Friday, October 31, 2014


 Newly prepared canvases [linen] This is the first stage.

 Newly prepared canvases [linen] and some pristine blank canvases
Newly prepared canvases [linen] and some blank canvases
This week I went to the fantastic musical, The Lion King at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre [QPAC]. The singing, staging, costumes, puppetry, the was all just fabulous, like many performances I've been to at QPAC.
Watching The Lion King I felt a great sense of awe for human endeavour and creativity. Whilst the performance seemed flawless to me, it probably was not...each performance will bring its own set of issues and surprises for the performers and support crew...and that's what makes creativity, exhibition and performance so exhilarating. It's professional practice to deal with surprises [good and bad], 'mistakes', the unintended. But, could artificial intelligence deal with them? With each challenge, could AI improvise? If there was a group of AI-enabled entities would there be a divergence amongst them in reaction to surprise and the unintended? If so, how would they choose which improvisation to work with? Above all, would they feel exhilaration in response to what is essentially a intrinsic part of the creative process?

Many years ago I was a guest artist in a grade 4 class. The children were going to paint on paper.  Within the first couple of minutes of starting one young fellow put up his hand to ask if he could have another piece of paper, 'because he had made a mistake.' I said 'No, you cannot, because you have been given an opportunity to problem solve and improvise.' I counselled him that artists do not give up that easily. We reflect upon the unexpected to see how we can develop its potential.

Well...that's what I do...and I am sure others do as well.

And, you can imagine my kids' frustrations with me over the years!

After the class the teacher commented on my approach to a 'mistake'. She said she would have given the young fellow another piece of paper, but my response had really made her think.

How would an AI cope with paint dropping or smudging? And, think about this question literally and metaphorically.

Maybe if we lose the ability to see the accidental, mistakes, the unintended, surprise and the unexpected as holding creative potential, then we are no longer really human and thus more vulnerable to technological manipulation? We are, in fact, no longer important...

Maybe if this happens technology can stomp on us like we are ants?

So, why the photographs above? Each photo shows newly prepared and stretched canvases. The prepared canvases show my process of embracing accident! What you see is just the first stage. I allow the paint to do its own thing. How will they end up...who knows?!

Yesterday I received an official request from the State Library of Queensland to allow PANDORA [Australia's web archive - National Library of Australia and partners] to archive my Blog...
YES this one you are reading now! 
PANDORA is an official site for archiving 'online publications and websites of lasting significance' and 'research value' in perpetuity. Check out the State Library of Queensland's selection criteria page and you will see why I am really so very happy that my eight year old Blog has been acknowledged this way. 
My proposal for a paper/presentation was accepted and I am one of the speakers at:
Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia.
Thursday 20 November 2014 8.30am  - 4.30 am
My topic is:
Cosmic Perspectives


Thursday, October 23, 2014


I don't normally write a whole post about other people here on my Blog. But, when someone makes a real difference to life, art and culture, I am compelled to share their story, even if it is only one part of their all-life story.

I write this as a fellow-artist.

Recently I returned to a place where I had spent 18 years of my life. This place is a small rural town on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. The town is called Goondiwindi. I had not returned for nearly 15 years and the reason for my visit was to attend a friend's funeral. My friend was Jenepher Wilson. When I met her in 1982, I was a very young bride and Jenepher would have been about the age I am now. She took me under her wing!

Jenepher Wilson

Jenepher was keen to meet me, because I am an artist and she was too. After finishing school in Brisbane, Jenepher won a scholarship to art college at the East Sydney Technical College, which later became the National Art School. She was taught by some of Australia's well known artists and many of her classmates forged very successful careers. She was a talented artist and as you will see, also an extremely talented person.

Jenepher met her husband, Talbot, at a ball in Brisbane and apparently it was love at first sight. They became very successful farmers moving from near Dalby, to between Moree and Goondiwindi and in the late 70s/early 80s they built a beautiful home on the outskirts of Goondiwindi. In 1985 my then-husband and I became the Wilson's neighbours, but it was not as simple as jumping over the fence. We each had large acreage with paddocks of prickly plants, long grass potentially harbouring deadly snakes, and a couple of electrified stock fences to get through.

L to R: Genevieve Wilson, Jenepher Wilson, Norman Fox and Lachlan Wilson [his back anyway] on Norman's and my partially constructed verandah.
Looking towards the Wilson property. Yes, prickly plants, long grass, but thank goodness for the creek. But, it did sometimes dry up!

Jenepher loved beauty and she and Talbot worked as a team to collect paintings, decorative arts and sculpture, to adorn their home. Their collection was a serious one and why would it not be, Jenepher had a very good 'eye'. They also developed a magnificent garden which was a dream to wander through. The garden was also a work of art and was a backdrop for sculptures, some created by Talbot and other family members.

Jenepher loved talking about art and was generous in her expansive knowledge and enthusiasm. She was very active in attempting to stimulate and support cultural activities in Goondiwindi. There are really too many of these to mention, but they ranged from providing a teaching studio [aka old woolshed] for Flying Arts tri/quarterly visits, to opening her garden for various open garden activities, including those organised by Open Gardens Australia. She invigorated the Goondiwindi branch of the Queensland Arts Council, supported the local art show and award, pushed forward with a major collaborative community art project Moods Of The Macintyre [see photos below] for the local community/cultural centre. She established a sculpture school, started Greening Goondiwindi and more. When the collaborative art project Moods Of The McIntyre was launched, a lavish event was held. Betty Churcher, then Director of the National Gallery of Australia and an old art school classmate of Jenepher's, unveiled the major wall hanging, designed by local artist Jocelyn Cameron and made by local craftspeople.

