free mini-course. It felt like I was in heaven! I had found someone who knew exactly what coaching and encouraging really means!

And I started with just a line, what could be simpler than that!? Surely I could pick up a pencil and draw some lines. It just takes 5 minutes of my life and I could do it from the comfort of my sofa.

Soon the line became marks and after a couple of days holding a brush felt as easy as it had done 5 years before.

Gina Axlund


Yet there were issues that made painting a struggle: I couldn’t find time to paint, my work was all over the place, I didn’t even have a consistent palette.

But there were beautiful things happening as well: Tara’s alumni Facebook group felt like free falling onto a fluffy cloud of kindness, support and inspiration expressed by group members from all over the world.

Tara’s discreet guidance gave me tools to find my own voice instead of just giving me fast and ”ready solutions”.

Gina Axlund

Soon I found out some important things about myself as an artist:

1) I operate best when I have a limited amount of time in the “studio” (aka kitchen). Thus, I gave myself a two hour window to paint after putting the kids to bed 2-3 times a week. I managed to do more in these two hours than I ever did during a whole day prior to children.

2) A limited palette is da shit! 🙂 After taking Tara’s 7-day challenge I discovered that using maximum 5 colors (black and white included) is making my decision process (and subsequent multiple attempts) a lot shorter.

3) Figure painting is my thing (same 7-day challenge). Lot of insights from just a short 7-day challenge, right?

4) I need to create in different mediums, formats etc to keep a balance in my creative process. I move back and forth between large canvases, small prints, detailed work, and more abstract expression.

Gina Axlund


After having had a more or less consistent (night-time) art practice during these last 3 years I’ve seen so many exciting things happen!

I’ve showed my work once or twice a year, both in solo exhibitions and in group shows or art fairs. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s not bad for a full-time working mom that commutes 100 km daily.

I’ve also sold my work more or less consistently, which has given me confidence and encouragement to go on.

My next challenge is to dare price my work so it does it justice. I’ll let you know if I ever solve that riddle!

Gina AxlundYou can see behind the scenes of Gina’s creative process over at Instagram or Facebook.