Sunday, March 30, 2014


Together And Apart Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2005
Today I sold Together And Apart [above]. It will have a new home in the USA!
Needless to say I am very happy, particularly because it was an out-of-the blue sale. And, because I had such a lovely time with the buyer and his friend...a mutual friend actually.
I had the opportunity to bring out works on paper that have not seen the light of day for quite some time. And, this is always a slightly unusual experience. Why? Because I see them with new eyes...I see them from the perspective of my current work. But, so often the clues to my current work are clearly visible in the older paintings. 
So I thought I'd upload a couple of the other works on paper we looked at today. They have been lying in my map drawers or stacked behind other paintings for a few years.
                           Alternate Universe Gouache on paper30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2005

I had forgotten about Alternate Universe but I was very pleased to be reminded of it today, especially considering my interest in cosmology. The seeds were obviously there nearly 10 years ago. Please check out my COSMOLOGY page.

Rain Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [Unframed] 2011
And Rain...I was happy that my buyer of Together And Apart liked Rain too. When I painted it a few years ago, I remember being at peace with it, because it sort of finished itself. I was really pleased to have had the opportunity to bring it out from its dark home in my map drawers.  
My next post will also have images of paintings that have been in the darkness of my map drawers for awhile. So, keep posted!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Shared Landscape Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2014
Recent cosmological discoveries such as the signature of gravitational waves generated in the nanoseconds after the Big Bang tell me one thing...we are all in this together. We share the Universe, if not the Multiverse! We are star dust just like everything else. I have previously written that this makes me feel very grateful and comfortable. Why? Because upon death we don't just disappear to nothing...we return to dust.

Please check out my previous post, which is actually a small online exhibition,  COSMOLOGY, BIG BANG AND THE MULTIVERSE for more!
I read an interesting article this morning, Neil deGrasse Tyson on Your Ego and the Cosmic Perspective by Maria Popova on Maria's great site called Brain Pickings. Neil de Grasse, an astrophysicist and 'cosmic sage' explains that for some people the enormity of a cosmic perspective strikes fear, whereas others feel a sense of awe that embraces rather than alienates them. Ego seems to have a bearing on how one might view the vastly expanding knowledge of our Universal/Multiversal environment. Those with an inflated ego may feel depressed, as if diminished. This is what de Grasse says,
So those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I’m small, but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me.

Cosmic perspective is something regular readers know is dear to my heart. It's a way of viewing our planet, our Universal/Multiversal environment and ourselves differently [this may help issues of ego!]. But it is more complex than that, because a cosmic perspective, for me at least, is the ability to see multi-perspectives [literal and metaphoric], possibly even simultaneously. In a era where cosmology is revealing more and more about the close and far distances of our Universe/Multiverse I suggest that it is really important to practise seeing multi perspectives. But first we have to look up from our iPhones and computers! Maybe we need to be like a bug that can see all around itself at once....imagine where we might see new questions...and new answers never dreamed of!

SHARED LANDSCAPE: Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm
My new painting Shared Landscape plays with the ideas of...landscape and perspective. As regular readers know I am keen to untether concepts of landscape from Earth-bound horizons, because whilst Earth maybe our home, the Universe [which maybe a Multiverse] is our environment.

The landscape genre is as old as painting itself. It has helped orientate people to the land and their immediate environments. It has helped generate identity, a sense of belonging; visually describing pain of separation, concern and awe. Depictions of landscape, traditional and contemporary, can elicit a plethora of feelings, emotions, memories and intellectual curiosity. But, I suggest we need to think about how cosmology is inviting, if not demanding, us to engage with broader concepts of landscape. Landscape can help us connect to our cosmic environment, just as it helped connect people over eons to their known environments.

So, to my painting. The background is an indeterminate sky, land and/or sea...somewhere. The three planet-like shapes hover above this indeterminate 'landscape', yet they also reveal it. The planets' own landscapes promise potential land and water areas. The direction of light from the right, suggests a star/sun, thus day and night, potential seasons...time. Yet, the planetary landscapes are not complete...without acknowledging their broader environment...the one beyond their planetary horizons. This is why I have painted the planets as if incomplete. This incompleteness disrupts near-sighted horizons forcing a line of view beyond, into and around...multi-perspectives all at once, demanding our attention, our connection. A cosmic landscape!

So, like de Grasse says, So those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. 

