Tag Archives: family

Artist at play…another puppy



I couldn’t resist some further play, when a friend of mine, Jo, recently showed me some photos of her latest addition to her family.  Very cute.  Another puppy… “Jet”.
As an animal lover, pets are so important in a family.   While we lost our beautiful dog, Lucy, just over a year ago, we still have a cat, a rabbit and two chooks.  Our life is richer for their presence and so it is a joy for me to do portraits of these loved ones as well!
Playing with the charcoal, pastels, the watercolours and the coloured paper is also all a bit of fun!
To see more portrait drawings, click here.

Playing with pencils…Christmas pastime


Laura, pencil on paper
Laura, pencil on paper, 21 cm x 22 cm

While away visiting family at Mullumbimby for Christmas, I decided to leave my easel, paints and boards at home and instead just took my notebook and pencils with me. 

With the weather so unpredictable, I really enjoyed my Christmas pastime and took the opportunity to sharpen my drawing skills.  Working from photos, it was lovely to meditate on the process and watch grandmother and granddaughter emerge from the page.



Joan, pencil on paper

Joan, pencil on paper, 21 cm x 21 cm

To see more portraits, follow this link.

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,



What a difference…

What a difference a day makes… and painting.  After my last entry, I knew that I needed to allocate some time to do some oil painting so I made sure the next day I had at least an hour to do so.  It was Sunday.  Thinking about it now, some people go to church, I went to painting.  And my spirits were uplifted.  They still are. 

Further windows of opportunity have opened since Sunday and I have grabbed them, gladly.  There was a time when I felt I needed to set aside whole blocks of time to paint, or at least I thought I did.  However now I can be satisfied with an hour here and there and rather than waiting for that chunk of time, I take the snippet and get on with it.   If I waited for the “right moment”, that “right chunk of time”, I might be waiting and in the meantime I miss the painting.  And even if I am not feeling so inspired, I now know that once I begin, I will soon be into it.

It helps that my paints are always ready and my studio and painting area is part of our family area.  It is all in front of me, waiting.  My family live with my paintings in the process.  It has its advantages and disadvantages, always a critic around and yet I get the chance to sit back and see my work, to see what is working and what needs adjusting. 

And in these last few days I have been happy to return to a project I started some time ago, something for a dear friend.  While I had completed the background, the foreground still needed to be worked.  I find it also helps me if I have a couple of projects on the go simultaneously, and I can avoid the void between!