Monday, December 7, 2009

Back on the Painting Trail

In the midst of painting two commissions, which is taking up most of my studio time, the final Collaboration of Maleny Artists (yup, COMA) show for the year suddenly appeared on the radar.

Organiser and gallery owner Ken Munsie devised a fascinating theme for this show. Each artist has been allotted a square of the ordnance map around the Maleny area, and asked to create a square artwork based on the little piece of geography. I picked a square adjoining the main road from Landsborough into town, and went to the site for an afternoon of sketching the layout, checking out the landscape and vegetation, and taking copious reference photos. Back in the studio, I created "The Summer Visitor" from all the collected information, working quickly in acrylics, overlaying areas of glazed and layered colours. When the image had come together, I varnished it with a high gloss combination of stand oil, damar varnish and Liquin. 

The show can be seen from Wednesday 9 December at Maleny Artworks, 50 Maple Street, Maleny, and there is an official opening there on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Publicity, Photos and Markets!

My work on the traffic signal box at Maroochydore is featured this weekend in Sunshine Coast magazine "The Weekender". For everyone who doesn't live on the coast (sigh), the article can be found at, but only those who can get a hard copy can see the picture! There's an image of the box in the June entry on this blog.

This week I asked professional photographer Colin Beard to take photos of some of my paintings, and now there are some very high resolution images on my Redbubble page. Redbubble is an Australian site where you can order prints, cards and canvasses of artists' work, and you can see mine at If you do get a print done on Redbubble, I'm happy to sign it if we can find a way to be in real time and space together, not just in the virtual world.

AND... this weekend I am starting a market stall, where I am selling cards of my paintings. I'm starting small, to test out the market, and looking forward to having a chat to people about art. Or anything! The stall will be at the Maleny Craft Markets, in the Community Centre in Maleny's main street, on Sunday 11 October from 8-2. See you there.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I'm delighted to report that "The Quiet Heart" sold before the exhibition opened! The show at Maleny Artworks closes on Wednesday 1 October, and "To the Island", pictured in the previous post below, is still available.

Reinvigorated by being in a show and selling a painting, I am now working on a commission for a fig painting in oils, and planning my next body of work. As well as continuing with paintings of banyan figs, and probably expanding to mangroves so I can incorporate more water in the images, I plan to revisit my studies of movement and reflection in water (started in 2007), and begin a whole new series based on circus, burlesque and acrobatic performers. I have preparatory drawings for this series dating back to 1987! I'm longing to paint luscious fabrics and lithe, sexy movement, and looking forward to using the figure again. I plan to start with a series of drawings to explore composition for larger paintings, and develop the drawings into a collection of handcoloured prints. Watch this space!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Works on Show!

To the Island (The Strand), 2009, acrylic on canvas, 90cm x 90cm, $1100

The Quiet Heart (The Strand), 2009, acrylic on canvas, 90cm x 90cm, $1100.

I have been invited to be part of a show at Maleny Artworks, which opens this Saturday. The theme of the show is Trees, Trees, Trees. I've painted two large new works for the show, based on images from the Strand in Townsville. They are more complete workings of the images I used on my traffic signal box. I've been particularly interested in the fall and reflection of light on the sculptural trees to model their shape, and the contrast between the power, strength and complexity of the tree with the serenity of the sea and island in the distance.

I've had some of this series of paintings on the wall at home for periods of time, and I find them utterly meditative; my eye travels around the tree constantly, and into the distance, mentally climbing in amongst the branches and roots and out of everyday life.

I'm beginning to look at ways to license my tree images for reproduction, and I have created a series of cards of them, some of which will be available at Maleny Artworks. I've also stocked them at the Maple Street Co-op, in Maleny.

Now the major work for the exhibition is done, I'm already starting my next commission.

Trees, Trees, Trees at Maleny Artworks, 50 Maple Street, Maleny, Q, 4552. Gallery is upstairs, open Wed - Sun, 10 -4. 07 5429 6566, or 0488 364 476. and

Monday, August 3, 2009

Painting in Townsville.

Townsville has so much visual interest, I could paint full time here. I've been here since Saturday, and so far have done two sketches, one small canvas in acrylics and one small triptych on canvas paper. Chris and I have been cruising round looking for good things to paint, and we drew one of the big banyan figs on the Strand, then moved down to Anzac Park, where I painted a scene involving trees and the band rotunda, while he did another beautiful pen drawing of part of a banyan.

This morning I was out by 7am, knowing the early light would be good. I didn't take best advantage of the light, as I think it takes a few days to line up subjects that want the light, and I haven't. But I have been fascinated by the panoramic view of Mt Stuart from Bowen Bridge Road for some time, and drove down there. I set up three sheets of canvas paper on the bike path, put some water in my bucket and paint on my palette, and painted for about an hour or a little more, getting a good colour sketch of the anatomy of the mountain with mangroves in the foreground.

Tomorrow we are going to Magnetic Island, and I hope for sunshine, as I want to sketch and photograph the banyans on the beach at Horseshoe Bay, for a new commission. My client particularly wants the amazingly light reflections from the sand, which give the tree a luminous quality.

I forgot to bring togs, so if its warm enough, which it probably will be unless the wind picks up, I will have to swim in my sarong. Looking forward to relaxing and drawing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Art Teaching

In the last nine days I have done no painting of my own, but assisted many people in years 9, 10 and 11 at Maroochydore High to finish their paintings.

They were using ordinary Chromacryl paints but I was twitching to get my brushes into them, they looked like so much fun.

They have no idea what a clean sink should look like.

Today I ran three lessons on the theory of Cubism, and having a good look at applied theory again really inspired me. Art is such a pursuit of the intellect twined with the heart, it saddens me that so many kids regard it as a "bludge subject", because all their other subjects require them to live only in their heads.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Traffic Signal Box and New Figs

Here are some images of the new traffic signal box which I painted at the corner of Duporth Avenue and Beach Road, Maroochydore.

And the new canvasses I'm working on in the studio.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Paintings

At last I'm back in the studio and working fast with a technique I've developed, which requires me to concentrate on not being too precious or fiddly.

I painted my Traffic Signal Box at Maroochydore last week, and it helps to hone this sort of speedy brushwork when you're out in the weather with the running commentary of the passing motorists. I had quite a few encouraging remarks, and a few lewd suggestions about what to paint.

Bringing this technique back into the studio I realized how very easy it is to procrastinate when I'm in a quiet space with no passing traffic. And i've been fighting that urge and working fast.

Saw Tom Roberts' war artist paintings at Easter in the War Memorial in Canberra, and was very taken by his broad brush layout of the scene, then working up ever-finer detail of the part he wants you to look at. Applying that to these new paintings as much as I can.