Q. How did you start your artistic journey?
A. I started entering art shows, and someone said, “oh I’d
buy that!” and I thought oh well if they would buy it maybe someone else would also buy it. And then I think I just kept going. I never had any plans. I’ve just thought I’ll just keep seeing this out until no one wants to hear from me again! And I’m still going. That is what I’m very grateful for.
Q. How would you describe your artistic style? And how has it evolved over time?
A. There are no hidden meanings in my paintings. What you see is what you get. And that’s, that’s like myself I suppose! I just love colour and I love putting it down in any way I can get it down. And I love nature. So, when I mix nature and colour together, that’s what you get. I like to put a lot of paint on the canvas, and even kids come into my gallery and want to touch the paintings. The mothers are having a heart attack. And I’m like, no, if they want to touch it, let them touch it! Kids want to touch things.
I look back on myself, and I think I’ve still got that same vibe, I just have a bolder version of it. I look back at myself and look at the paintings I might have done 20 years ago, and then I’ll paint similar ones just to see how I would do it again today. I feel like I’m still the same person that I was when I was at 21, and no amount of success has really changed that.
Q. Florals are a big part of your art. What is it in that subject matter that you find so inspirational?
A.I like flowers that are not all the same in the bunch. It’s like family; you’re not all the same, you know what I mean? I still love painting flowers because they’re for every occasion. Flowers are weddings, death, birth, they’re in everyone’s life. They’re in your garden, for love, for death, they’re everywhere. So I say buy some forever flowers, for your wife, or even just for yourself!
Q. If you could become one of your works of art which one would you choose?
A. I think one of my birds. The birds are free and they can fly anywhere, and then if I feel “it’s no fun I’ve gotta get the hell outta here” I can fly off, take to the skies and you know, fly between the trees. They’re just beautiful, the birds of the world. So, I’m just having a bit of fun with them, but I try to make them my own. I try to get all those colours out.
Q. You also paint a lot of other creatures, even snails!
A. I love the snails because they’re just so gentle they just slide through your garden on their merry way and wouldn’t hurt anyone. I used to step on them when I was young, but I don’t step on them anymore! I suppose I’m now a reformed snail stepper.
Q. What is your favourite or memorable accomplishment?
A. Painting the Uoo Uoo for the Royal children’s hospital was fun, and having it bought by a lovely lady in memory of her daughter and grandson who both died of brain cancer was kind of real. It feels real when it’s attached to something that really happened and with someone who really struggled. The Uoo Uoo is now sitting in their lounge room and she has bought pink chairs to match it.
Q. If you were no longer able to use the medium that you are use now, how else would you express your creativity?
A. Doing art classes is great way to get that creativity for other people, product development, and going into schools and teaching. There are lots of other avenues for me that I would be totally satisfied. I try to stay humble because you never know when it’s going to end. And you just always be grateful when the shop door opens, or someone emails.
Q. “Grandmother’s – The women who have shaped us and loved us and showed us our traditional ways”.
Why are they such an inspiration in naming your artwork?
A. I’m a very nostalgic person. I love yesteryear as much as I’m a modern girl. I love thinking about my grandparents, they were a very big inspiration to me. What they taught me still stays with me today. My Grandfather taught me you can only sleep in one bed at a time. You can
only wear one jacket at a time. And it made me realise that it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got that, at the end of the day you want family around you. The things that money can’t buy is the most important.
I suppose, after all the years of painting, that people still
enjoy my work that, they find something to connect to,
they love the colour combinations or it reminds them of Grandma’s flowers, you know, those great memories,
I love the symbolism.
And I’ve had the most amazing responses from people telling me about their own grandmothers. A customer said that her grandmother died in 1919, having triplets and the triplets never survived to 12 months. The four of them all passed away. It was so sad. There’s been lots of stories of amazing women running their properties when the husbands have gone off to war, being left by their husbands and bringing up you know, five kids, and I just think let’s bring these great names back because bringing the names back is like bringing that that whole vibe back. And I just think there’s not enough Edna’s and Errol’s in the world. You know even if someone names their kid, Maggie or Margaret, I just think that’s awesome.
Q. Do you believe each person has the capacity to be creative?
A. Definitely! I still think everybody has something to say
artistically, even if they don’t think so. You know if you gave everybody the same picture they would all do it in their own way, and that way that they do it is the best way.
Q. After 31 years of being an artist, what keeps you moving forward into the future?
A. I kind of paint just to amuse myself and I’m just blessed that other people have connected with what makes me happy. I’m just playing. It’s like, who doesn’t want to play every day? You know, and I’m doing what I want. I’m not answering to anyone, except for the colours. And, you know, I can just lose myself every day. Like, how much more perfect could that be?? I would rather have less and enjoy what I do. There’s never been a day that I can honestly say that I’ve come in here and thought, “You know what, I’m going home”. Because if I’m not feeling one painting, I can start work on something else.
Q. What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
A. If something doesn’t go right, it doesn’t mean it’s not going right forever. It’s just not going right that day. But every day is a new day. And as I said to my kids, the only thing that separates everyone is attitude. You’re either going to have a good attitude or a bad attitude. I’ve always had that get up and go. I was going to chase down every lead. I was committed to making this work and that was by not giving up. I’ve paid my dues and I didn’t just start at the top. You’ve got to do everything just to get to that stage. I’ve just always done it. And then people say, “Oh, wow. You’ve made it!” And I think, I still haven’t made it. I’ve just kind of made it. I want to make it a little bit more. Just a bit more. There’s always more to do. I’ve got more fun to have.