Mountains near Queenstown - NZ South Island
My studio is located in Springfield on the Central Coast of Australia 80 Ks north of Sydney where I'm lucky to have a dedicated space to paint in and still be connected to landscape and mother nature, through the natural light that comes into my space. I have a couple of comfy chairs in the studio where I can look at my work and assess where I'm going with it. I also surround myself with many beautiful, natural and magical objects, such as a seahorse skeleton, poppy seed heads and treasures from the seashore.
I was born in Tauranga, New Zealand. My father was in the air force, which meant that my family was always on the move. It was in Blenheim New Zealand that I first felt a deep connection to the landscape. There were previous echoes of this in England, experienced by walking through ancient forests and discovering overgrown, Roman roads. The unique wilderness of these ancient landscapes captivated my dreams of magic and mystery from the age of five. In Blenheim, these landscapes had a wild and
primal energy to them which was immense and enveloping at the same time. The landscape enfolded me, nurtured and protected me. I felt held, seen and recognized. There are evocative shapes and spaces in these landscapes that connect to a history of both human and the Divine. Also experienced is a sense of paradox in the opposing sensations of gravity and weightlessness these locations engendered. It is a place which continues to hold a sense of mystery and magic to this day. The New Zealand landscape is a place I continue to revisit, a place filled with gems as yet undiscovered.. This has become a yearly ritual in which I recharge and rejuvenate.
There is a timeless, spiritual connectedness that I experience there, the beauty of the natural forms and their presence, and it is this essence which I bring to the world through my work. The distillation of this natural energy manifests as a quiet stillness, a magical mysteriousness that expresses the inner beauty and connection to place and is found as a consistent theme throughout my work. Translating my love for these mysterious landscapes did not happen until I was about 15. One school holidays I found a set of watercolour paints and began to paint. Minutes passed into hours as I painted my very first pine tree. I found I could reconnect to the landscape with images inspired by it. Uncovering the joy art could provide, led me to pursue my fine
arts degree at Elam School of Fine Arts. My father had a great influence on my love for creating. He taught me how to think creatively, and that everything had a potential for beauty if it was tended to with love, nurturing and respect.
Although I enjoyed creating at university, this path was interrupted by the arrival of my first child. I never did get back to uni. My growing family took all my time but creativity was always on my mind. On moving to Sydney I decided to make more time for my own art. I had a magnificent balcony where I could paint the surrounding landscape directly. During this time I also polished my skills with extra classes. Moving again, into the country, I finally had a space to dedicate to my art making. I started home-schooling my three children and used this time as an opportunity to include creativity as much as possible. I really enjoyed helping others to discover their own creative side, which, as my family grew up, evolved into me beginning a small art school. My inspiration comes from first and foremost, the towering mountains, hidden creeks and sparkling waters of New Zealand's terrain, which have captivated me since I was a child. It is the place where I feel most me, with a sense of freedom and fantasy and I religiously return there for sustenance.
Some of the artists who have influenced my work have been: Judith White because she encouraged me to become more serious about my art and finish my learning at TAFE. David Andrews who taught me the nuts and bolts of colour and drawing. Georgia O'Keeffe inspired me to look more deeply and express through the language of colour. John Morris, whose work speaks to me of mystery and subtle revelations and Kristine Ballard, who has taught me to find myself within my work and paint with an authentic voice. Oil paint at art school indicated a real painter, but I always got frustrated by my lack of technical ability to draw. There is a tactility a rawness to drawing that for me is reminiscent of nature’s marks. This tactility made me focus on the texture of things, experimenting with surfaces, giving it a life that continues to change is something that I love to do. In nature nothing is stationary, it is always in flux. By contrast, man's creations are generally static and do not organically adapt in the same way that nature does. Have you notice how trees are sculpted by the wind?
How we interpret these changes, is what I try to capture through my own work. I do this through the layering process. The way I lay images and layers of paint on top of each other connects to the way the landscape is layered over centuries and seasons, continually changing and yet often completely still within a captured moment. It is a way of listening to the language of the landscape. Stillness with movementJohnStanfield, Lecturer at The National Art School, said of my work recently, “You have a wonderful grasp of colour, you are a very competent painter." 'Panning For Gold’, has an interesting mix of abstract and representational art within it. It's got a Georgia Okeeffe feel to it, but it isn't her. it's your original view"
Photography is a tool I use to capture imagery for later use. Bushwalking, walking on the seashore and bike riding, all connect me back to Nature again. My sense of connectedness, gems within the landscape, balance and harmony within, reflected, show others the beauty I find in nature. The balance of nature, how it adapts reacts and evolves is part of my visual documentary. Studies in quantum physics have provided a way to help me understand Nature's balance. The natural world is my Master. If I am lost I only have to return to the land to feel connected and rejuvenated.
The impact that nature has upon me is something I am trying to achieve in my own art-making. Creating something that can move and inspire others is the goal of every artwork I create. Through my art, I want to tell the story of my love and connection to nature and I hope that when people see my work that they may experience some connection too.
In this way, I want to show to others, the magic and mystery I have discovered in nature. My work is my homage to Mother Nature. My story is one of the unconditional love I have for the ancient land I have had the privilege to be present in. My language is visual. It tells tales of the connection and bond to the land we travel. Through my art, I feel like I am the caretaker of such places. It is my honour and responsibility to bring this beauty and understanding to others.