Q. What was your path to becoming an artist?
A. I loved art at high school, particularly acrylics on
canvas, and I took every art subject that I could right
up until the end of Senior. Moving to the UK in my late teens, I kept sketchbooks and visual diaries of just
about everything. Back in Australia in my early twenties,
I learnt to play guitar and went on to write songs and
play in bands around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Surrounded by other musicians, artists, and actors,
my pathway to some sort of full-time creative career
was inevitable. After studying animation and digital
design, I ended up falling back in love with the simplicity
of acrylics on canvas and my love for painting took
Q. How would you describe your artistic style and
what makes it unique?
A. I have quite often described my style as ‘messy botanicals’. My original paintings were abstracts and they were more a mishmash of colour, but I always felt like I wanted more structure. Once the organic assets like the plants, leaves, and vines started to emerge, I started to really enjoy what I was painting. I still love the messiness and unpredictability of abstract more than a traditional botanical that you would find in a biology book. My style
is definitely a blend of the two, so ‘messy botanicals’ is
definitely a great way to describe my work. What probably makes my work unique is the drips and mistakes that only my hand could make. That’s what makes it unique to me.
Q. Your art celebrates Australian life with bold colours and forms. Can you talk about the connection you feel to your homeland?
A. I think because I lived overseas in Europe throughout so many formidable years from my late teens into my twenties, I had a newfound appreciation for Australia when I came home. The light is so beautiful here, the colours are so unique, and I couldn’t understand how I let myself stay away from this beautiful country for so long. I feel like when I came back to Australia it was as more of a tourist – starting a journey of discovery, of exploring, that’s had a lasting impression on me.
Q. Your use of bold colours is a defining feature of your art. How do you decide on the colour combinations for each piece?
A. I really love colour and I love having a hero colour in every piece, but sometimes the colours only become heroes when they have the supporting palette. So, some colours start off as my intended feature colour but soon have to bend when the rest of the painting comes together. It just brings a whole new level to the piece.
Q. You create new species of plant life in your paintings.
What draws you to incorporate nature and what does it
symbolise for you?
A. Growing up in Far North Queensland, I spent a lot of time outside and in the rainforest as a child. I have so
many fond memories of this and it’s probably the reason
I love having these environments in my artwork. The coolness of the forest, and the layers and tapestry of shapes of leaves, flowers, and vines, all culminates in a feeling of wonderment. When I create paintings that have the same components, I get to enhance them with absurd colours like hot pink and cobalt blues. It adds another dimension to these childhood memories and provides
a massive sense of peace for me.
Q. How would you explain the feeling of being in a state
of flow and creativity during the process of painting?
A. Being in a state of flow when I paint is my favourite part of being a full-time artist. I often refer to it as a trance-like state and I feel that this is where I do my best work. The balance of colours is better, the composition of assets is better. My willingness to add new shapes enhances my paintings. The paintings I paint for nobody in particular, just for my website or my gallery, these are always my
favourite ones to paint. I’m not matching colours, I’m not
recreating a past piece, I’m just painting. That’s where the magic happens.
Q. What emotions or messages do you hope viewers take away from experiencing your art?
A. The most common emotion I see on the faces of people when looking at my work in the gallery is joy. This is also the most common word people use when describing my work. They will often tell me, “I love this, it makes me happy.” I think what they see in my paintings is not necessarily what it means to me. I think the tapestry of colour and shapes reminds them of something happy in their life. It’s more of a trigger for their own happiness then. Also, their desire for friends and family to be a part
of it or witness that happiness when it’s on a wall in their home or workspace.
Q. Are there specific places that have had an impact on your art?
A. The rainforest in Far North Queensland and the woods
in the UK. The leaf litter on the ground, the trees, and their leaves. But also, their moss, and their lichen, their vines, and their insects. So full, so bursting with colour. Bright tropical flowers or a red leaf in a wood in autumn. The pinks and reds in these places are sublime.
Q. Your art reflects the emotional memory of colour. Can you describe how emotions play a role in your process?
A. Using colours that have positive memories associated
with them always gives me the best results. Taking colours that fill me with happiness or positive feelings and extending around that primary palette is the way I allow my emotions to play a role in my creative process.
Q. Are there any artists, past or present, who have inspired or influenced your work?
A. Ken Done is definitely the person that comes to mind.
I think growing up in the 70’s and 80’s and watching
Ken Done be a current, actual living, breathing human Australian that was making art was formative for me.
He was being a full-time artist not just someone from
300 years ago who was only having success centuries
later. To watch Ken, create in such bright, happy colours and capture the free and easy super covetable life of Australia in that era was very inspiring.
Q. What is your favourite colour? Does it describe
you as a person?
A. I’m going to have to say pink for this one! Lately, it’s been the pink of pink zinc. That beautiful pink clay colour that is so prevalent in everyday Australia. In the sky, in the trees, in the ground. It’s just such an all-rounder that can pretty much be added to any painting and only enhance every other colour around it.
Q. Besides painting, are there any other art forms or outlets you enjoy exploring?
A. I love my memories of writing songs and playing
music. My husband gave me a drum kit for my 50th birthday and although I don’t play it as much as I’d
like to, it’s nice to see it sitting there outside my studio. These days I write poetry. I think it’s a way I can still connect with the rhythm of song lyrics – but without making so much noise!