Thursday, November 10, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Another exhibition date looms over the horizon - actually the opening is next week so the work is just about done. But before I formally invite you, let me tell you a story behind one of the paintings in the show.

I wanted to paint a work that would sit well with a floral painting that I had completed some time before. I am currently exploring a new direction incorporating enigmatic portraits in my contemporary style. The floral painting is of the boronia flower, a genus of about 160 plants all endemic to Australia, so named after a young assistant botanist named Francesco Borone.

The best account I have found comes from the words of Ian Fraser, click on his name to follow his blog

On 1 November 1794, in Athens, a very talented young field botanist met a tragic death; furthermore it was a death that has become enveloped in mythology and mystery. His name was Francesco Borone, and he was the protegé of the great English patron of botany, Sir James Smith. Four years later Smith fulfilled a promise he made on hearing of Borone's death, and named a genus of very beautiful Australian shrubs for him; the flowering of Boronia is one of the highlights of spring in many parts of southern Australia.

Originally employed by Smith as a domestic servant, Borone soon showed his interest and intelligence and became a valued botanical field assistant. With Smith's recommendation, he accompanied the eminent Swedish botanist Adam Azelius to Sierra Leone then, fatefully, went with the great John Sibthorp to Greece to collect for the monumental Flora Graecae. Recovering from a bout of fever (which may have been something he picked up in west Africa) he appears to have sleep-walked out of a narrow hotel bedroom window high above the street. It sounds an odd tale, but we have Sibthorp's direct account in a letter written the same day to Smith. Unless Sibthorp and at least two assistants and companions of Borone were in some strange conspiracy - and there is no reason to suppose such a thing - the bizarre accident seems to have been just that. (Sibthorp also speculated that it was possible that Borone had mistaken the window; he was used to stepping out of the one across the room to walk on the hotel terrace.)

More versions of his death evolved to touch the imaginations of the tender hearted. But this one is deemed the correct one.

Boronia, a sweet flower, A lovely tribute.

Remembering Francesco
Diptych 65 x 96cm 
Exhibition Time!

If you are in Sydney, you are invited to an exhibition of mine and fellow artist Julie Simmons' works.

Held at the Depot Gallery, 2 Danks Street Waterloo for 2 weeks. opens 15 November.

If you cant make the show and are interested in viewing the work please send me an email and we will send you a catalogue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spring Sunshine

Thought I'd start the blog with a nice title. Nothing to do with the content. Sorry.
September has been a blur for me in retrospect, I've been kept pretty busy with family matters and have interspersed these moments with bursts of frenzied art making.

Pictured is a commission finished recently and delivered today "The Sound of Jubilee", 92cm X 106cm, acrylic on canvas. Not the best photo, but it suits the season don't you think?

I am feeling pretty excited about future projects coming up - just as well. I counted no less than FIVE rejections from major shows this month. 3 shows of which I've been a finalist in the past. 

Ah well. Move on. 

I did win a 1st prize at the Orange Blossom Art Awards Castle Hill (and a highly commended, and commended). And sales are happening regularly, so I have no right to complain. Certainly doesn't stop me from entering - the competition is of high quality and there's a lot of brilliance out there, which will make it all the sweeter next time I "get in".

Yes, move on.

pictured above "Guardian of My Heart" 76cm square acrylic on canvas.

I also have been printmaking again. I will be one of the artists representing The Hawkesbury Printmakers" in a Community Group show at the Regional Gallery later in the year, so I thought I'd better oil up the press and get to work.


Today I also booked a solo show in Sydney next year that will be all printmaking - the first time I've done that. That's exciting.

Anyhow, I'm going to try and get up early tomorrow and paint so signing off.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Living Dangerously

Well, I am living on the edge. I have taken to setting up the easel in the loungeroom and paint in constant danger of dogs, cats and personal knocks of paint, palette, water and canvas onto carpet.

Reason for this madness? I am cold, I like the company of fellow humans, I am closer to the kettle.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) I cannot bring the larger canvasses up the hill into the house, so I have been a little lax in finishing important commissions and works for upcoming competitions.

This week Springwood Art Show opens, and I am exhibiting two brand new works:

Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 50cm

"The Beauty of Stones"
Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 60cm
For details on the show open just for this weekend see the LINK

Next week, the The Royal Art Society will be having their annual Spring exhibition. Opens Friday 2nd September.

The week after The Orange Blossom Festival Annual Art Awards opens in Castle Hill.

Hope you are all well, and that I continue to keep paint off the carpet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Start Spinning Those Plates

My mind is very full at moment, I have a few extra things in my life to think about and the arts business has filled up my dance card also. All is fabulous, so I shall enjoy the ride...