And, to my recent painting and post: Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective
Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective Oil on linen 91 x 137 cm 2014
My painting Super Earths Discovered is a finalist in the award.
The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been selected to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post
The exhibition continues until April 13.
Super Earths Discovered Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where? Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2013
In the last couple of days big news has hit the media. Big news about the BIG BANG! Scientists have detected evidence of the signature of gravitational waves generated in the nano-seconds after the BIG BANG. These waves support the theory of cosmological inflation. They also give strength to the theory that we do not exist in a Universe, but a Multiverse!
Here are a couple of articles about this momentous discovery for you to read:
And here's a link to a video showing the reaction of the physicist Andrei Linde, who first came up with the theory of the inflationary Universe, when he was told that recent data and observation confirmed his theory as likely. Physicist Rejoices As He Learns His Big Bang Theory Is Correct
In light of this recent announcement I thought I'd 'curate' an online exhibition of some of my paintings that have been inspired by cosmology, the BIG BANG and particularly ideas of a Multiverse:
I first uploaded  Where? [above] in a post titled Looking In The Rear Vision Mirror - Cosmically Speaking In this post I wrote about the rear vision mirror metaphorically as, 'The rear vision mirror presents us with the fascinating potential for keeping an eye on the past, as we live in the present and look to the future.' I also wrote,  'Where? implies a question about a physical position, but it can also ask about a position in time. The image could be the birth of the Universe, as if seen in a rear vision mirror, which is kind of what happens when cosmologists and astronomers examine images of newly discovered cosmic entities. Light reaching us now started its journey eons ago; the past licks at our heels, and sends light and shadows into the future. But, if we don't look out the windows or look into the rear vision mirror we might miss the light and be caught in the shadows.'
The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multidimensional Horizon [above] was inspired by many things but also Australian author Tim Winton's marvellous speech at the Royal Academy in London, November 2013. In my previous post about this painting I wrote, 'So...yes...perspective invites us to also consider horizons, both literal and metaphoric. Indeed, contemporary cosmological research is pushing our horizons in all directions. For example, the Universe maybe a that's a huge shift in horizon don't you think!'
After the release of the discovery of the signature for gravitational waves generated at the BIG BANG I'd say horizons have dramatically shifted. In fact, are there any really?
Dizzying Perspective Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2014
In my earlier post for Dizzying Perspective [above] I wrote, 'Dizzying Perspective is similar to an earlier painting which I called Where? This painting asks questions too, indeed its title is a question. It asks about time and space. Both paintings, I sense, move beyond their physical limits of size ie: 50 x 50 cm. There is something quite satisfying about painting an image of Universal vastness on a 50 x 50 cm canvas! A bit like the size differential of Dr. Who's marvellous Tardis.'
Surrendering Horizon Oil on linen 100 x 150 cm 2014

In Surrendering Horizon I have...surrendered the horizon! What does this mean? In my earlier post for Surrendering Horizon I wrote, 'In Surrendering Horizon I have 'torn' the horizon line away from the landscape. It now seems to draw the landscape towards new perspectives, as it enjoys relinquishing its tethered state. It almost playfully entices the landscape to reach out, and in this process, lifts its 'eyes' towards Universal [possibly even Multiversal] distance.'
Multiverse Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2011

Now to my painting actually called Multiverse. I was so inspired by the idea of a Multiverse, that I had to paint the image that sprang into my head. I first read about the idea in Astrophysicist/Royal Astronomer Lord Martin Rees's fascinating book Just Six Numbers. I wrote this in my earlier post, 'The image that sprang to my mind is a tree with small portal-like 'windows' or 'eyes' dotted amongst the branches, each created by a kind of swirling or vortex action. These portals are more obvious from a distance, because they interrupt the pattern of the tree. Up close, they are still visible, but the interruption to the pattern is not as obvious. I suppose it is a bit like seeing a peacock proudly unfold its plumage, compared with looking at only one feather. The magnificence of the fanned plumage is breathtaking and patterns are discernible, yet one feather, still beautiful, only whispers.'

