Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Joy and Life of being an Artist!

The Year of the Rabbit has left me quite exhausted! There has been so much change, hopping about and so much to do..... so many little ends to tie up, so many decisions to be made and so many new forces to be considered. This last year has left us all a little dazed and I find myself thinking what will the Year of the Dragon bring.

So I am starting early to consider the year ahead. With a very full month ahead of me and an important solo show next April at Aarwun Galleries, it is time I knuckled down to serious work in the studio.But whew! What a year and still some to come.

This morning I was driving, no....cruising along the highway in my comfortable car, looking out over the hills and valleys of this wonderful landscape I live in; abundant growth everywhere and warm sunshine after a week of non-stop rain. I noted that the rivers were full to the brim and wonderful puffy white clouds building up in the bluest of skies overhead. I am always happiest in my car, free as a bird listening to music and cruising the landscape. My heart sings! Or in my studio, paint everywhere.... love getting all messy and seeing what works with what.

I have just had lunch with my dear friend Karrin, wonder woman artist from Lightening Ridge and a true Ehulii woman spirit. She looked marvelous! You can find her art work on her website. We always enjoy sharing together the various stories of our respective lives. True friends are great treasures to be enjoyed while we can so these are special moments when we connect with our soul sisters.

We both are acutely aware of the damage being done to this sacred land we live in and we worry for the delicate deserts and waterways being disturbed by an ever increasing mining presence. It might be that Australia will be uninhabitable in time as awareness of being in touch with the land is eroding in the face of an increasing greed. It is another invasion happening - perhaps the last! I remarked to Karrin that lately it is the aboriginal people that are buying my artworks and not the European descendants. I feel that is a privilege and shows my connection to the land is being recognised by the original land owners. But with it, comes a responsibility: a responsibility to reach out and make others aware of the 'pain' the land is in.

I hope I am up to it. Still Canberra is the place where my next show will be so maybe, just maybe I can make a small contribution to raising consciousness. I certainly hope so! So look out for "LAND /MARKS" in April!

"LAND /MARKS - abandoned" Mixed Media on Paper 52 cmx 70 cm

This painting depicts an abandoned homestead block in the western desert.Man has tried for over 200 years now to conquer the inland of Australia but marks such as these home sites left long ago show the harshness of a desert that we still have not learned to live with.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Forbes Town - what a hoot!

Well, this last week saw some of my works shown at Forbes Town Hall some 150 kms west of Orange where I live. It's always interesting to take your work into another town, especially the smaller towns and see what the exercise brings! I'm not sure about anyone else, but I had a fabulous time..... the people of our Ozzie country towns are really the 'salt of the earth', super friendly and welcoming!

One very special lady I met called Lee wrote a poem about me and she has given me permission to put it here for you also to laugh at enjoy! Lee also liked my hand painted shoes (grand-daughter's art) so much that she was inspired to paint her own..... now that's my sort of person!

"Limericks de Joy"
To Forbes came this artist extraordinaire,
Environmental from her feet to her hair.
She was surely inspirational,
Her paintings quite sensational,
Yes, Joy, your a lady with flair.

Came this talented artist from Orange,
(which doesn't rhyme with anything)
For her spectacular paintings to bring
All that nature does impart
Painted right from the heart
Glorious colours that make your soul sing.

I have to say, I was wined and dined in style, Pam and Tony made me very very welcome and the last night party! well, what can I say except that 2 days later I am still recovering! Yes Forbes, you are going to be hard to beat!

I had to add a photo of one of the many floral arrangements that the Forbes ladies put around the show....... the colours of our bush flowers are really beautiful aren't they? We all just love those blue gum tips and bright red bottle brushes. I thought this would make a nice painting..... hmmm....

The Town Hall is really quite stunning inside with a colonial architecture that reflects our rather British heritage so the show looked quite good in the space provided. One hopes that the Forbes Council learns to encourage the arts further and support the hard work of their local people. Maybe an Arts Prize or an Aquisition from the regular shows that the people of Forbes voluntarily put on.It would be good to see these country councils participate more fully and engage their arts communities by building local collections of Australian art.

So this week, I'm off to Coffs Harbour, a trek of some 800-900 kms north and to the beach! Yay! My paintings will once again go on display only this time at Opal Cove Resort - so let's see if Coffs can come up to Forbes standard! It'll be a challenge!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Can't think of a thing to paint? Overcoming the blank mind!

This year has been the most amazing year for me with so many things happening, things to see, journeys to do that I often feel quite saturated and not sure where to start. You all know the feeling: there's either too much going on in your imagination or not quite enough! It's hard sometimes to find that cruisey neutral gear that allows you to roll through the next painting with ease!

Added to the grief of having a mental block, or an avalanche, there's the continual interruptions to one's day / week from a variety of competing concerns / jobs. And so life goes on... so how does one get into the right mindset to just start?

Some of my tricks are: 

To just do it! Get in that darned studio and pick up the brushes! 

Look at those shoes your grand-daughter made for you, put them on, dance, jump and run around, get free again! Remember the joy of painting when you were young and unencumbered!

Sometimes the best results come out of sheer frustration and trying something completely new. I like to run with a few new techniques and just throw paint around- see what comes! Here's one I did with a business card instead of a brush - just for fun!

That's all well and good if it's a sunny day and warm outside but what if there's a chill wind blowing....? 

I like to promise myself a great cup of coffee from Moshi Moshi with 2 of the nicest young creative people around, Lotti and Dan! After seeing their cheery faces and getting one of Dan's neck rubs, topped up with Toby's (great coffee) I head off cheerfully into the chill wind...

Another is to flick through my photo album and print out a couple of inspirational landscapes- you know the ones that turn you on!

But recently I came across a marvellous creative soul who gives away so much information to us arty farty folks on how to be businesslike and break bad habits. Mark McGuiness of Lateral Action is one of us so he really knows the problems we wild children can have trying to do the adult stuff! His FREE book is available online at and well worth the time to read! Co-author is Marelisa Fabrega.

The Year of the Rabbit has hopped around wildly for me but the lessons I have learned along the way have all helped me to maintain focus, overcome 'painter's block' and keep on that journey towards my 'self'- the 'real me' at the core of my being! I reckon it's been a great year with so much still to do! A wonderful end to the year is looming steadily and I'm sorry, I have to get back to my painting! What about you?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time out is needed even for the best artist!

I feel all of us artists should take some time out from ourselves at times and so this last week or so, I have been doing just that. I took a short holiday to Coffs Harbour..... so different to going to Broome! Of course as I've been there many times before, I was relieved to find I could put my art eyes and my camera aside for a week and just do the same as everyone else does on a holiday! Read books, watch videos, window shop, stroll on the beach, and talk with friends!

I find myself reflecting on how good it was not to have to think about art for a week and just chill! And so I am writing today to tell all of you that paint and reflect on life and its meaning, take some time off from yourself! Give it a go! It's been so good for me that I really feel like I have had a holiday! So much so, that I am not wanting to get back into it just yet!

I did relent though and give a workshop to my girlfriends! Just one day where we focused on 'eyes' and 'lips' - it was good fun and here's some of the results!

I returned of course to hit the deck running and there's to much to do! I find I've been given a new job in my absence, Publicity Officer for Colour City Creatives! ah well! But I was thinking of being a bit more committed there anyway so it'll be good to get that group up and running.... there's a lot to do! But they're a terrific group of artists and craftsmen and it's a fantastic project!

I rather liked this photo I took off the verandah at the resort! There's a new day dawning in the distance- new beginnings! The forest (people) are growing in the 'light' and I'm standing behind a wire gauze, a separation from it all happening, a protection if you like! I can see it happening but I don't have to be in the middle of it!

Anyway, thank you for reading my blog! I hope I've inspired you to take some time off and reflect and meet with friends! Till next time......

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ruminations of a frustrated artist!

You know the saying "Just do it!" Such wise words, so hard to follow but today I did! I did it!

I think finding this website "The Flinty Hard Road" and reading it made so much sense to me and brought me back to the place where I know I'm not alone..... the arts is a hard career choice.... probably the hardest! I really related to the heading "Fabulously successful, penniless and deranged" particularly the 'deranged' bit!

Lately I've been well, let's say "occupied" but today, I bit the bullet and "just did it!" and boy does it feel good. I went to the studio and prepared all those canvases that have been patiently waiting for me. There they are now, all virginal white, covered in that clean clear pure pristine coat of gesso. They wait for me now to pour forth all my energies onto them..... sigh! What a good day's work!

The weekend saw another exhibition of works open to an assembled throng of art lovers, purveyors of fine art and wine, some really decent and genuine people amongst them..... the wallets remained firmly locked and who can blame them for today's economy sees most people worrying about their retirement plans as their super funds vaporise before their disbelieving eyes. Not so for us artists, we don't have the luxury of retirement plans. We'll be painting until we're blind and hanging around hopefully for a sale.

