I have been painting since I was little and won my first prize for a portrait of my year 4 primary school chum and life long friend, Louise Aitkin. She had incredible snowy hair like so many of the coastal kids I grew up with on the Northern beaches Sydney. I now remember the portrait as being “Good”, even if then I might not have seen it’s value, and perhaps concluded it was an act of god or random accident that allowed the representation a canny likeness from a free and naïve expression that was entirely my own.
Recently I read a fantastic open letter from a Singapore school principle to the anxious parents of his soon to be examined senior students urging them to take heart if their child did not excel in all aspects of the set down educational program because, in his words, …your son or daughter might be a musician, a sportsperson, excellent at acrobatics or indeed an artist where maths might not play such a key role in future career endeavour. I am grateful to say that I had one such enlightened senior school art teacher, my much loved first mentor Faye Sharp, who urged me to take charge of my gift, accept that I was an artist, and crack on.
Well, needless to say, I have had many career deviations and missteps: from Production designer to motherhood and cattleman’s wife, and the list continues and is broad, and seemingly so disparate as to make no logical sense at all. I believed that I was planning for a future where I could dedicate myself to my work free of economic and familial obligations. All through those years I painted anyway. I periodically had solo shows, did commissions and sold work, and while my painting seemed to linger in the shadows of a different life it was always close by letting me know it was my great love, patiently abiding until I finally understood there would be no better time. I had to loose just about everything to take the bold step, and call my self an artist and be one exclusively. Painting and making art is just who I am and it is the only thing that makes sense to me.
I write this ponderous introduction because it is this very long relationship and the difficulty accepting the inevitable that has helped me craft the reason behind my work, the language of my subject and brush style.
I chose landscape primarily as metaphor to represent the vast external world outside my own individual experience. I seek to speak of the silent world of something much bigger than myself waiting on the rim to reveal its essence. My brush wants to convey the emotional content without using grand symbols or personalised meaning but more a general, even generic, subject that any viewer can relate to and in some way find their own story.