Sunday, October 29, 2006


I decided to paint something without any thought of idea, concept or significance. I decided to experiment because I've noticed that attention currently seems to be given to art which is about the everyday, the ordinary and the mundane. Eg: images of animals, cars, everyday objects and almost cartoon-like spoofs on fashion etc and even some depicting war but in an obvious way. I've thought that maybe it is a reaction to the exhausting images of destruction, death and war which we all see daily in the media. The sense of powerlessness the ordinary person feels in the face of such enormous suffering and danger is palpable. Maybe a focus on the ordinary, everyday and the cartoonish reassures people that life is ok?

My work tends to be symbolic and layered. I get the impression some people find it difficult to understand or they feel anxious about it. I always say that each person can bring their own story...and people do. Those who have bought my paintings tell me they see something new every time they look. This is music to my ears. Many of these people have returned to buy more paintings. I love this too!

So, to Woman With Long Hair. Whilst I was painting I realised the woman was probably me. I have a long plait which falls down my back. My hair is extrordinarily frizzy. It drives me nuts and has always driven me nuts. Doing my hair before school used to take ages. I was always late for the school bus [I lived on a farm]. I remember my Mother chasing the bus in the car or me running carrying my heavy school bag with the big high school boys yelling out the bus windows, "Come on Titless!". And even at the age of 11 I was not titless....!!!! Of course that's why the boys teased me. I was 180 cm tall at 10 and well developed. So trying to run carrying a heavy bag in one hand and covering my chest with the other arm was extremely awkward. I'm sure I looked like an Amazonian goose.

Now to the present-In the morning I wake up and look into the mirror only to see Marge Simpson [Homer's long suffering wife]. Yep, my hair stands up on end and just won't fall flat. That's why I wear it in a least it is controlled. My hairdresser told me that as hair goes grey it gets even more wirey. This totally freaked me out, but over the last couple of years her words have come true. My 46 year old hair is going grey and Marge Simpson peers back at me from my mirror on a daily basis. Thank goodness there is no Homer character to complete the picture!

I go to the hairdresser about once every 12-18 months to get a trim...and get talked into various very expensive treatments which offer promises of silken hair. It never happens or if it does it lasts until the first wash. I visit the hairdresser when I cannot get my arms back far enough to finish my plait and I start to have chronic lower back aches because I'm bending backwards. This hair thing is a major health and identity issue in my life! I envy women who confidently visit the hairdresser regularly and seem to enjoy it!!!!!

Now that I have written all of this about my hair I think maybe it is quite funny....but it is also mundane and very ordinary. However, there maybe some seeds for another extraordinary ordinary one!

Woman With Long Hair and other paintings by me and other artists will be shown at the Doggett Street Gallery Christmas Exhibition on the night of Friday 15th December. 85 Doggett Street, Newstead, Brisbane. All the paintings in the exhibition will be 30 x 30 cm.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Shared History will be exhibited in Dubai at the group Australian exhibition 'A Gift Of Colour', Mondo Arte Gallery, Mall of the Emirates [Yep, where the indoor ski slope is!], Dubai. The Australian Ambassador, Mr. Jeremy Bruer will open the exhibition on 8th November. This painting was inspired by a conversation I had with an Arab woman in Abu Dhabi last year. We were talking about one of my paintngs in my exhibition at the Cultural Foundation. This painting was called Histories. We spoke for about half an hour about how wonderful it would be if the world focused on the similarites between people rather than the differences. It got me thinking about the concept of shared history. I had many similar conversations with other visitors to my exhibition. These people came from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe with some from Australia and the UK.

Well, the $10,000 Redland Art Award was announced last night. 52 paintings were hung out of 380 submitted. So, whilst I did not win I am delighted to be amongst the shortlisted. The Redland Art Gallery is a regional gallery overseen by the local Shire Council. Redland is only about 45 minutes drive south east from Brisbane.