And here's a link to another Multiverse post called Multiverse Possibilities
The Beginning of Everything Oil on linen 90 x 180cm 2010
And, now to EVERYTHING! Yes, EVERYTHING. My painting The Beginning of Everything certainly took some persistence to paint, as you can see from the detailed line work. In my earlier post I wrote, 'I had this idea that I wanted to paint an mage which 'spoke' about the beginning, those nano seconds after the Big Bang. What would the 'landscape' be like? I wanted to paint an image which gave an impression of those nano instances, but also the presence of whatever it is/was that set it ALL in motion.'
I think The Beginning of Everything is a multifaceted painting! It gives an impression of expansion, inflation...waves even! I am very fond of this painting. to a Landscape Of Everything
Landscape of Everything Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
In Landscape of Everything I imagined lots of things...well one could suggest 'everything'...including that the coloured balls are each a Universe! So the painting is another inspired by ideas of a Multiverse.
Other Worlds Ahoy! Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013
In my previous post I wrote, 'Other Worlds, Ahoy! also continues my thoughts on untethering notions of landscape from being Earth-bound. In an age where cosmological research is discovering more and more about the close and far distances of the Universe, even suggesting a Multiverse, I believe we have a great opportunity to re-interpret 'landscape' with new perspectives. And...that this may provide new insights for all kinds of sustainability and even new ways of being.

With Other Worlds, Ahoy! a dominant landscape provides an horizon, yet is the viewer in this landscape or hovering above it? Is it Earth? Other planets...even Universes...worlds...hover too. Is the viewer on another of these? Or is the viewer in some kind of spacecraft madly negotiating a safe pathway to another Earth-like planet, a new 'home'? '
I am not a scientist and I am not a science illustrator. However, I am very interested in harnessing science in a way that communicates awe, wonder and imagination. I attempt to link this within an art historical framework eg: discussing notions of landscape.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective Oil on linen 91 x 137 cm 2014
If the entire history of the Universe were rescaled to one year, humans wouldn’t appear until 14 seconds before midnight on December 31. Big History Project
This certainly puts things into perspective!
Regular readers will know I have written about the Big History Project before. It is an education program designed to stretch our understanding of the Universe and humanity's place within it. Such a broad perspective lifts our gaze so that we see all the close and far distances of the micro and macro. My previous posts are Time Travelling  and Complexity
Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective
In this new painting I have imagined life, represented by the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, taking a journey. It weaves its way into Space, travelling around a planet before seemingly turning back to reflect upon where it has come from. The tree is firmly grounded on a Mother planet. Will it release itself once it knows more about itself and the 'environment' it has explored? Will it return with new knowledge, insight and wisdom? Is the Mother planet Earth? Or is the green planet Earth? Maybe neither is Earth? Maybe both are Earth? One representing a denuded landscape, a result of an apocalyptic event and the other Earth's past fertile glory. There are many alternative interpretations. Just the way I like it! Playing with perspective!
So, as you imagine life taking a cosmic perspective what do you see?
My reactions to imagining a cosmic perspective are a mixture of comfort, frustration and hope. Comfort that I am part of something much bigger than me and that one day I will return to its source. Frustration that contemporary society seems to be developing habitual responsiveness to the short distance between computer or phone, thus very often missing the opportunity to appreciate a broader perspective on issues. The short distance between a person and a phone, according to an optometrist I spoke with, is causing myopia at younger ages. As a metaphor for myopic understanding its pretty frightening! But, I am hopeful too. Hopeful that contemporary cosmology, the study of the close and far spatial and temporal distances of the Universe [maybe even Multiverse], will catapult perspective, in its multiplicity of dimensions, into everyday thinking and experience. It is far too fascinating and inviting to not look up, out and beyond our phones. Crossing fingers!
The tree in Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective not only explores new perspectives of its original environment and its wider Universal environment, but in turning back on itself it also sees itself differently...or maybe its the first time it has reflected upon itself? Perspective is not just about seeing our world and our universal environment differently, but also ourselves.
Regular readers will know of my fascination with the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol. I believe age-old symbols hold truths that are meaningful across ages. The tree's symbolism of life transcends time. I attempt to unleash the tree-of-life from traditional visual interpretations to extract and reveal meaning that is relevant in the 21st century. I see the tree's branches as representative of systems of all kinds both natural and human-made...but all promoting and sustaining life....revelling in the awe...shifting our perspective...dancing across the Universe. The tree helps me create what I call cosmic landscapes...acknowledging that concepts of landscape need to be untethered from Earth-bound help shift our horizons and add to our understanding of perspective.
The tree is both a conduit and a connector, to past and future history, to our Earth and to the energy forces of the Universe. As a symbol of the urge for life it goes way beyond the 14 seconds before midnight on December 31.
Detail of Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective - Work in process
My painting Super Earths Discovered is a finalist in the award.
The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been chosen to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post

Tuesday, March 04, 2014



In 2001 I became a University of Queensland student again. I had been given an opportunity to undertake a PhD in Art History. The Art History Dept had put together a bridging program for me. This included an Honours subject 'Aesthetics For Art Historians- Theory And Practice In Art History'. Yep, hefty title!

