Sunday, February 25, 2007


This was my entry for The Archibald Prize. I struggled with painting a more traditional portrait of myself ie: my face. Everything I did just was not capturing what I 'see' in myself. I could have given up but it became a quest.

One day when I was on an early morning walk dressed in gym gear, hat and sunglasses someone I knew called out to me. However, they were behind me. They had recognised me by my long plait hanging down my back. This was not the first time this had happened. In fact, many people do not recognise me from my front when I am walking and I often have to say, 'It's Kathryn' when I say hello! So, this got me thinking about identity. And certainly my hair has been a defining factor in my life.

I started to think about a 'portrait' of myself from my back. However, I wanted to paint something which went beyond physical identity. My inspiration for the heart came one day when I was driving my youngest daughter to one of her many extra-curricular activities. We were alone in the car and miraculously there was silence. I had my thoughts to myself when suddenly my daughter said, 'Mummy, why do you look sad?' I was totally unaware that my thoughts were showing on my face. My daughter's observation was not the first of its kind as over the years all three children have asked similar questions. Each time I have been totally unaware of my face changing with my thoughts. I hasten to add that sometimes my children's queries are about why I look happy too!

This made me think about those people who know me really well. It is not just my facial features which they see. They also see my heart. They identify the subtle nuances which others may not sense.

So, my 'Self Portrait' shows my most defining and affective physical element and my heart.

I painted this image while my children were away over the Christmas holidays. When I had finished it I put it somewhere where I could see it with 'new' eyes each morning. I do this with all my work to make sure I am happy with the painting once I am no longer involved with creating it. When my children came home they all immediately commented on the painting 'of you Mummy.' To them I was instantly recognisable.

Anyway, along with many other artists I did not get shortlisted for the Archibald. Next time!

Friday, February 23, 2007


My digital camera is playing up. It either blurs the focus or now it will not let me see the photos I have taken and download them. It needs a service I think. Another thing to do.

But aside from jobs to do there has been plenty happening that has made me feel content. I read a great article in the Australian Financial Review Magazine today. It was about the CEO of ANZ, John McFarlane. What an incredibly interesting man. He openly discusses his spirituality and his quest for further understanding, his faith and his joy of life. Let's clone him I say! And to top it all off under his leadership ANZ has become one of the world's leading banks. It has won an International Spirit at Work Award. I did not know these kinds of awards existed. But, how wonderful that they do.

It seems there is a growing observation of Spirit at work and present in our lives. Not just the kind found in religious denominations, but in everyday life, living and thinking. I see it in many levels. I am curious that religious beliefs and activity have become something politicians will allow the media to report. I read an interesting article about Hilary Clinton's religious experience recently while I was waiting for my daughter at the Physio. Other politicians, including Australian ones, allow the media a photo opportunities as they exit or enter church. I wonder.

Substance gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed

Saturday, February 17, 2007


When I paint I have a concept of what I want to paint. However, prior to creating the detail I really enjoy treating the surface of the paper with colour which ultimately becomes the underpainting or background. With works on paper I normally let the paint do its own thing, running and pooling. Sometimes I blu-tac the paper to the wall and let the paint and gravity do their gradual work. I sometimes help the process by spraying more water onto the paper. In many cases I then let another layer of paint do its own thing over the first dried colour. Once this has dried I then paint the details which fulfill my conceptual desires. I really like the way multiple layers give a textual feeling to the images. I'm not always sure exactly how the image will end up, but I am happy if the image reflects my initial concepts. I'm not sure what guides my hand, but I am very sure that I am happy with the process.

Substance Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed

Saturday, February 03, 2007


It is over a week since I posted something on my Blog. The reason is that my computer has been away at the fixit shop for five days. I have been lost without it! I did become aware of just how much time I spend on the computer though...too much!

I have been working on a series of works on paper for my exhibition in October at Doggett Street Gallery, Brisbane. I plan to divide the space under separate headings but with one umbrella idea. At the moment I am inspired by the concept of substance ie: that which is 'out there' for us to understand yet not necessarily see with our eyes...only with our faith and imagination. Faith is something which we must embrace to combat the doomsday tidings which plaster our newspapers. This does not mean we need to bury our heads in the sand and ignore issues. It means we feel/know we can do something about the world's problems...that as a human race we have the capacity to solve, invent and flourish.

Substance gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed