COVID19 Diary entry #2 – more pictures and words in isolation

I thought I’d try and write weekly, just to keep up some kind of practice during this time. A lot of people have said to me that I would get heaps of art made in this time. I’m sorry people, but I’ve got an almost ten year old to home school, among other things.

Look, I am making things, just not the things I should be making. But I believe all creativity speaks to, informs and folds back into itself. I also believe that sometimes there are bigger things to attend to, and this is one of those sometimes with bigger things. The days that I don’t want to, or rather, cannot reach out to a pencil, pen or brush – I don’t. The days that I do and all that comes out is rubbish, I accept. The days when I have the energy and the drive to make pictures, I just bloody well do it. Unless there’s lesson to assist the kid through, lunch to prepare and dinner to work out.
What’s for dinner? 

I don’t mind, most days. I mean, if I love you I feed you. I feel really happy making food that my family and I enjoy together. I do resent it sometimes and yesterday I cracked, I ordered in. Noodles. It cost me almost 50 bucks though and do you know how many food supplies I could have got with that money? How many books I could buy? I won’t do it again but I had just sold an artwork and it is ok to celebrate, sometimes. 50 bucks, for one meal. I know that businesses are suffering, everyone is. I am cautious, for the most part.

Books are the one thing that I tend to indulge in. Daughter and I have a reading ritual and it is pretty much one of the best things in life. Gosh we have read so much already. I slip between non fiction, fiction, crime fiction, short books and longer ones. I don’t want to read the internet, it is depressing and screens do not great things to my mind. Plus it is too tempting to look at rubbish that just makes me spiral. I don’t need to spiral right now.

Anyway I am between watercolouring and sketching in my visual diary. I planned to write a lot more today but I am going to tuck back into my current read – The Yield by Tara June Winch. I’m half way but I already recommend that you should read it too.

Here are some recents, I’ll write soon.

Be safe and be kind. Read a book.


COVID19 Diary entry #1 – Art in Isolation

What a time we are in.

I started a new job this year, a job that I absolutely love, and it’s on hold – as is much of the rest of life at the moment. We three are at home and have been for a number of weeks now. We take it day by day – some days are really tricky. There’s emotions and uncertainty and boredom and grief. This time is so hard on kids. We older people ( who are really just bigger, saggier, hairier children ) are trying to act like we have control and try and keep things normal but at night I wake up and just think

I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this, I am not cut out for this. 

To fill out the hours of our days Kidlet and I have enjoyed many craft projects. We’ve put bears in our windows for kids who walk by. We’ve made an easter display of bunnies, bunny ears, chickens and eggs. We’ve made puppets of ourselves and furntiure to go with them. I am pretty pleased that I have a well stocked craft supply. Though, we have gone through a lot of it in this last week 😀


I also started a series of watercolours of Australian animals for my daughter. We talked about their diets and habitats. That was nice to do because there is no pressure and it was something that brought joy to us.

We all need a bit of joy right now.


I’m also keeping a sketchbook, but I’m not saying to myself to do a drawing a day or even every week because there’s already enough pressure and we have to look after ourselves so we can get through this, and try and be productive when and if we can.

There’s others but they are wither scanned in badly or drawn badly.

I’ll write more soon as there is more to add, however we are navigating online learning for the kid and it is, well, it is interesting!

I hope you are all keeping well in mind, body and spirit.


What do you say

in a time like this.

Not much. Just what needs to be said. I guess a time like this is more suited to doing – what you do and what you don’t do. Check in, grocery drop offs, make meals, check the endless empty shelves for toilet paper ..

It is incomprehensible.

It’s a take it as it comes sort of time. It is wow I thought in a time like this maybe I would panic more.

Perhaps the panic is yet to come.



Exhibition Openings

Guten Tag!

Thank you to all who could make it the the Overburden exhibition launch at the Eureka Centre a couple of weeks back. Thank you Cr Belinda Coates for speaking and officially launching the show. Thanks to Anthony Camm, manager of Eureka Centre.

Essay about the centre and the exhibition here: Overburden – Art and the Weight of History 

Full Essay here


Overburden is on view until the 2nd of August.


