In 2017 I was thrilled to visit the
Kathe Kollowitz Museum in Berlin to
see her fabulous works and her printing press.
I am a Contemporary Visual Artist and Art Educator based in North East Victoria, working from the Blue Studio in the heart of Wangaratta.
My work predominately uses oils on canvas and linen, developing semi abstract expressive landscapes overlayed with images of figures. I am fascinated with figurative art and portraiture and more recently my work has explored a merging of realistic, insightful portraits with the colors and textures of life in a unique use of form, line, tone and light.
The inspirations for my work come from the everyday, from the interactions and actions of life, from personal experience and captured moments recreated by a blending of different experiences.
My more recent work requires the development of many layers of oil paint before developing the figurative work or portrait as the final layer of paint, using black outlines and developing skin tones and selected details.
Drawing continues to form the backbone of my art practice, sketching objects, figures, decorative patterns or creating travel journals, using biro, pencils, gouaches and watercolour. I also enjoy experimenting with and pushing the boundaries of a variety of printmaking techniques and working on wood, developing and mastering a wide range of techniques and mediums in my art practice.
I completed my Bachelor of Education (Art & Crafts) at Melbourne State College and in my artistic career I have travelled extensively, living in Paris for 6 months studying and developing my art. In addition I was able to work overseas with artists such as Zandra Rhodes, Robert Maclean and J.C. Villalonga, the Spanish master with whom I worked as an apprentice in his studio for 6 weeks. It was here that I learnt to draw and paint hands and was influenced by Villalonga’s use of line and pattern within the figure.
My time is split between my studio practice & adult classes at the Blue Studio, Art Gallery on Ovens and teaching Yr.12 Art at Galen College in Wangaratta. I have organised international tours to France, England & Italy for both my adult and senior school students and I continue to run workshops on a regular basis at the Benalla Art Gallery.
I have been a Finalist in the Gallipoli Art Prize Sydney, the Hume Bank Acquisitive Contemporary Art Award Wodonga and NEA Portrait Prize Benalla. Selected three times for The Hidden Faces Victorian Salon Des Refuses in Melbourne, I have also won First Prize at the St. Bernard’s Art Show & the Acquisitive Oil Painting Prize at the King Valley Art Show, along with other Highly Commended and People Choice awards.
Working at The Blue Studio
My Studio is located behind the Information Centre at Rear 106 Murphy Street, Wangaratta. I spend some time most days here in between teaching VCE Art at Galen College. Visitors are always welcome if you can catch me, although my routine is inconsistent each day. Appointments are advised.
The beauty of my studio is that there is plenty of space for me to work as well as having it set up for an adult evening class and a social group of ladies who work in my studio one afternoon each week .
The joy of class members
WORKSHOPS - At the Blue Studio
I occasionally offer life drawing, portraiture or oil painting workshops in my studio. I am also available to run workshops for groups at your own venue, so please contact me if you are interested.
WORKSHOPS - At Benalla Art Gallery
I really enjoy presenting workshops on a regular basis at the Benalla Art Gallery. These vary each year depending on the exhibitions in the gallery and the focus in education. Popular workshops have been Life Drawing, Portraiture and Figurative Painting.
WORKSHOPS - At Art Events
At certain times I have been lucky enough to present workshops for Art events - Across the Arts Forum GANEAA - Portrait Painting, Art Education Victoria CONFERENCES - Oil Painting.
As Director of Art Gallery on Ovens
In September 2019, with the commitment of 11 other local artists, I formed an artist run professional community gallery in Wangaratta.
The gallery holds solo and group exhibitions of the Resident artists with Guest artists booking into spaces in the yearly calendar.
I really enjoy mentoring and assisting artists with their exhibitions and encouraging artists and visitors to actively engage in art in our community.
The Opening Of Art Gallery On Ovens - 20 September 2019 - I got to cut the red ribbon!
