There’s an abundance of life and energy in Australian nature. This has been one of the few consistencies throughout my life.
Each of my works is inspired by a brief encounter with nature in Australia. By painting what I see and feel, I pursue beauty, explore deep emotions and make connections between the heart and mind inside me, and the changing world around me.
I started life in Albury, Australia, in the 1980s. I lived my first nine years in a quiet, green neighbourhood between a colonial-era cemetery and a cement storm water channel. I would explore the neighbourhood looking for tadpoles in the drain water, collecting cicada shells from the gum trees, and picking mushrooms from the bases of the old gravestones.
On weekends my parents, two siblings and I would pile into the car for day trips into regional New South Wales and Victoria. During these years, I spent a lot of time on long bush walks, in picnic areas on riverbanks and daydreaming as I stared out the car window at passing countryside. Although I didn’t realise it then, it was quiet life where I had plenty of time to observe and absorb the habits and behaviours of Australian nature while dreaming and imagining of my future life.
During the next five years my family would move to Wollongong, back to Albury, and then to Inverell and Goulburn. Although leaving friends and starting new schools was difficult, I was always around gumtrees, rivers and birds, and the weekend road trips continued, so these were reliable constants during times of personal change, especially when I was alone because I had left old friends but not yet made new ones.
At fourteen I moved to Canberra where I stumbled through my teenage years. In the 90s Canberra was a city that was happy to live within nature, not conquer it. It was where you could ride your bicycle for twenty minutes to be surrounded by forest or to stand at a lake’s edge. There was an abundance of open space and it was common to see kangaroos and other wildlife in the suburbs. So even though this was a faster period of my life, Australian nature was always there grounding me, even if I wasn’t paying close attention to it.
When my 13 years of schooling came to an end I still had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, but I had identified an urge to be creative and an intense fear of spending my life working jobs I didn’t enjoy. These were my motivations for studying creative writing and communications at University of Canberra.
After graduation I was in the mood for adventure so I packed up and headed to Melbourne. At the time I had thought I had discovered all my strengths and weaknesses as a creative while at university, but I was soon exposed to a more intuitive form of expression in visual art and design. I began creating visual art at age 29 and this launched a new and exciting period of growth, that would lead to me spending thousands of hours building up my skills, trying different styles and mediums, and eventually exhibiting in public spaces.
I have changed a lot of the years, but one thing has remained consistent and that is a longing to be with nature. I still enjoy losing my thoughts while walking in a forest, spotting birds up in the canopy, and hopping between rockpools while I look for crabs, just like I did when I was seven years old. A part of this habit is about looking for danger (snakes and spiders are everywhere) but more often about spotting things of interest that delight me, such as wombat burrows, blooming gumnuts and hidden animals.
Now I capture and share the natural beauty I find through paintings and this brings me closer to understanding my life, existence and purpose.
See my CV of exhibitions and activities.