Tag Archives: artist

Opening night tonight…”For the love of Italy” Exhibition at Yuga Cafe & Gallery, Glebe

Yuga Cafe & Gallery, 172 St Johns Road, GlebeYou’re invited!  Opening night tonight of our “For the love of Italy” Exhibition at Yuga Café & Gallery at 172 St John’s Road, Glebe from 6pm – 8pm.  Come and join myself and fellow artist, Masako Gordon, to enjoy the opening of our latest exhibition.

"For the love of Italy" Exhibition, some of the paintings...Just some of the paintings that are on view at our Exhibition. We look forward to seeing you there.  Exhibition runs until Saturday, 18 May.

Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2013…

Dear Friends and Friends of my work

With Christmas just a few weeks away, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you well over the Christmas period and all the very best for 2013.

"Self Portrait:  In the moment" entry in 2012 Portia Geach Portrait Prize

“Self Portrait: In the moment” entry in 2012 Portia Geach Portrait Prize

2012 has been a year of “showing up” for me as an artist.  My goal this year was to enter some of the major art exhibitions for the first time and I am pleased to say that I entered four of these including The Sulman Art Prize, The Blake Art Prize, the Mortimore Art Prize and the Portia Geach Portrait Prize.  While my various paintings were unselected, it was an important milestone to at least enter.  As a number of my art mentors pointed out, there comes a time when you do have to “show up” and then just keep “showing up”.




"Local Hero", 2012 Warringah Art Exhibition

“Local Hero”, 2012 Warringah Art Exhibition







At a local community level, my painting of Bob Blockley, titled “Local Hero” was selected for hanging in this year’s Warringah Art Show. 

Bob is 85 and a resident of our street.  I was keen to paint this dear old soul who for many years has been delivering our Manly Daily newspaper.  Up with the birds (hence the rooster) but in his case quietly going about his deliveries, Bob would pop our paper in our letterbox before heading down to St John The Baptist’s primary school to open it up.  These are just a couple of the roles he has played in our local community so I was delighted to see his painting hung in the exhibition.

"Youth" pastels on coloured paper

“Youth” pastels on coloured paper




This final image is a pastel portrait I did of one of my daughter’s school friends.  Working from an image my daughter had taken while on a school excursion, I loved the way the sunlight was hitting that mass of curly hair so this was just a bit of fun to do.  

As you can see, I really enjoy the portraiture and am continuing to pursue this area.  I had a wonderful trip to Umbria, Italy in October to spend a week at a Master Portrait Class by Andrew James and along with fellow artist friend, Masako Gordon, am hoping to have an exhibition in May next year of works based on our trip.  Stay tuned! 

Since returning to Sydney I have been thoroughly enjoying Life Drawing Classes with Ann Cape at the Royal Art Society and am also looking to undertake the RAS Diploma over the next couple of years.  Always plenty to learn and develop as an artist, and I look forward to keeping you up to date on my progress.  My work is taking a more experimental and expressive path at this stage, which is exciting so again keep in contact.

You know where I am if you are interested in a portrait, whether a drawing or painting, of you or a loved one and they really do make very special gifts.  I am also keen to do children’s portraits so again, if you are interested, please let me know.

Until my next newsletter, I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and good health and much happiness for the New Year.  May 2013 be a special year for you.

Best wishes, Marion


Return from Tasmania and “must see”…”The Wall”

"The Wall" with sculptor Greg Duncan

"The Wall" with sculptor Greg Duncan

Another trip highlight from my recent visit to Tasmania, was visiting “The Wall”.  I had heard from friends that this was a “must see” and I am so glad I did.  Truly an inspirational artwork and artist. 
Self funded, in 2003 Greg Duncan began his creation of a 100 metre huon pine wall sculpting some of the history of Tasmania into these 3 metre high panels.  He is over half way now and aims to complete “The Wall” by 2015.
Fortunately I had an opportunity to meet Greg and was so inspired by the work of this modest and obviously dedicated and patient artist.
“The Wall” is located on the road from Hobart to Strahan just near the Derwent Bridge in a purpose built gallery to house this masterpiece.  Set amongst beautiful bushland, it is just magnificent and will have you thinking in wonder days after your visit.  Certainly did for me and as we continued our travels, it was wonderful to hear “the word” of “The Wall” being spread amongst others who had visited or on their way.  Now back in Sydney I have friends planning their trips around ensuring a visit to this amazing artwork and legacy that is being created by Greg Duncan. 
To find out more about “The Wall” follow this link

Arte Umbria here we come!