2017 - Art Study Tour Artist Tutor - Painting @ Matisse's Villa Le Reve, Vence, France
2015 - Art Study Tour Artist Tutor - Cumbria Landscape Workshop, UK
With my Adult Art class at The Blue Studio I was encouraged to organise overseas Art 'Draw & Paint' Workshops in both Cumbria UK and at Matisse's Villa in Vence, France.
At both venues I booked the group in for one week at the Manor House /Villa and in conjunction with tourist activities and exploration, drawing and painting sessions were included and art work was developed throughout the week. It was a cultural exploration of the areas through art with self catering accommodation full of history and a fantastic experience for all who joined the tour.
IMAGES below L-R : Cumbria - Red How Manor; artists drawing in Cumbria; Matisse's Villa, Vence; and painting in Matisse's garden.
2016, 2017, 2018 - PAINT PRESTO Art Event
In 2016 with the help and support of the Rural City of Wangaratta and the Wangaratta Art Gallery I came up with the idea to develop an Art Event in conjunction with the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
PAINT PRESTO was an outdoor painting experience that challenged artists to paint or draw from the community in just one day. The program consisted of a rapid Painting Day creating a picture from start to finish, followed by an Exhibition Day. The completed work was exhibited and available for sale and judged by artists such as Internationally acclaimed Australian artist Wendy Sharpe and Sydney artist Vanessa Ashcroft. The artists painting on the street and in music venues added another dimension to the arts on display in Wangaratta over this popular festival weekend. The event was popular with both artists and festival patrons as it developed and grew in both 2017 & 2018.
2011 - Jesus Villalonga's Studio Barcelona - Assistant
I was thrilled when I was allowed to go to Barcelona to work with Spain's living legend, artist Jesus Villalonga, living and working in his studio as his assistant. This involved helping him with all aspects of his current work from screen printing gessoed panels with his patterns using gouache, developing his drawings, painting his patterns onto sections of his figures, learning to accurately draw hands, sewing his garment designs for a special event and chasing supplies in the bowels of old Barcelona. It was a fantastic experience with a generous and lovely 85yr old master which I will never forget. I would liken it to a sabbatical as I had no Spanish and found myself sequestered in the minature attic of his studio ceiling for over 6 weeks. So my exploration of Barcelona was extensive.
IMAGES below L-R : Villalonga studio ground floor, in the studio with Villalonga, demonstrating the burnishing tool on the finished work,
and the magical interior of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.
2009 - Zandra Rhodes Studio London - Assistant
In August I was able to spend time working with the fabulous fashion designer Zandra Rhodes for 3 weeks, whilst living in London. This involved developing a better understanding of screen printing designs to fabric and sewing, sorting shipments of garments with another assistant in her residence above the studio, then researching her designs and photographing fabric samples for her next book.
It was a very hot sweltering August, hard work but very rewarding. I just love screen printing and her very colorful style.
2006, 2008 & 2010 - VCE Studio Arts Europe Study Tours - Galen College Wangaratta
In 2006, as Art Domain Leader and VCE Art teacher I introduced a Studio Arts Europe Study Tour for my Year 12 students over the first term holidays. The aim of the tour was to give country students the opportunity to experience and research first hand famous works of art & places and to meet international artists, attend workshops and a series of lectures. London, Paris, Rome, Florence & Milan were visited in tours ranging from 15 - 21 days. Also on the schedule were visits to Tate Modern, Westminster Abbey, Harrods, Vatican City, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and various fashion houses to name a few. The students loved the experience and and despite the immense amount of work and organisation it took to develop these tours and all programming it was very rewarding working and travelling with these young adults and giving them this opportunity to see amazing cultures and international art history.
IMAGES below L-R : 2006 - students with Zandra Rhodes; in front of the Louvre; 2008 - tour of the Coloseum; students tour in the Louvre; and in Paris; 2010 - the teachers version of the 'Charlie Angels' pose; students at Trafalgar Square; and visiting the Eiffel Tower.