Last Saturday there was the launch of SHE 2020, an exhibition featuring eight artists from around Australia. Those artists are  Lily Mae Martin, Deanne Gilson, Nyaruot Ruth Ruach, Kumantjayi Nangala, Tai Snaith, Alana Hunt, Tiffany Parbs, Vonda Keji.

Here is more about the exhibition and about the artists: SHE

As part of the exhibition there will be a series of readings, here is a link to the program which begins tomorrow: SHE READS

Thank you to curator Esther Gyorki for inviting me to participate in this exhibition alongside some incredible artists. I feel super, super lucky.


Overburden – exhibition

Open Cut – Black Hill, By Lily Mae Martin, 1380 x 760 cm, ink on cotton paper, 2019

Hello! My exhibition is all coming together – I worked on this all last year and it is really exciting to be able to share this information with you all now. I will write more over the coming weeks and months about the process. Here is a little more about it –


Eureka Centre Ballarat presents ‘Overburden’, an exhibition of recent drawings by Lily Mae Martin, from 3 February to 2 August 2020. An exhibition opening will be held on Thursday 13 February 2020 at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

‘Overburden’ addresses the legacy of Gold Rush mining and explore our relationship with, and perception of, the natural world. Through close observation of the landscape around Ballarat, Lily Mae has uncovered evidence of past catastrophic environmental exploitation and destruction caused by mining during the Victorian Gold Rush.

These recent drawings are the result of a year of focussed research and site visits throughout the Ballarat region. Through walking and drawing, Lily Mae began to understand how the landscape had become heavily impacted by mining and transformed by earthworks – abandoned mine shafts, mullock heaps, and the abundant evidence of sludge that once clogged water systems. She also discovered areas where mining had occurred that seemed almost entirely reclaimed by nature.

These drawings have their genesis in on-site sketches that were further developed in her studio resulting in exquisitely detailed pen and ink drawings. Her use of black and white brings to her drawing a strong metaphoric association with truth-telling. Through her close observation of nature and her dedicated act of drawing Lily Mae aims to strip away nature’s veneer of regeneration, bringing traces of environmental degradation to the fore and revealing the past trauma lurking under the surface of the land.

Lily Mae describes the inspiration and impetus for the project:

‘Overburden’ is a collection of work about how mining the earth for gold has permanently altered and reshaped the physical landscape. So much about history is about the human story – but we so rarely ask about the stories of the land. What about the environment in which we live; what do we value and what do we throw away? What do we put in museums and what is left on private farms, in state forests? Now more than ever, it seems all the more urgent to notice what we don’t notice.”

Lily Mae Martin is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries scottliveseygalleries

Eureka Centre Ballarat is a cultural facility of the City of Ballarat


Almost the new year

Hello. It’s nearly the end of December which means it’s going to be 2020 super soon.

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

I’m already tired of seeing all the round ups of 2019, especially the best ofs for the past decade which are all bias towards the last few years of this decade and see I am going to start ranting about it again 😛

No lists here, not really a round up either but I guess I can’t help but being reflective at this time of year. More things shifted this year and that’s part of growing up, which we’re always doing – we have no choice.

I did a project where I started with reading and research, followed by site visits and being gifted with time and knowledge from some local historians. Which is very different from my usual approach to artmaking. I’ve been focusing solely on production for many years now. ( A response to certain events, which I have more of a handle on ) and while I was helping offload many large, unsold artworks from the back of a truck last week I thought I don’t need to do this anymore. 

I take a lot of pride in being told that I am productive and prolific. You have no idea how much of a kick I get out of being acknowledged for those things. Part of me thinks phew! I’m not a loser. Well, phew – they can see me. I still plan on being those things, I can’t not not be making in someway. I just think it is time for me to do more reading, more research. And while I’ve been exploring black and white and tonal values for like 15 years now – it’s time to complicate things with colours. Maybe. I’m not sure yet as I am still exploring and doing less of the sharing for now.

Drawing, large scale drawing and foreshortening are things I enjoy but I think I’m needing an extra challenge. You know I feel with having an art practice there is so little room to experiment these days. I think social media influences that – there’s so much about marketing that comes into play with a social media presence and that experimentation becomes too risky. I’ve bought into that in a big way that now I feel there is something lacking in my practice. I’m addressing this.

