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 







Online preview of Elucidate exhibition


It’s been a busy week of installing and getting exhibition ready – Elucidate opens tomorrow 27th of July 1PM to 3PM

Here is the link – click here –  to an online preview of the works, for any questions and sales please email the gallery or call them:


T: +61 3 9824 7770

The exhibition will be on display until Saturday the 17th of August, I will be coming in to visit when I can during this time.

Hope you get to see it!

Lily Mae

Words will always get you into trouble, just draw

A lot to process, thankfully I have picked up the pen again. For drawing, not for writing. Look I say it like it has been a long time, it’s been two weeks. It has been school holidays and I’ve put things down to do stuff with my kid. I’ve really enjoyed it, I think she has too.

Words are too obvious anyway, they kick start quick reactions rather than creating space to look and think, absorb. Search for meaning rather than having it spelt out, or something like that.

That has been my experience anyway and like so many things yes I will disclaim – I mean in my own experience.

Kindness doesn’t seem to be the human default, does it. We’re very good at searching for the flaws/ weakness in another person, use that as information. It doesn’t cost to be kind, but perhaps it won’t get a couple of cheap laughs like we so need at a dinner party.

Anyway, I feel a huge urge to write but I will go to my studio to draw it all out instead.


Elucidate exhibition, July 27th – Aug 17th 2019. With words by Clementine Ford.

Above is the beautifully designed invitation to my upcoming exhibition – Elucidate.

It opens Saturday July the 27th at 1 to 3PM and the exhibition runs until August 17th. At Scott Livesey Galleries – 909A High St, Armadale, VIC.

I was also very lucky to have Clementine Ford write a piece about the works – it was really ace of her to give me the time and words. Thanks CF.

Elucidate by Clementine Ford

The first time I saw Lily Mae Martin’s work, I was overcome by a range of different feelings. Terror. Pain. Anxiety. Sadness. And amidst all of this, the overwhelming sense of recognition. Martin speaks to an unspoken aspect of womanhood and motherhood in particular that is so often ignored. Her work is confronting and brave, unshackled from the fear of niceties that women so often feel we need to conform to.

The sense of being bound and restricted is common in Martin’s pieces, and Elucidate brings this to the forefront. Her representations of women shielded by their hair and tethered in ropes call to my mind the image of Medusa. Mythologized as a monster and enemy to men, Medusa’s story has been used for centuries as a warning to women who exist outside of the margins of social acceptability. Martin explores the idea of the monstrous feminine, using sparseness, shadow and the imagery of shackles to conversely represent women in our most untethered forms. The blooming bellies of pregnancy speak to a power that has terrified patriarchy throughout history. Faces sheathed in veils of hair speak to our inscrutability, while ropes binding our arms across breasts remind us of the ways this power has been brutalised and tamed. 

It’s impossible to view Martin’s work without a sense of anger. Not at the artist herself, but at what she is seeking to uncover and give voice to. Like Medusa, Martin’s figures are mythical in nature. In the age of #MeToo and riding the crest of a new tidal wave of women’s power and liberation, Elucidate makes clear what history has tried for so long to bury – that women are so much more than we have been taught we are allowed to be. We are complicated, horrifying, rageful, connected and powerful. What is considered monstrous in us is our blazing humanity and life. Our bodies have been abused and tormented, but we alone are the ones who own them and control the direction of our stories. 

Martin’s ability to depict so clearly what strikes fear into the heart of man is astonishing. Elucidate is a condemnation of history and patriarchy, but it is also a shattering call to arms to reconnect with our true nature. I am grateful to have been exposed to Martin’s work, and cannot wait for others to experience the revelation of self that each and every one of her pieces calls to.


Watercolour study

I’ve been very busy making, but I’m not allowed to show anything though..

There’s things coming up and taking shape and I’ll share them here when it is time.

I like this way of making, I think I’ll keep it up.