How long have you lived in the Northern Rivers, and what do you love about it?
I arrived in the Byron Shire on September 11, 2001, with my son, his pet mice and a packed car, ready for a 6-week break from Sydney life. I always thought I’d end up living here, and I was ready for a change, but as I watched the unfolding tragedy in NYC, I decided this was the time to start afresh. I’ve spent most of the past 20 years in a little village by the sea, which has provided continuous daily inspiration. I love the creativity and colour of this community, and the slower pace of life nourishes my soul.
How did you come to be an artist?
I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but I've always been an instinctively creative person. I spent 10 years in counselling and therapy, working in organisations supporting the vulnerable people in our society. After experiencing burn out I decided I needed a change and started exploring art - initially at a local community college. I pursued my studies further at the Byron School of Art, where I still regularly attend short courses that keep me engaged with my peers and teachers. Attending BSA was a pivotal turning point for me. It gave me the confidence and encouragement to make marks and create for the pure joy of creation.
What inspires you in the art world and creatively?
The natural world is my salve. When I paint, I'm trying to create places that speak to me and remind me of the utter beauty of our planet. I feel very humbled by the creative process and often lose myself in the moment as I push paint around a substrate. Lately I am drawn to paint quiet and calm scenes that are antithesis of the chaos of the current world.
With Imagined Landscapes, I was particularly inspired by artists like WM Turner and the late Australian artist Richard Clements. Their atmospheric work draws me into worlds of sublime beauty and their ability to capture light and depth of colour inspired me. When I paint seascapes and landscapes it is the tonal contrasts, the dark and light that bump up against each other … and then blending it in … that excites me. I love simple tonal paintings too and focused on using a limited palette for this series.
What substrates and materials do you use in your art practise?
In my practice I use a mix of substrates mainly recycled materials; vintage book covers, old discarded wood and timber blocks, marble pieces, ceramic plates, glass frames and cake tins. I love the relationship between the material and the subject matter … working out what am I going to create with this piece. I’m also drawn to using ordinary found materials like cardboard, fabrics and textiles.
I predominately use oil paints, but also enjoy gouache for its dreamy qualities, and acrylics depending on the look and feel that I am trying to achieve.
Name 5 Things you just can’t live without.
My family and friends. Nature, my garden, my dog, music and my iPhone (cause I’m obsessed with photographing the natural world) and my art materials from Still At the Centre okay more than 5!
Is a sustainable art practice important to you?
Painting on diverse materials informs my practice and touches at the core of my ethos of a sustainable art practise. Repurposing an otherwise obsolete object and watching it become something new and interesting is something that I find deeply satisfying. Seeing value in used objects and making art from recycled materials is important to me. I am excited that my art can be exhibited in a place that values this ethos and philosophy … I think Brooke and Tim really understand this as they rescue old and otherwise forgotten pieces of history, restore them and give them a new life – respecting the value of objects not discarding them.
Was there an aha moment for this collection Imagined Landscapes at Elements I love?
A few years ago, I did a small quiet painting on an old book cover of a pre-dawn horizon - soft, dreamy, emerging light … and it won first prize in a local art exhibition. Michelle Dawson, one of the judges, said that it was the quality of the light and how it was captured that really stood out; and that she could see a series in this concept. That validation inspired me to keep pursuing this series, and my old buddy Brooke kept encouraging me to complete it so it could be exhibited. I’m very excited to see it hanging on Elements I Love’s beautiful walls.
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