Art prizes are an  'interesting' phenomena...that's all I'll say now! Some artists avoid them and I can understand why. However, it is a thrill to be shortlisted. For anyone reading this that does not understand the process; basically artists are asked to submit a digital image of the work they want to enter plus entry fee and sometimes other documents such as a cv. Someone preselects from the images and those chosen artists are asked to send the actual painting to the competition. All artists who enter pay the entry fee which is not refundable if an artist is not selected. There are still some competitions where artists send the actual work to the venue prior to selection. A preselection process may still [and more often than not] takes place. In this scenario the artist pays for the entry fee and the freight to and from the venue. This latter scenario is more expensive for the artist, but sometimes a photo can make a good painting look bad and a bad painting look good! Some art prizes are acquisitive which means the winning work becomes the property of the gallery or whatever.

Shared History Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Unlimited is a painting which I have fallen in love with. I painted it after one of my visits to the United Arab Emirates. It has also brought me luck as it has been shortlisted for the Redland Art Award which is announced tomorrow night. Unlimited is exactly as the word means...anything is possible! There are a number of layers of paint on this large canvas. I dilute the paint to a watery consistencly with turps and linseed oil and then let the paint do its own thing. Each layer is treated this way until I am happy and then I use a small brush to make marks.

I have had an enormously busy week since I last posted, meetings, meetings and more meetings. My exhibition Pulse is still on and I believe lots of people have been to see it. It closes on November 4. I am very happy with the way the exhibition looks. And, it is countdown to the opening of the group Australian exhibition A Gift Of Colour at Mondo Arte Gallery in Dubai. It will be opened by the Australian Ambassador on Wednesday 8 November. I have already had some media coverage and another publication express an interest in doing a feature. Getting media coverage is SO much easier in the Middle East than here in Australia. In Dubai they love cultural news.

Unlimited Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Today I was on a panel to discuss arts export. There is so much to say. The Federal Government is pushing for increased exports to assist with our national trade deficit. Cultural industries export is growing very quickly. Whilst there is assistance for the exporter in terms of advice, introduction to markets etc it is an activity which needs immense tenacity, confidence and a definite business approach because it is very expensive. However, there are rewards which include financial gain [or some recovery of costs] and incredible experiences.

I was asked today if my experiences overseas [mainly the Middle East] had affected my artistic expression. I have to say yes. What has affected me is the insight into the dreams, fears and hopes of ordinary people from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. The complete desire for a world of peace where similarities between people are rejoiced has imbued me with a sense of wonder, possibility and abundance. I have thought about those elements of life which we all share eg: heart beat, breath. I have thought about those things we apply to ourselves such as culture and religion which cause differences and unfortunatley often lead to conflict. However, culture and religion are signs of a basic urge which we all share. It is the urge for identity. Peel back those elements which we apply to ourselves and the basic urges are the same.

As an artist...where am I. I read some blogs by younger artists and I am overwhelmed by their confidence in revealing so much of themselves. I think they may regret it when they are older, but is this the maternal instinct to protect coming out? However, the art world is seduced by revelation, defiance and edginess and good luck to them. All I can say is that as one gets older there is plenty of interesting history! I'll keep mine to myself and let my art do the 'talking'.

History Oil on linen 60 x 93 cm 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Went to book club last night. I have a great book club. We do talk about books [a little!] and then we talk about a whole range of other topics. And because we are a group of 5 women with a lot of life experiences we talk about everything. Last night I showed the group Andrew McGahan's new satirical... thriller.... book...'Underground'. When I read it I could not put it down. It is like reading a cartoon where the picture in your head moves fast and furiously, and the characters are unreal playing actor-like roles. The book is a future which seems bizarre, but the scary thing is that after September 11 we all know fact is stranger than fiction.
I really recommend the book.