I completed the bridging program and did very well too I might add. But, I decided I wanted to keep painting. It had become very clear to me that trying to juggle being a single Mum with three very active children under 8, studying with an aim to claim top marks and keep a painting practice alive, was not going to work. So, rather than giving up my painting, I decided to not continue with the PhD enrolment.

One of the assessments for the honours subject was a 3,000 word essay on 'The Blank Canvas'. Essentially we were to examine Belgian scholar Thierry De Duve's essay/chapter 'The Monochrome and The blank Canvas' in his book 'Kant After Duchamp' with reference to an exhibition which was hanging at the University's Art Museum. This exhibition called 'Monochrome' was curated by Brisbane based curator David Pestorius.

Apart from the academic and theoretical aspects of the essay, as an artist I really enjoyed thinking about the blank canvas. This enjoyment has stayed with me. Why? Because the academic and theoretical route made me aware of my enjoyment, which is both intellectual and emotional! Some might say that this awareness may stymie spontaneity, but when you paint consistently, it becomes part of a creative tool kit that extends concepts of medium. It also introduces the idea that each blank canvas is a repetition of every blank canvas and each artist's experience with it. This couches me within an Art History which is about the artist's experience.


Yesterday, I had a delivery of some new stretched linen canvases. I have taken a photograph of them [above]. From the moment I order them I am thinking about them, imagining their size and how they might 'speak' to me. I look forward to their arrival. These new ones will sit around my studio, in various places, over the next days and weeks. I am currently working on a painting, so will not get to put paint on the new stretchers for awhile. Yet, as I stand and sit at, and walk back and forth from,  my easel I see the 'blank canvases' and my imagination 'paints' images on them...actually each one has many images over its life being deceptively 'blank'.

Ah are the canvases ever really 'blank'? Is there really an answer to that question?

By the time I do put brush to linen a canvas has had many incarnations...many imagined paintings. In a way, the imagined images inspire the one which is ultimately manifested...they exist within the layers of memory.

And...can I tell you...that first brush stroke! Making it is like a play between life and death. The anticipation is both exciting and forbidding. The beauty of the pristine and taut whiteness is quite seductive. So making a mark upon it is touched with an exhilarating melancholy. I know, sounds weird, but it's hard to put into words.

 Detail of painting I am currently working on...yep another cosmic one!


As regular readers know I paint in layers. Firstly one colour which is tempered with splashes of turps with the canvas either lying flat or standing upright. The splashes of turps cause dripping or pooling which reveals the whiteness of the canvas beneath the colour, yet not entirely. The whiteness is veiled. Then there is a second layer, treated in a similar fashion to the first. Randomness and accident, deliberately introduced, have fun with the canvas. Once dry, I paint with more precision, using smaller brushes, finer lines and more. Ultimately the blankness and whiteness of the canvas is seemingly annihilated. Yet, we know what lies underneath. It never truly departs. It's own history and that of every blank canvas lives on.

Some artists leave areas of white or blank canvas, working the visual effect into the context of the painting. I really admire this technique, but it's something I don't do. I've tried, but it does not feel right for me. And, I am not into mimicry.


I remember seeing Monet paintings, in the flesh, for the first time. I was surprised because often, between his brush strokes the viewer can glimpse the 'blank' canvas. My Art History, up until my late teens/early twenties, came from books with photographs of important artists' paintings. And, photographs of paintings flatten images subduing aliveness, giving a strange impression of perfection. So, it was with some astonishment that I noticed glimpses of raw or white canvas between brushstrokes, not only in Monet's work, but also artists like Constable and others. In the flesh, they are so much more alive than in a photograph...I do say to people that a good painting will never look as good as it really is in a photograph, but a bad painting will, more often than not, look much better than it is! Now, that's another subject entirely!

Me standing in front of a Monet 'Water Lilly' painting when I was working as a Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1981.


I went to Stanthorpe on Friday for the opening and announcement of the $20,000 Art Award. Stanthorpe is a 3 hour drive south-west of Brisbane. I stayed the night with a school friend who I had not seen for ages.

The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been chosen to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post

And here's a photo of me with my painting 'Super Earths Discovered'