"The Bush, My Lover" acrylic 65 x 55cm
Not one but 2 notifications came in recently! I am a finalist in the Corangamarah Art Prize with "The Bush, My Lover"

and a finalist in the Flanagan Art Prize with "This Summer Zone".

"This Summer Zone" acrylic 65 x 55cm

I used to live in Ballarat, Victoria. That would be very handy right now - would save me courier fees and I could drive to the openings!

What Have I Been Doing

Patricia Devine (my Mum!) and I at Purple Noon 
I visited an exhibition opening at Purple Noon Gallery. "Memories of Seasons Past" Wonderful textiles by Tony Meskauskas and delightful collagraphs by one of my favourite printmaker - painters Madelaine Szymanski.

An acrylics workshop at Castle Hill Art Society kept me so busy that I was unable to take a photo. You will have to imagine the lovely pieces being created.

Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society show was hung this week and I was honoured to be asked to co - judge the exhibition along with renowned artist Kasey Sealy. What a great space to hang paintings - the ramp to the different levels at St.Ives Shopping Village has been refurbished and lit and there are about 280 paintings to see.

Coming Up

Pirtek Still Life Award, Bowral. 22 - 31 July

Singleton Art Prize 22 - 26 July

"Naked" at The Ferry Artists Gallery, Wisemans Ferry opens this Saturday 23 July

Acrylics Demonstration, Bankstown Art Society Friday 29 July

A little scraperboard
that I did for the "Naked" exhibition,
Wisemans Ferry

Monday, July 04, 2016

Slow and Steady

I haven't picked up all of my work from Purple Noon Gallery yet, but I must say I am very happy with the outcome of the exhibition "Kaleidoscope".

Happiness comes in several forms for a working artist. Three key ones for me are: SALES - yes I had sales enough to pay the bills and more besides.  EXPOSURE - yes good publicity was generated and I had visitors throughout the exhibition, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT - I produced new work and am excited at the direction I might take in the future, and the show looked fabulous. Another element I look for is - OPPORTUNITY FOR FUTURE INCOME. Happy to say that was covered as well, I have some commissions, and have booked in a couple more exhibitions in the next 12 months.

So, post exhibition I should have cleaned up my studio, evaluated old works and made some sort of plan for the future. I have done some planning.... but my studio is in a woeful state of disarray. My usual procedure is to clean a space before I start a new project/canvas so I had better keep with that!

At KAB Gallery with "Cannonade"

Took a day trip up to Terrigal last week and left some new work with KAB Gallery. I look forward to similar expeditions up the the Gold Coast and down to Melbourne in the next few months. Always nice to visit the galleries that I am a part of.

I finished a few paintings since I wrote last.

From left: "Skull with Gerberas" 53x35cm Mixed Media, "Legacy" Mixed Media 76x55cm ,
"Watchtower" Mixed Media71x49cm

From left: "The Family Thorne" 36x36cm Acrylic, "Secret Garden" 20x15cm Mixed Media,
 "If There Be Any Virture" 92x105cm Acrylic

My PLAN for the coming 8 months is to finish at least one painting a week. So glad we are on the other side of the winter solstice. I need every extra minute of daylight I can get!

Coming up

TERM 3 at The Royal Art School, Lavender Bay North Sydney starts next week. Heres some information

Camberwell Art Show
The Camberwell Art Show celebrates 51 years as one of Australia’s leading art events for established and emerging artists.
Dates: 8 July - Gala opening night (6.30pm to 10.00pm).
Regular opening 9-17 July 2016.
Hours: Weekends 10.00am - 5.00pm, Weekdays 10.00am - 9.00pm.
Venue: Swinburne University Advanced Technologies Centre, 427 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122.
One Day Workshop (with me!), Castle Hill 17 July
Im not sure what spaces are left, should be a fun day. Contact Details

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Winter Sunshine

I had to title today's blog that. I've been spending this morning standing on top of a cliff painting a local view of the Hawkesbury River - as yet unfinished, so you wont be seeing it here yet. But I'll give you a glimpse of the view.

Two works completed since I last wrote a blog. Must be slacking off... Na, not really - I have some commissions to work on and I have been distracted by teaching mixed media with acrylics in my Wednesday Class at the Royal Art Society. Charcoal, collage, monotype, fun fun fun!

Visited a fellow artist's show at ArtSHINE Gallery last week. Kristine Ballard's "Paradise". Wonderful colour and a jolly good opening too!