Terrace at Arte Umbria

Terrace at Arte Umbria

How exciting!  Have just booked to attend a Master Portrait Class at Arte Umbria, Italy, in October this year.  
Along with my fellow artist friend, Rhonda White, we have a wonderful week to look forward to with our teacher, Andrew James, from the UK.  I first saw Andy painting on Rolf Harris’ “Star Portraits” and was moved to see the impact Andy’s painting had on the sitter.  I hope my portraits have that sort of impact.
If you want to see more about Arte Umbria click here!  It looks fabulous and you don’t have to be an artist to visit.  Already feel welcome.

Doctor Who…The Writer’s Tale

So what else does an artist read?  Well at the moment I am thoroughly enjoying the gay and witty emails of Russell T Davies, as he shares insights into his creative process as writer for the wonderfully revived “Doctor Who” series in his book “Doctor Who, The Writer’s Tale”. 

I was particularly interested in his comments about how he carried so many potential episodes around in his head as he developed them, each having a life of their own, and how they were constantly with him.  There was no separation between work and other life, in fact all of life impacted on his stories as they unfolded.   How visual he is, how things come together from various pieces, and how not every story or character may come to light and yet they have had a life in his head.  And not only was he writing for Dr Who series episodes, and it seems a number of series at any one time, but also Torchwood and others.  Judging by the time of the emails (the book being a year’s dialogue of emails between Russell and journalist Benjamin Cook), Russell barely sleeps.   All of this has been fascinating as one creative individual to another and I could see a number of parallels.

As a portrait artist, I am currently carrying atleast 9 portraits around in my head, along with a concept for a series of up to 30.  Some will become paintings and others, depending on all sorts of things, including my life around me will be destined to be stored away in my brain.  And I can understand Russell’s comments about characters he develops and then when they don’t end up seeing the light of day…I get attached to my ideas for paintings and when for whatever reason they don’t come to fruition it does at times make me feel sad.   Although I notice when this happens, usually something better or certainly different evolves.  I recently had an idea for a project which I was very excited about, could see the whole painting however for a number of reasons I needed to let go of that concept (although I can still see it) and instead this has evolved into a completely different painting.  And, similarly I don’t sleep that much as well, with all those ideas, those faces and all that energy they create.

Anyway it has been curious to read this fascinating and funny book to get an insight into this creative mind.  Even more curious, my daughter’s friend has just returned from the UK with a signed note to my daughter from, none other than, Russell T Davies complete with a handdrawn Dalek.  And if by sheer chance Russell ever reads this… “Yes, you did spell her name right”.

Portraiture…the “extreme sport” of art!

On a number of occasions over these past few months, at various times, it has struck me the high degree of challenge there is in portraiture, particularly in aiming to capture the likeness of an individual.  Surely portraiture is the “extreme sport” of art because of that challenge. 

A few examples which have set me thinking…  Driving in traffic up from the Spit Bridge towards Mosman, I happened to briefly glimpse to the right of me, and in the time it took me to glance back to my daughter I commented that the person in the car that had just past us looked like a friend of ours.  All I had seen was the briefest glimpse of a silhouette, I didn’t recognise the car, and sure enough my daughter confirmed that they were subsequently waving to us.  Likewise waiting with a friend at Canberra airport recently to meet another friend for a reunion, as we sat in the lounge watching the passengers disembark we happened to notice “someone’s arm pulling on a jacket” and in that one gesture we knew it was our friend.  

Then today…visiting a couple of artist friends (Rhonda Meryl-White and Masako Gordon), amongst many topics covered over lunch we were then looking at some images on the computer when a close up of one eye only was shown on the screen, I immediately identified the model.   Our power of recognition from even the smallest amount of information amazes me.  It’s actually quite daunting if you think about it too much however I also find it quite fascinating and part of the thrill of portraiture in getting that likeness.

Happy New Year!…”Celebration”

Dear Friends and Friends of my work

"Celebration", oil on board, 60cm x 90cm
“Celebration”, oil on board, 60cm x 90cm

Happy New Year and all the best for 2012!   May you enjoy a year of celebration and to start it off, I have chosen to share with you a very special painting which I have just completed titled “Celebration”.   (Well almost completed, I can see a couple of small adjustments I need to make.)

Over the last few months I have been working on what has turned out to be a major project being a portrait painting for my Mother for her 80th birthday on the 19th of January.  It began as a portrait of both her and my Dad celebrating her 79th birthday, however encouraged by my mentor, Nafisa, this was extended to include portraits of the family in the background.  My personal challenge of painting two portraits in one painting was extended to eight!  (I am the one on the right in the portrait of the four children).