The photo above is one wall from my exhibition 'Pulse: Throb Vibrate Quiver Thrill Rhythm = Sign of Life @ Got my picture in the Weekend Courier Mail kids were SO embarrassed, but I think secretly they were quite happy, especially when other kids commented at school.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Shared Vibrations- Everything vibrates with an energy. We all share this planet and thus are affected by the Earth’s vibrations and those of every other person who is living or has lived. To me individual and collective memories have a vibration. Thoughts and actions have a vibration. Difference has no power of discrimination or judgement when the common elements/forces of life are observed, because it does not exist. Seems a shame when it is the differences which we apply to ourselves [culture, religion, class] which can cause major conflict.

This painting is simultaneously a vast image of universal sharing and a glimpse at what the minutae of life may look like under close examination.

My exhibition Pulse: Throb Vibrate Quiver Thrill Rhythm = Sign of Life opened last night. Very exciting. The exhibition continues until November 4

Thursday, October 12, 2006


My mother Elsie Brimblecombe and my grandmother [my two brothers and I called her Grand-ma-ma] Enid Ross, self-published a book of poems called “Out There” in 1986. My grandmother who was 87 at the time had had her first poems published, in newspapers and magazines, during her teens when she lived in Perth, Western Australia. My mother is a talented writer of both poetry, prose and history. Both are/were too humble to push for due attention.

‘Out There’ is Heaven: ‘life’ before and after mortal existence. Totally Out There [above] is a painting that 'speaks' of life's journey.

In her poem, my grandmother mentions ‘original laws…that devised creation.’ To me these are those fundamental and noticeable [but taken for granted] rhythms of life which everyone shares eg: heart beat, breath, seasons, tides, cycles of life.

Totally Out There Oil on linen 160 x 120 cm will be exhibited in my solo exhibition Pulse: Throb Vibrate Quiver Thrill Rhythm = Sign of Life opening tonight [Friday Oct 13] at Doggett Street Studio Gallery, 6-9 pm, 85 Doggett St, Newstead, Brisbane
This is my grandmother’s poem:

Out There
By D.E Ross
I do not cringe before the opening door
to Outside,
but brace muscle and mind
to meet
the open horizon
its fresher winds
the brighter light
undreamed of in the chrysalis:
each cloud a carriage
each breeze a wing
each star a stepping stone
beyond Time
-before and after-
toward the secret
of its source
and mine.

There are no boundaries
Out There
but the original laws
that devised
neither north nor south
or east and west,
or here and there
No tides,
but streams of power forever flowing.
Time is not negotiated
wasted or lost:
an hour rates high in our accounting here:
yet a thousand years
could be held as a breath on the wind
Out There.

There is no waste in God’s economy.
New solar systems
gather grace in space
[along with waste
from our allotted span of influence].
In God’s eternal meld
of warp and woof,
of foul and fair,
we have each one of us a share
in a new heaven and a new earth
aiming for birth
Out There

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Can You See ?

A week to go until the opening of my exhibition Pulse: Throb Vibrate Quiver Thrill Rhythm = Sign of Life. An exhibition is an artist's window of opportunity to show the world what they do. There is such a build up beforehand...for the artist [normally it is just another show for the gallery!] and then its over. But it is a buzz. I've taken the paintings to the gallery and I am happy with even how they look leaning up against the walls. There has been some media coverage too which is great.

My children are back home for the rest of the school holidays. The youngest turns 9 tomorrow and we are having a birthday party. Needless to say painting when 3 children are home on holidays is very difficult. Late nights bring peace and time. I am visualising a day when I have a cook, book-keeper, someone to help keep the house clean...every day [bliss], a gardener [I have just mowed the lawn now] and a pool man. My next pool job is to dive below the water to putty up some cracks...I only go swimming when there is something to fix it seems! I have discovered trying to use a screw driver under water is very, very difficult.

Can You See? 120 x 180 cm Oil on linen. I painted this in 2005 and have grown to love it more and more. Whilst it is simple there is so much to 'see'. The title is a play on the statement about how people often look but don't see. Like a heat haze/mirage things are not as they may initially appear to be.