I was approached by a lovely Sydney lady and her interior designer in Winter this year to create a custom artwork for an investment property in Byron Bay. The interior designer sent me a mood board of fabrics, colour swatches and samples of paintings the client liked and then it was up to me to realise the vision of an abstract painting that employed dirty reds and a spot of antique green. I have to say this one was a real challenge at times and it has taken a while to get there, but I am finally very happy with it. Here is a photo diary of the stages, good and bad, of this piece, which I have just realised does not yet have a name!
As a working mum, holidays can be hard! Not because I'm working extra hard, but more that I'm not, if that makes any sense. I start to fret that I am not getting enough done in the studio and shop and that I am falling behind in my painting. And then I just have to stop andd remind myself that it is okay to have a holiday too sometimes and to stop being so hard on myself. My kids love having me around and if I can spread out my stuff on the dining table – an array of paper and glue then that's really not such a bad thing! Here are a few pieces I put together last week. I do love my collage!
I finally did it! And hopefully it won't be my last. This Friday 9 September 2016 I hosted my first ever workshop in the form of a 2 hour "Connecting with Collage" Workshop. We had 14 divine ladies come along for a super fun morning of drawing, cutting, ripping and sticking. All very relaxing and therapeutic as art always is! And all the proceeds were donated to Bravehearts Charity for their White Balloon Fundraising Day.
As I told the group on Friday, I have wanted to host workshops for a very long time, but a longstanding fear of public speaking (or even speaking in front of a very small group) has held me back for a very big chunk of my life. At 43 years of age I have decided that it is time to move on and get over it! I cannot let my fears hold me back any more from doing the things I want to do and the things that add meaning to my life and to my art practise. Connection is such an integral part of why I do what I do. My art is my means to connect to myself, to source and to others. Its all about the relationships I form with the people that connect with my art, and holding workshops is just another way that I can do this.
So yes, there were a few nerves to start, but once I got going and was in my zone, armed with knowledge that I have developed and garnered over the years, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and the group did too. The 2 hours flew past and before we knew it the session was over, leaving me completely inspired to do another one... now to decide on the content for workshop number two... All ideas welcome!
My 6 week course at the Byron School of Art has now concluded but I enjoyed the experience so much I am thinking about going to study more intensely at the Byron School of Art for the next couple of years. I have loved being pushed out of my comfort zone and being in the company of other artists and I think if I can juggle it all it will be excellent for my development as an artist. I have realised how passionate I am about the art of abstraction. It is a very challenging form of art – to create something beautiful and interesting out of nothing but shape and colour is incredibly hard. And I find that challenge so enticing... Here are some images from the work from this last session.
And now for Idris Murphy, a contemporary landscape painter from Australia, who I also had not heard of... Well, wow, gob smacked at his work. Just so captivating.. I cannot stop looking at them! Such brilliant use of colour and minimalism. I find them all divine.
A lot of my paintings seem to translate well onto fabric and I have been learning and practising how to create repeat patterns for a little while now (thank you YouTube). It certainly helps having my graphic design background that enables me to work in Photoshop and manipulate my own images to create textiles designs. These are my first 2 tablecloths and I have also produced a small range of napkins. 4 per set, each napkin per set is from a different part of the same painting.
These first images showcase the Life is an Adventure tablecloth, based on the painting by the same name.
And now for the A Change is Coming tablecloth
And these are the 5 different sets of napkins... (only one per set shown here)
I couldn't wait to return to class this Thursday – it seemed nor could a few others! We all so eagerly wanted those 4,5 hours of uninterrupted time to continue on with what we had started the week before – working again using random objects and shapes to create abstracted forms. We worked on a variety of surfaces, from good artist paper to brown textile pattern making paper and board. I stuck with paper, as it has been a long time since i have truly played with making shapes on paper, and I was loving it too much to move to another base material! Here are some images from lesson 2.