So. That’s me, for now. There’s two exhibitions coming up for 2020, one solo in Ballarat, Victoria and another group in Melbourne. I’m still undecided if I’ll enter prizes and the like, I didn’t in 2019 and you know what it was pretty great. I see the value in them, but definitely not for every year. Don’t let what you see online fool you – those things cost a lot of money for artists to enter and participate in. It isn’t a sign of success as an artist but a sign of privilege. This is not a dig at fellow artists who do the prizes, not at all – you do what you think is best.

Here are a couple of photos that Gene Hammond-Lewis took in my studio last week, with the Kidlet as well.


Thank you for reading, thank you especially to everyone who has encouraged my art practice this year. Especially to Gene and my little – not so little – daughter child, A.

Stay hydrated and safe this new year – talk soon.

LMM xx

birthday party

Hello there neglected blog and website,

What a time it has been. Things have been challenging and it’s easy to get negative about it and give up, but I don’t want to do that.

So instead of getting lost in all that I just wanted to share a little watercolour I did, I’m going to paint a whole lot of things in colour for my lounge room. Gene built beautiful book shelves in there this year and as I went to hang things in there I stopped myself and though no, no we need colour! 

I really want to work in oils, but not yet. I will get there. I just want to work in the home at the moment. Watching nailed it with kiddo or when waiting for things to cook/ wash/ dry/ etc.

It’s important to hold onto the little and beautiful moments in life, of which there are many if you just look.


Little drawings – update soon


I’ve been working very hard and yes my website needs to be updated with more recent works. I want you to know that that is happening, it’s just I’ve a deadline looming and I need to get a tremendous amount done before I can do things like fiddle around with websites etc. But it will happen and then I will be able to show you the work I’ve been making over this past year.

In the meantime I thought I’d share a few drawings I’ve done but aren’t part of my coming show. Oh and sketches too because I like them.

Be well!

Salmon Rocks, West Cape Gippsland.

More to come about this very special part of the world.


Alice, a gift for a dear friend.


Dear hearts – school holidays

From the sketchbook – sketching J sketching


V/Line sketches – man sleeping


V/Line sketches – train!


A gift for another dear friend.

More soon!


Drop By Drawing NGV

Hello Blog, it has been a while and I have been meaning to write – how are you?

I have been very busy with art making – it has been absolutely fantastic. I am getting this time management thing down, mostly. I mean, I don’t blog anywhere near as much as I used to and social life – what social life. But listening to Phillip Adams on Conversations has inspired me to keep on at it.

I have a few things coming up:

Monday the 16th of September I will be speaking at the Zart Nurturing Creativity Conference. I’m on after Michelle Hamer in the afternoon. LINK  

Sunday the 22nd of September I will be hosting Drop By Drawing at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’ll be on from 2PM to 4PM, in the 18th century gallery, Level 2 NGVI. It is free and will be fun so please come for some or all of it! LINK

I also wanted to write and thank everyone for coming to my exhibition:

Thank you to Clementine Ford for writing about my work, thank you to Scott, Sophie and Amanda at Scott Livesey Galleries for everything. Thank you to Vault Magazine for the write up. Thank you to my Gene for everything you do for me and my art. Thank you to all who came, promoted, talked about, and bought the art!

Lastly while I prepare for my public speaking engagements, here is a drawing I did of Fudge the 8 month old wombat I met last week:




Elucidate exhibition opening

Thank you so much to everyone who came down to celebrate and look at art on Saturday. I didn’t stop talking for the whole time! I’m really thankful to everyone, I know a lot traveled some distance and juggling things like work, family, babies – toddlers!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to Scott, Sophie and Amanda for everything!

Thank you Gene for the photos and the apple crumble and – everything!

Eluciate runs until Saturday the 17th of August. I will be in each Saturday as well as some other days during the week if I can manage it.

Scott Livesey Galleries – 909A High Street, Armadale, Melbourne.

Here is an online preview of the work ELUCIDATE