With fellow artists Patricia Devine, Kristine Ballard & Julie Simmons

Thought for the week

I have recently not had work accepted into some juried artshows/prizes. This is a common occurrence. Thankfully, being accepted into juried artshows/prizes also happens, so I am quite happy about that.
I have been listening to other artists complain bitterly, wail and gnash their teeth etc etc. about the unfairness of it all and why oh why did they not get chosen etc.

But here in Australia they are usually a competition are they not? Which means only 1 person gets to win 1st Prize (or a finite number get to be a finalist).

So many reasons I can think of that the entry in question didnt get in (both good and bad). Assuming the art submitted was any good; how about pure logistics. Several hundred entries and only room to hang 50? Too many of the same style/theme and the curators wanted to hang a balanced show. The judges had different tastes and standards. I know there are some dodgy shows out there and sometimes you need to be "known" to get in; but its not worth exploring that. I personally think that there are just so many artists out there and are brave/good/deluded/rich etc. enough to enter. So many fabulous artists I know of dont enter shows either, for various reasons. Often the rejection is so heartfelt it demoralises.

 "What about all that entry money?" some may ask. I'm pretty sure its expensive to run a show, I doubt much profit is being made. But if it is - well, you paid it for the opportunity to have your work seen (even for a few seconds?) and for a possible inclusion in a show.  Ha, you might even call it gambling in a way - Id prefer not to call it that - more like a ticket to a roller coaster that can lift you up to artist bliss or dump you down into the depths of despair..

Dont lament and fall prostrate into a bed of chocolate (well maybe  just a little to make yourself feel better); pick yourself up and keep creating, learning, improving. Never copy the winners work thinking it will make you a winner, dont compare your work to others (unless its to improve yourself), dont get angry.


I will be spending my last Sunday at Purple Noon Gallery this week. My show "Kaleidoscope" will be ending, and I have been more than happy with it. Time to plan the next one!

Come by and say hallo.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fabulous Fortnight

This week I've had a few quiet moments of rest, some celebratory jumping up and down and have been given back some of my energy to the Creative World, teaching painting workshops over the weekend.

"Kaleidoscope" opened to great success. Success as in many people came to the opening and have been visiting the gallery since; and also in painting sales - I have sold several large pieces so far and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I can pay back my framers and associated costs!

Some pics from the opening

Last weekend was the Combined Art Societies of Sydney workshop weekend "Art in Action" held at Merroo in Kurrajong. I started the 3 day weekend by setting up an ambitious still life, finishing up with landscapes on the Sunday. I know I was pleased with what the students were doing, so I hope they were too!

Teaching can be both hard work and rewarding. I think I learn something new every lesson which is a bonus, and my brain is working overtime trying to bring out the best in what each student is capable of. So I definitely slept well Sunday night.

Mega Still Life set up

Fantastic work on Landscape Sunday

 And best news of all (thanks God!), I won Best In Show at the Hunter Valley Grammar School "Inspired" for my "Puparazzi".

and yesterday I found out I am a finalist at Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Art Award with "Preservation"

So there have been a few downs this fortnight that need not be mentioned here, 
but so many more Ups. Thats a good plan for life really.

I hope your life is moving Up right now.


Thursday, May 05, 2016


I have now delivered the last of my paintings to Purple Noon Gallery, and I am close to feeling the exhaustion and brain fog that usually follows the end of such a big project.

But not just yet! (Well, the rest of today was a bit of a write off), I have an exhibition to attend!

The Opening of "Kaleidoscope" will take place on Saturday 7th May at 6m. The exhibition is on as of now, and the gallery is open Wednesdays through to Sundays. For more details see Purple Noon's website, My show will run through the month of May until the next exhibition opens - the date hasn't been set as yet.

I  will be there on Sundays as ''Artist in Residence'; ready to show you around, give impromptu artist soliloquys, maybe have a painting in progress to show you some of my methods.

So, I might take the rest of the week off - that being Friday.

Saturday morning I'll be cutting lino for the International Print Day in May. And on Sunday - I might work on some long overdue commissions.



3 works in the show - ''Gratitude'','' Laura on the Hill'', ''Autumnal''

A glimpse of the coming show

Another view of gallery - there will be a small range printed totes available during the show.
Three Floral paintings in the show to wish you a Happy Mothers Day this Sunday
And I forgot to add, Robyn has already sold one of the paintings which is fabulous, so if you cant get to the show soon, you may ask for a concise list of works for you to consider.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lots of Lovely Painting

What a marvelous weekend - The Hawkesbury Artists and Artisans Trail was on and I was "'in residence" at Jeanette Starr's Little River Artist Studios. Lots of lovely people to talk to, and I hope to have a date or two of coming workshops there in the future.