Quite by chance last Friday I was looking at the Byron Art School website trying to work out how to subscribe to their email list, when the words "Working in Abstraction" with Michael Cusack jumped out at me. I knew I had found the perfect course and remedy for my creative block, without even looking for it. The last few months have been tough going for me creatively. At some point in all creative's lives we get a dose of creative block, and I think with the crazy year I have had so far, and with all the creative juices I have expelled I feel like I have temporarily run dry! A course or source of alternate inspiration was in need, and just like that, I had found it. I enrolled straight away and last Thursday turned up to my first class. And this is what greeted me in the incredible space that is the Mullimbimby premises of the BS'A. This is where Michael Cusack has his studio and from where he teaches. I have serious studio envy! The place is enormous! And thoroughly stocked. An artist's dream...
Lots of rusted old objects on a table runner of white paper, and a delightful group of 7 ladies. Piles of books on Abstraction and little mounds of charcoal and art supplies in front of us all. And Michael. The recipe for a perfect morning! And completely perfect it was. Between the odd cup of tea and silent wilful drawing and mark-making we all found ourselves in our little zones, loving every minute of the extravagant solitude and unrushed time. Nowhere to be, no one to take care or domestic jobs to do.. just hours of rich, full moments of presence and intent. So fulfilling and meaningful.
Michael is a great teacher. Calm and inspiring and helpful. These are some of the drawings and collages I ended up making...
I am so incredibly thankful to be a part of the Fenton family. Their ability to pull a room together in imaculate style is certainly second to none. These magnificent rooms have been styled by F&F for their Fall Collection, photographed by Armelle Habib and all walls painted with Haymes Paint. In this first pink image my painting "Krank" hangs proudly, paired beautifully with another smaller work by Annie Everingham. Matilda Couch, Mr Fenton rug and all round gorgeousness available from the Fenton & Fenton website here. This Fall Collection is also featured on Rebeccas Judd's blog here
I love the drama of the dark walls in this room. My work "Knowing the Uncertain" hangs to the left of the large Michael Bond piece to the right "A Time to Reflect"
Born and bred in South Africa I grew up in the Western Cape with native fynbos and proteas growing wild and free all around me. I adore this native plant and have referenced them a few times in my work over the last 12 years. It has been a while though since I have painted something quite so nostalgic – this work transports me back to my homeland... the tones of the earth, mustards of the sun and earth, greys and tans of the arid desert regions inland in the Karoo are all referenced here. A country of extremes, of beauty, extremes, opportunity, wealth and poverty – a true melting pot and a homeland that will always be mine...
Below are some other pieces that contain elements of South Africa, both flora and fauna. This first one I painted in 2012 and it sold at a local art show. It captures a colourful array of proteas with the vibrant Springbok up close.
This one titled "Beautiful Dilemma" I painted in 2013, 10 years after immigrating to Australia. Struggling with homesickness this piece reflects my inner struggle to leave my motherland to live in another country.
This one, painted in 2012, titled "Home" was one of the first paintings I sold. It is an abstracted scene of proteas, utlising rich golds and oranges and was inspired by my many sketches of proteas in my drawing journals.
With a proud zebra taking central stage this piece was one of a few mixed media artworks I created back in 2013. Lots of detail and texture and sold at a kindy art fundraiser in Brisbane.
With a love of the bush and the magnificent wild animals South Africa has to offer, this painting, simple called "Africa" was inspired by the song of the same name by Toto, and was on show at my first solo in Brisbane where it sold. In it are hidden a number of large wild animals. See what you can find in there...
Get Your Funk On
Bright and energetic, with staccatos of popping colour this painting wants me to get up and dance around the room. I had so much fun creating it, it had to have a light hearted title... Buy this print here.
Conjuring up the chaotic feel of a Moroccan or Indian spice market with the hustle of people, food, rugs and colour, this one to me is a rich and lively Grand Bazaar. The original sold through Fenton & Fenton in Melbourne, but you can buy the print here at a size of 50 x 59cm plus a 3cm paper surround for framing purposes. Signed by myself.