But we do have the luxury of filling our lives and walls with wonderful art that others can only dream about! Not for us, those dreary prints and commercial crappy decorator pieces, don't they make you cringe!

 At least 3 people promised to buy work.... ah that's nice and I remind myself that despite the current downturn this year, I have had some sales and offers that other artists would be glad to have.

So to get into the studio today and back to my virginal white canvases was a joy! My mind started to focus immediately as I imagined the images starting to appear. I could feel the paints calling to me from their tubes to squeeze them and spread them luxuriously across each virgin in turn. Ah what a pleasant day!

It's going to be good year after all! There's so much to do and so much opportunity lying right here at the doorstep.... it reminds me that "everything you need, is right there in front of you!" So watch this space as the year rolls on.....

"Flooding of Twin Lakes" Oil on Canvas

Here's one that I would like to see painted up into a large work...... hmmm.....

So keep painting out there!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

At last! The colours are flowing!

Well finally I have found my flow and the colours are starting to get onto the page! It has taken me a good couple of weeks of pondering to get to the point where I can begin to relax into the works from the Top End. I must say that whilst I was there, I was amazed at the clear light of each day and how the colours of the Top End dance before your eyes! I loved it!

It certainly is a challenge though to get the various energies of that place onto canvas! I like this little work here though that I think achieves the amazing clean cut colours of sandstone reflected on water in the gorge. Hope you like it too! More 

"Reflections" Oil on Oil Paper 29 cm h x 48 cm w

I am amazed at the variations of colour and forms in the Western Australian landscape. It certainly is one of the most wonderful places to paint and visit! Loved it from the air as we were flying over it and saw some inspiring places......hmmmm wish that I was a desert wanderer! or maybe a bird! Till next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dreaming of the Kimberleys!

Waking up this morning to sub zero temperatures, I stick my head back under the blankets and begin dreaming of the Kimberleys again! I see myself bumping along looking out the window of the 6WD at what has to be one of the most amazingly beautiful landscapes in the world. 

The colours just bounce off each other, the shadows, the light, the blue blue sky, those limes of the spinifex and oranges of the rocks....opposites on the colour wheel, they dance around each other forming their own magical music! Songlines the aboriginal people call these places/ridges/ranges and to me, they definitely do 'sing'!

 "The Bungle Bungles at mid morning"

I go to my studio and prepare my papers to start but it's so cold, the paint won't dry so I head off to the art shop. Staggering out more exceedingly poor than before, I am happy with the colours I've found....quite a different palette to the one I am used to. The grey cold wind whips around my legs as I huddle into the car $200 spent. OMG! This is such an expensive 'need' of mine! 

I am reminded of poor Gaughin in Tahiti writing to his dealers asking for money to buy paints! Like him, I also rely on my dealers and gallerists to keep me going but this year, I keep getting told that sales are slow. I'm afraid to say, it's been my own sales that have kept me in paint and paper. The GFC has bitten deep!

"Echidna Rock"

I take out my colour notes from the journey. I have to burn that blue blue sky into my deepest psyche so that I can recreate it perfectly. I could not believe when I looked up, just how wonderful that deep blue sky was above the tones of oranges and limes. This was indeed an inspiring journey......which reminds me, I am in the running to win another but to Uluru! Hmmm wouldn't that be fantastic!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be putting my field notes (small works on paper), my explorations (large works on paper) and major works (large works on canvas) as I develop them in the studio from my memories, studies, diary and photos so keep an eye out. Here's the link as I paint away the days!

 So happy painting to all of you out there or happy collecting - or both!

Everyone welcome!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Colour Blind or what?

Here's a great test from Pantone for all you colourful people out there!

Take the test and let me know your score! Put it in the comments field if you dare! I am pretty pleased with my results I tell you......for eyes that are getting on in years and used every day to sort colours, I am pretty chuffed with my score!

It's great fun too!

 You'll ind it here thanks to Pantone!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back from the Bungle Bungles! WOW!

Hi everyone!

Well I'm back from the trip of a lifetime!  The Top End of Australia in the the Kimberley Region has to be one of the most colourful landscapes I've ever been in. Truly painter's country!

The variety of colourways runs through the violet, orange and lime green ranges and form the most wonderful and inspiring landscapes I've ever had the privilege of seeing. Definitely a 'must do' in this lifetime so get out your bucket list and add it if you haven't!

However, I must warn you, you need to be fit, able to put on your runners sitting on the ground, climb and walk in wobbly circumstances - definitely no broken or wobbly ankles!

The Bungle Bungles - awesome, huge!

Me in my muffties! These clothes took a beating! and I look a bit worse for wear as well!

