Artist Wanda Comrie in her home studio.

After making the decision to move from a Public Service role to painting full-time, Western Australian artist Wanda Comrie opted for the independent pathway. Since getting to grips with Instagram back in 2015, Wanda has been running her own show and selling her vibrant still life work directly to art lovers around the world.

While admitting the admin side of operating a successful art business can be both challenging and time-consuming, Wanda enjoys the freedom that comes from working to her own beat, setting her own goals and not being concerned with gallery representation.

Here Wanda discusses what keeps her motivated, the apps that help her manage the business side of things and where she finds inspiration.

Interview by Lisa Doust.

Describe your painting style, the medium you use and your influences.

I predominantly work in oils, painting colourful still life work that features light, florals and greenery that I find locally and handmade ceramics by makers that I’ve found via Instagram. My extensive indoor collection of plants and native garden, along with the joyful Aussie light in my home, are reflected in my paintings.

Have you had any formal painting training?

Going into university after high school I studied graphic design, so I dipped my toe into photography, textiles and illustration but never painting. About 25 years ago I attended a regional once-a-week class in oil painting, which was where the spark for oil painting was originally ignited.

When did you make the transition to full-time painting?
After working in the Public Service to help my daughter through university, I hit peri-menopause, reconsidered my work options and decided to reignite my creative side. I’ve been painting full-time for about seven years and have worked independently since then.

Where do you work from?

My roomy studio is upstairs in my home, with heaps of storage, ample light from windows on all sides and several daylight lamps set up for night work. Having various work areas helps to keep the space tidyish.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Depending on the time of the year and which local flora might be flowering, I’ll start the day with some photography and styling compositions for future paintings. This is usually done downstairs in my living room, where the morning light is glorious. I’ll then move upstairs and paint for as long as I can.

Some mornings there will be the packing of paintings, which takes way too much of my creative time, then a run to the post office and then painting time. Admin gets done when I absolutely have to do it, and I try to get it done outside of my most creative hours, so it can mean long days.

How do you promote and sell your work?

Since joining Instagram in 2015 and being advised to post on the app consistently, I have been driven to make work daily. In the beginning, illustration in watercolour was my medium of choice. After a time, working smaller, I developed with my husband my ‘liddle’ boards – they’re a small tile of thick plywood that he makes beautifully, which I then prepare and paint on.

I participated in Margaret River Region Open Studios for two years, which was a great platform to gauge the local response to my work, but Instagram has been my main focus for selling my paintings.

Aside from Instagram, which apps do you regularly use?

Photoshop Express, PayPal and Squarespace.

How do you stay motivated on a daily basis?

Well, it’s just me in this small business, so there’s no question of motivation – if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. The balance is swayed often between life and work, as being on social media is a 24/7 game. My husband would say there isn’t any balance – I’m a workaholic!

What is your advice to artists who would like to sell their work independently?

Do it… Why give away 50% of your hard-earned dollars if you don’t have to! But be prepared to do ‘all the things’ and put a whole lot of time and energy into your art business. If you just want to paint, seek out a gallery that is going to market your work with gusto and passion.

Do you have a support network of other artists – if so, what are the benefits?

There’s a huge network of artists in the southwest of Western Australia and getting to chat to them regularly definitely fills my cup and pushes me to make better work.

What are your main business goals at the moment?

I’ve recently opened my online print store and I’m keen to update my website soon. Social media is an ever-changing beast and I’ll be moving to email newsletters to notify my collectors of upcoming work, rather than just relying on Instagram.

Follow Wanda via @wandacomrie or visit