I have had some successes, at the Hawkesbury Agricultural Show I recieved a 1st Prize for Drawing, and a Third and 2 Highly Commendeds for other sections. I also found out I am shortlisted in the Fleurieu Food & Wine Art Prize for ''Repast''.

Term 2 started again at The Royal Art Society Art School, where I am teaching acrylic painting. If you are quick you can still enrol (For more info on coming classes and workshops click HERE).

I gave a demonstration for the St.George Art Society, which apart from being a great night with great people, gave me the opportunity to start another couple of paintings! (My favourite stage of a work).

What I am most excited about is my coming show at Purple Noon Art Gallery. Less than two weeks to go until the opening, and I still have a possible 5 more paintings I would like to finish for possible inclusion. We shall see...

And here is the invitation! If you are in Sydney in May, I do hope you can come visit; apart from the opening, I plan to be at the gallery most Sundays for the duration of the exhibition.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

"Onward and Upward!"

Thought I should start with an inspiring quote - although the rest of it goes: To Narnia and the North! (CS Lewis).

Because I have been lax in keeping this blog updated with my daily trials and tribulations (lucky for you readers!), I will just let you know of a few things coming up in April.

15 - 17 April, 
My local Agricultural Show. Come and check out the Arts Pavillion

23 & 25 April
I will be demonstrating both acrylic painting and wood engraving on the Saturday at Little River Art Studios, and I will have work available both there and Purple Noon Gallery

15 - 24th April

Winmalee High School
29 April - 1 May

 Art in Action, Merroo Conference Centre, Kurrajong NSW
13, 14, 15 May
Here is a flyer I made for the Saturday, but there are still places available for 
Friday - Still Life
Sunday - Landscape

I will leave you with a painting I started as a demonstration at the Sydney Royal Easter Show at the Derivan stand, and it will now be available at my coming solo exhibition at Purple Noon Gallery

Opens Saturday 7th May!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Painting with Friends

Just had a fabulous workshop with the Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society on the weekend. It is amazing how exhausting and energising a workshop can be at the same time. I caught up with old friends and made new ones, and I was more than pleased with everyone's paintings in creation that day.

Workshop with Ku Ring Gai Art Society
 I have managed to start and yes, finish several works this month!

The unfinished..

One of the finished - "Swamphen" Oils on Canvas, 30cm square

In case you have not had a chance - please go onto my website and let me know your favourite pieces from 2015. I am about to have some cards printed and your choices may influence me for the better.

There is a few things happening in March....

Lindfield Art Show, 12 & 13 March. I will be a guest demonstrator on the Saturday afternoon.

Royal Art Society Autumn Exhibition opens March 11

Sydney Royal Easter Show - Arts Preview Tuesday 15 March, and I will be there demonstrating at the Derivan stand in the Arts Pavillion Saturday 19 & Monday 28th
Art in the Hills, Oakhill College 18 - 20 March

Florabundance, Ferry Artists Gallery opens 19 March

And a special mention - fellow artist Julie Simmons' exhibition opening this Saturday 12 March at Purple Noon Gallery, Freemans Reach (where I will have my own solo exhibition this coming May)

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Year Starts....Now. No Wait,......Now.

I have decided to start the new year from February. January is pretty much a loss planning & production wise right? School started after 26th January (Australia Day), so.. holidays are basically just finished surely?

Ok enough procrastinating.

I have started teaching on Wednesdays at the Art School at The Royal Art Society NSW - 

“Exploring Acrylics”
This class will teach the basics of painting with acrylics to beginners, and encourage intermediate students to explore their own techniques and creativity.
Subjects will be varied, elements of composition will be explored, colour & brushstroke will be encouraged! The class will cover many aspects of the medium and techniques, including the addition of mixed media & acrylic mediums.

Wednesdays     9.30am – 12.30pm
                                6.30 – 8.30pm
Late enrolments are still being taken if you are interested - call or email Royal Art Society 02 9955 5572 

I have been painting! So much to do - I have my galleries needing new work and I have a solo show coming up in May, so I really need to cut down on the non essential activities like bookkeeping for the family business and housework.

Some 9x5" acrylic on canvas birds

These 2 were school demos that I finished recently
"Rubiconde" Acrylic 101 x 76cm   
"The Diary" Reworked painting in Oils, 30x30cm
Coming up:

There is a drawing and teacher's exhibition on at Lavender Bay Gallery