Ngumbun Cliffs - we had a forced stay in this beautiful spot and Thank You!

Moon over the Osbourne Range near the Bungles!

I'll be having a small showing of my field notes, photos and sketches plus a couple of larger works at Jayes Gallery next month, August so just go to my website for details of dates of the opening! Love to see you all there!

Gotta get painting!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Recent ramblings.....

Winter is here and it's so gloomy looking at blue that I decided to do something a bit brighter and warmer for my blog background....makes me want to paint!

Recent days in the studio have seen me exploring hotter and hotter drier landscapes as the cold of an Orange winter sets in! Seems a bit weird calling it an Orange winter but that's what it is......winter in the town of Orange! My desire to travel west into warmer climes always drives me crazy at this time of year and this year, my car broke down delaying the outback trek that I love so much......what to do? I think I'll take a few smaller week off to Forbes though for a workshop and it's always warmer and drier out there! Maybe I'll just keep driving west.....hmm now that's a thought!

So for a little preview of what I'm painting, here's a sample! I'd love to say it's the finished image but the finished works has a few more marks on it.

And another inspired by Lake Eyre, currently in flood for the second year around.....

I've been asked a couple of times lately how I would describe myself as a painter. One person felt I was an impressionist, which is a description I rather like but no sure it fits. The second person told me they had been told by their art teacher that I was a landscape painter which isn't a good description either.

So for the record, I personally describe myself as a contemporary landscape painter. My works are done from 'memory' of landscape, and are not actual places. If they have a place name with them, it is for reference purposes only and to let you know where I was when I gathered the 'feelings of place' that I paint. I prefer to paint 'memories', 'sensations' 'form' 'marks' 'patterns' that come from being in a 'particular place' at a 'particular time' such as sunset and sunrise, my favourite times of day as the gods change over their influence....

My interest lies in the abstract nature of the earth and her patterns, the marks that we all leave behind as we try to change this place and make it bend to our rules, mostly with dire outcomes. I love the terra forming patterns of farmlands especially from above and my works are increasingly becoming aerial landscape patterns.

My palette is drawn from the iron rich soils of Oz, the deep red soils of our outback and the fabulous blue skies above, reflected on the earth and waterways.

I've added a share button so you can share this blog with your friends! Take care through the winter cold months and keep warm! See you out back!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Time to GEE UP and get to it!

Robert Genn says in his recent email "Thinking ahead is good! Starting is better!"

With that in mind, I am about to put the hectic pace of 2011 behind me and enter the quiet space of the studio and START to paint! I'm not sure about you but everyone I know is telling me how busy and fast this year has been, that time is speeding up and there's so much to do, that making decisions is becoming more and more difficult. I know for myself that this Year of the Rabbit has chopped and changed about quickly and is proving to be a difficult one in which to 'focus' in the way I need to focus!

So here we go, to make a START!

Even my newsletter and blog have gotten well behind and there are many, many friends and colleagues that I just haven't had time to connect with....and on that idea of connection, isn't it now a strange connect (?) or do we?

I was thinking this morning about how many friends and connections I have around the world (and I love all of you - you are all such fantastic artists, philosophers and people!) and how much I would like to be able to 'connect' with you all more! My mother on the other hand had only 2 friends who lived overseas and to 'connect' with them, she used to write long letters by hand, send them off by post (6 weeks to deliver) and then wait patiently for replies! They were long letters though and full of stories about the family, her feelings and desires and well-wishes for her 2 pen pals (old nicknmae for people we used to write to).

How my mother would have loved this new mode of connection - but back to my question - do we really 'connect' nowadays? I rather doubt that we are connecting! I feel we are having quite a shallow experience these days compared to my mother's.

Our lives are now filled with rather tenuous promises of "I'll remember you!" "I'll definitely be in touch!" "You'll see me again" but each day brings us 'new' connections, new people and new promises and our past words fall like leaves in the Autumn on cold and hard ground.

So now back to my studio to re 'connect' with my 'art'. And hopefully now that I've made a START back on the internet after some 8 months doing other stuff, I'll be able to keep a connection with you all as well!

Last year saw the end of "The Eye of the Eagle" Series and I am now preparing myself for the long way forward into the next series of work.......the idea has come from the past series but is more focused....more later as I progress forward.

My works are now available at Wentworth Galleries in Sydney CBD as well as Aarwun in Canberra and Jayes in Molong. I will be discussing exhibition dates over the next few weeks and will let you all know when and where but in the meantime, take a look in the galleries if you're near them!