I mostly never know what I am going to paint, as was the case with this one, but as I finished it, there was only one name for it. With the blues of the Greek oceans and the whites of the iconic buildings, the gold of the sun and the loose relaxed application of the paint, this took me back to the '90s when I was a young carefree traveller visiting this great fun island of Mykonos. Buy this print here.
The Pottery Class
Everyone sees something different in a painting. For me this is a scene of drinking vessels, cups, pots and vases spread out on a picnic rug, the fruits of an industrious day behind the potting wheel. Buy this print here.
This is my Castle
I was starting to struggle with this piece. It started out really pale and pastel and it was all rather tight and contrived and there wasn't much about it I was liking. It needed an injection of colour and so out came the Napthol Crimson, the Rose Pink and the Magentas and as I moved these colours across the canvas, it started to come alive, it started to feel comfortable and easy and the final piece came together very intuitively. The simple suggestion of a crown shape dictated the name of the painting for me. For in the studio with my brushes and canvas I am in my castle, I am the king of my creativity. Buy this print here.
For Mother's Day this year I gifted one of my art cushions in a giveaway I ran on Instagram. I thought it would be a lovely way to share the love, as my own mum is on the other side of the world...The winner (chosen at random) was Sonya Hayes from Yamba and she picked this pink parrot cushion as her choice out of 4 designs. Below this image are some shots I took of some of my other cushions at the Art House in Newrybar – a gorgeous and quaint accommodation venue filled with a great eclectic mix of local art.
Photos shot at The Art House, Newrybar. Visit them at www.the-arthouse.com.au
At the start of the year I wrote about the importance the role of vision boards can have in your personal and business life. For a while now I have fantasised about being a Fenton & Fenton artist but never really thought it would be a reality. On my vision board for 2016 I have 4 big goals, the first being "Get into Fenton & Fenton". And then about 5 weeks ago I got the email from them asking me if I would be interested in working with them! I mean, can you believe it? The power of desire and intention.... just incredible. Needless to say I am one incredibly happy artist right now!
The image above shows one of my paintings beautifully styled in a room along with work and items by Lisa la Pointe, Michael Bond, Amanda Dadziedzic, Elise (Cakebread), Mr Fenton Rugs and Mahal coffee table.
About 18 months or so ago a lady by the name of Alison contacted me via Facebook after watching myself and Todd on the Grand Designs episode of Series 5 in 2014. She expressed an interest in commissioning me to paint 2 pieces for her and we liaised on and off for a fair period while she was getting clear on what she wanted. Towards the end of 2015 she decided on 2 cockatoo themed paintings, one of 3 black ones and one of one white one. These gorgeous creatures have a special place in the hearts of Alison and her husband which is why they chose them as the feature for their 2 large paintings.
Fast forward a few months and her 2 pieces are now complete and ready for framing and freighting to her home in Albury, NSW. Alison, it has been an absolute pleasure creating these cockatiel portraits for you and I hope they bring many years of joy and inspiration into your beautiful home.
Here is a series of progress images so you can all walk through the process with me...
First, the trio of black cockatoos
And now for the white cockatoo painting...
So there you have it! I can't wait to see these 2 hung in their new home!
I have just unpacked my last box and its starting to feel like home :) Moving is such a big job and this one was a doozy. I unpacked EVERYTHING – stuff that has been in storage or in a box for so long I didn't know what was in it. Todd and I filled a skip with stuff before we moved too. Boy, was that refreshing! Now I just need to turf a few more clothes.. I do struggle with that one though.
So here we are on top of the hill in Possum Creek. We have been in NSW almost a month now and have to say it totally feels like home. We LOVE IT!
The shop has been hugely busy with Christmas and holiday makers to the region. Byron Bay is swarming with people, to the point where you'd rather just avoid the place altogether!
I have managed to paint a few new paintings over the last couple of months, and the studio is working out well despite having to paint in front of customers which I wasn't too sure about.