Painting and wanderings

A small study of hands. In oils on canvas paper, trying to let the paint speak rather than rendering the heck out of it. The only way I am going to get better at this is I just have to keep going, keep painting, keep challenging myself.

I am feeling inspired and happy. I think happy because kidlet and I cleaned the house and it is very nice to feel good inside a space when you know winter is on its way. Holidays are usually overwhelming, but I’ve said no to things I know will freak me out and we’ve got lots of exciting things planned. I love all sorts of adventures and wanderings – no matter how big or small. Just with my small family and I.

I am making sure that I leave the house each day and that I take my camera with me. That I breathe in the air, deeply, and that I observe the world. That I make time for things that make me happy, animals. Bird watching. Being frightened by a water rat and in turn, frightening it. There’s so much life, and I need that perspective to balance out my cares and worries. Because a lot of it is just .. well.. not important.

I also make sure that each day I do one little or big thing that serves my art. It doesn’t matter if it is a five minute blind contour line drawing, adding some highlights to a painting, drawing or painting for twelve hours straight or just looking over some of my work and thinking about it.

Kitty sleeping.

Just keep going, keep truckin’.

Time, the most precious thing of things

For personal reasons I haven’t really worked in two weeks. I’ve managed an hour or two here and there but really, I that’s not work!

It amazes me that two weeks feels like a life time on the internet, or in other people’s perception, through the filter of the internet. – You haven’t been making work! It’s true that social media has been a great tool for inspiration and motivation, but jebus what a distortion when it comes to the value of time.

Look, I’ve had a bloody great year in terms of my art. Shortlisted for four prizes! TWO solo exhibitions – but this isn’t the norm. It’s really not! This probably won’t happen all the time, it might not even happen again – who knows, and I’m not being self deprecating, I just know that this is how the game is played.. Or, rather, I don’t know it and I know I don’t know… But anyway, a year like this also requires a huge amount of work that’s not the work work – to get things packed up and shipped, to travel to the openings. There’s so much going on that people do not see and this alllll takes time. I’m totally not complaining by the way, I just don’t think people get that there is work that surrounds making the work and it’s invisible. I think it’s important that the invisible is made a little more visible so people can appreciate the work that people do.

Over the years I have stumbled through the many different ways I could get creative. Writing, fiction, articles, blog posts. Illustration, digital, cover art, illustrations for stories and for anatomy. Art, oil painting, drawing.. It’s through these explorations that I have come to really single out and focus in on what it is I want to do – which is drawing. This took time, this took many mistakes. Some of which still make me cringe – oh, the bad writing, the things I opened up with which left me so very vulnerable and I deeply regret that – for what it did to me. Oh, the bad illustrations. Oh, the painting.. Noooooo. All that wasted time! But no, not really wasted, because I say no more to things that get in the way of what I really want to do.

I’ve had to take a huge leap back in terms of my social media use and interaction. I just feel like it has infiltrated my life and my practice in ways that aren’t good at all. I’m so sick of everything in that space having meaning – when ultimately it has no meaning. It frightens me to think of the hours that I have spent on facebook rather then looking at the sky, or the ground, or the flowers – my kid. Or tending to those scary but necessary moments of not knowing what the fuck I am going to make next.

I feel so much pressure to have new works and have new things to say/ announce, but my art – as a lot of art and craft – needs time. And not internet time – real time. It needs the time where I am not actually making work too!

Maybe I’m stuck with the blessing/ curse of remembering what life was like before social media infiltrated it in ways we never could have imagined?

Making artwork, getting it photographed, writing about it, organising exhibitions, wrapping and boxing artwork for shipment, promoting exhibitions, having the exhibitions, deinstalling exhibitions, researching new ideas for new work and then making that new work – this stuff takes years and years. A life time even. I feel so exhausted by the expectations. Being an artist – like being a parent – takes more than just one person doing it all on their own. So the best I can do is remove myself from it as much as possible and focus on real time. Keep doing what I know to work and what I know to be realistic.

crate My shortlisted piece for the JADA 2016 in a crate that my man built for it.

Magic Realism


A number of weeks back I was researching Andrew Wyeth – in particular his treatment of hair in portraits – and I came across the phrase magical realism and it just seemed to trigger something off in me. I haven’t been able to stop drawing. And the drawings I am doing – and are planning to do – are dense.

I’m feeling incredibly excited and challenged by this new direction. The concepts are not yet completely formed but they are forming. I try not to get too wordy at this point, because if I write it all out then I feel like I’ve already explained it to myself and won’t feel driven to explore it in drawing. Words are art too.

Process is important to me, and blogging has opened a space up for me to have a place to document it. I have always struggled with visual diaries.. I feel like the ideas and sketches are trapped in those things. Blogs I use to glance over and to edit and to be reminded of things and feel pushed to develop myself. Hosting can be a pain, and I loose things and have to update things to a capacity I can’t always sustain.
But it’s all a learning curve and I think within the juggle of parenting, life-ing, writing, illustrating, teaching and artist-ing I have come to find some sort of balance. I’ve dropped a lot of stuff and working on what I truly want to do – drawing. In giving myself this space to practice and work at my art, I think I am beginning to produce some of the best work I have ever made. Within each work is a new question and an aim to be better than the last. I think I am getting to a point now where I just need to knuckle down for a few years to make another large body of work. I’m almost there.. I am pushing my drawing to the next level. It makes me feel so alive.


So I will keep posting some updates here, while this language develops and while this project goes. I would also like to add that I have been reading loads and listening to stories while I draw. I think this is informing my work too. I’ll unpack that another day.

Peace and bunnys