While the painting has been challenging on a number of levels as an artist and as a daughter (with Dad’s health declining dramatically in the year), overall it has been an absolute joy to paint especially knowing the joy that it will bring to my mother.  Countless hours have gone into it’s creation from a full scale tonal drawing to begin with, before even beginning painting, to whole days of painting.   Dad’s shirt took a day in itself, mastering or endeavouring to get the sculpting, the tones and the check print.  It would have been a lot easier if it was a plain shirt, and as an artist it would have been easy to just paint it plain however Dad has always worn check shirts and this is one our family all knows. 

The gift to Mum feels more like a gift to me because somewhere in the process of its creation it has affirmed my love for portraiture, for painting from a space of joy and love and my desire to be able to paint portraits for others who will also treasure them. 

For me “Celebration” is not just about celebrating Mum’s 80th birthday, but about celebrating the union between Mum and Dad for the 59 or so years they have been together, through sickness and health (the way Mum’s hand is resting on Dad’s arm), it’s about celebrating family and life and recording it for all time.   Surrounded by roses from her garden and with Mum’s signature sponge cake in front of them (and which I recalled while painting that I had helped decorate), this painting captures so much of our family history. 

It has been a celebration for me to be able to create this painting for Mum and I am grateful for the teachers who have helped me to develop as an artist over the years, and particularly in these last two with Nafisa focussing on my portraiture skills.

If you look closely, behind Dad’s head in the painting is the corner of a small portrait with just the forehead showing of  our daughter, Nyomi.  I wanted to have atleast one of the grandchildren included in the painting to indicate the generations, even though it was suggested at one stage that perhaps I could leave that small painting out of the picture.  It wasn’t until much further along in the painting that I realised how important it was Nyomi was included because one day she will actually inherit this painting and it will be her’s to pass on in our family. 

Some years ago now before I had actually taken lessons in portraiture, I did a portrait of Nyomi holding a chook on my parent’s farm and in the background of this painting is just the arm of her grandfather, my Dad, wearing one of the cardigans he has always worn.  Again someone suggested I leave Dad’s arm out of the picture and yet I am so glad I didn’t because it has captured three generations in the painting…Nyomi, her grandfather at her side and myself by way of having painted it.  Part of the power and the significance of the painting would have been lost without Dad’s presence and likewise had Nyomi not been included in Mum’s painting.  The painting of Nyomi is in my portrait gallery and is called “Love”.  In fact, there is a lot of love in both these paintings.

So I hope you too can join in and enjoy “Celebration” and may 2012 be a year to celebrate your life, family, friendships, your passions and all that is important to you.

With best wishes for 2012,



A small Christmas gift…making a difference

This morning I distributed a small Christmas gift to my fellow coaching colleagues and the team I work with a couple of days a week, when I’m not painting.    I was reminded of the difference such a small gift had made to a client of one of my colleagues last year. 

As an avid reader and lover of books, for the second year in a row I gave an original oil painting bookmark by me.  To make them even more unique and to give my fellow coaches yet another shared connection, the bookmarks are pieces cut from an overall painting.  (I can’t keep them all!) 

I enjoy making up the little cards that go with these bookmarks, tying ribbons on etc and the responses received are just the delightful icing on top. 

Last year I included on the back of each bookmark the quote by H W Beecher “Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures”.   My colleague, John, was doing some work outside of the career coaching space that we work in, and told me how he had been working with a chap going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation.  This man had always wanted to be an artist and when he mentioned this to John, John felt moved to pass on his bookmark to this man as an encouragement to pursue his dream.  The man was most grateful for this small gift and John’s kind gesture in giving it to him.  John sensed this was an important moment in this man’s path to a new life.  I had forgotten about this story until John reminded me.  I now make sure that John gets two bookmarks in case he finds another soul in need of encouragement in his journey.

Books I’m reading…and sources of inspiration

As an artist and an avid reader, I am always on the look out for sources of inspiration and great reference books.  If I am not painting, and I usually find at night the lighting is just not right for me, then I am studying and learning from others who are further down the artist track. 

So just looking at the pile I am dipping into at the moment, I have Valerie Winslow’s “Classic Human Anatomy, The artist’s guide to form, function and movement”, a great anatomy guide with brilliant drawings in it.  I am also enjoying reading Betty Churcher’s “Notebooks”, her inspiring story and cannot imagine how I would cope if I were to lose my eyesight and not be able to paint.  And my latest delight is Richard Schmid’s book “Alla Prima, Everything I know about painting” which was recently recommended to me and arrived at my door yesterday.  Such an inspiration.  Our house is one full of books…and paintings…and too many to mention them all however some of my all time favourites, ones I keep returning to for their beauty and inspiration, are  both Juliette Aristides books “Classical Drawing Atelier” and “Classical Painting Atelier” and Suzanne Brooker’s “Portrait Painting Atelier”.  No Kindle could ever take the place of holding these beautiful books in my hands, how they have been put together and to feel the weight of their substance.