A Flying Arts class 1990 in Jenepher and Talbot's old wool shed. Jenepher is standing at the table on the left chatting to tutor Shelagh Morgan

One of the most significant disappointments for Jenepher was that Goondiwindi never, in her lifetime, had an art gallery of  regional gallery standard that could accommodate not only local exhibitions, but touring ones too. An art gallery was one of the things Jenepher tirelessly advocated for over many years. On my trip to attend her funeral I learnt that an art gallery is currently being constructed in the Regional Council Cultural and Theatre Development due to be completed 2015, 33 years after she conscripted me to assist her with her agitations. Back in 1982, I was keen to help as I was a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Queensland and fresh from my employment as a curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. For me an art gallery, that could show local and touring exhibitions, was a no-brainer. Like Jenepher I thought it would be a valuable addition to the cultural tapestry of the town. A gallery would provide exposure, even just a little, to the kind of visual arts city people take for granted and have easy access to.

We and others tried to gain support for a Goondiwindi Art Gallery, and at various times, there seemed to be a chance, but to no avail. In the late 1980s plans for a cultural centre, with tiered theatre and a room that could be converted to a gallery, with moving walls, gallery standard lighting, hanging facilities etc, was to be built. [I know this because I attended meetings with the architects] However, whilst a building was built, it was nothing like the original concept; no tiered theatre and no gallery. There's an intriguing story here...for another time!

 Moods of the McIntyre The upper panel represents the far bank, the centre panel is the river flow and the lower section is the reflections in the water. The wall hanging was designed by local artist Jocelyn Cameron. The creation of the piece included 12 crafts using hand dyed coloured materials. It involved 250 people and took two years to complete.
DETAIL photo below. Photography: Danielle Lancaster

Jenepher always had wonderful ideas. Talking with her was like taking a trip on a shooting star. She thought in pictures, like movie pictures. More often than not, she had multiple ones running in her head, and it was sometimes difficult to keep up with her. But, rest assured, her visions were always to enhance life in Goondiwindi for everyone, not just herself and family. For example, Greening Goondiwindi was a project where trees were planted around the streets. When I visited to attend Jenepher's funeral, I could not help but think of her contribution to the oasis-like appearance of the town. Her sense of community came naturally and selflessly.

Jenepher was also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Over the last 15 years, when Jenepher [and sometimes Talbot] and I caught up in Brisbane, I'd hear about exciting events in the family, as well as life in Goondiwindi. When we met in the city we'd invariably visit galleries, institutional and commercial. She was always interested in my art, often ringing me to find out how my plans were going. When I lived in Goondiwindi we occasionally painted together. We also attended china painting classes. This was a hoot, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. While the others in the class became very accomplished traditional china painters, Jenepher and I splashed paint around, creating colourful very non-traditional pieces. Our teacher would look over our shoulders and say something like, 'Oh you two, I'll just let you do your thing.'

What I have written is just a snippet of Jenepher's life and talent. To explain it all would be impossible, because Jenepher's intellect and creativity, the colourful moving pictures and visions in her head, were far too vibrant and important to ever be contained in explanation.

All I can say is that Goondiwindi was given a very special gift when Jenepher Wilson arrived in town.

Jenepher Wilson at an exhibition of Goondiwindi artists held in Brisbane mid 1980s.

Vale, Jenepher...


Friday, October 17, 2014


Birth Of Light Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm 2014
I've been painting!
And reading...three books at once. One is Wonders Of The Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. It's the book based on the BBC series of the same name which is hosted by Brian Cox. The first chapter is called Messengers and light, visible and not visible [eg: Cosmic Microwave Background CMB] is the main topic. Light, which exhibits a wave/particle [photon] duality, brings us information from and about the early stages of the Universe our 13.7 billion year old environment.
It is amazing to realise that visible light emanating from stars, and other entities in space, is old by the time it reaches us. We are seeing the past in our present because light takes time to reach us. As Cox and Cohen write about human awareness through sight, even when we look at ourselves in a mirror, Without realising it, we are all travelling back in time by the most minuscule amount. The consequence of light travelling fast, but not infinitely fast, is the you see everything as it was in the past. The text goes onto say However, the further we are away from an object, the greater the delay becomes.[1] For example light from the our sun takes 8.3 minutes to reach us and from Neptune it takes 4 hours. With the help of Earth-based telescopes and observational spacecraft we augment our ability to see back into time. For example for just over 20 years the Hubble Space Telescope, in orbit 600 km from Earth, has brought us images of deep space that have changed our Universal perspectives. These changes influence science and spirituality, both having awe in common.
For the naked eye, without help from technology, the night sky is a 'jewel box' of sparkles and luscious bling. I find it intriguing to think about those who lived 100s and 1000s of years ago, who without technology, made valuable and interesting observations of the night sky. For instance, Australian Aboriginal astronomy has provided interesting perspectives for modern scientists. An article called The First Astronomers by Andi Horvath, in The Age newspaper, briefly describes some of the sophisticated observations made by Aboriginal people. You can do some more research yourself, as there is plenty available.
The night sky provides a black canvas for visible light to 'paint' Universal history upon. Every night the 'painting' subtly changes. Daylight saturates us with warmth, illumination and energy, but as night arrives it's like turning a page in the story of time. It's also fascinating to think that light, in all its visible and invisible permutations, itself has a history. Whilst photons appeared in the first three minutes of the Universe, it took along time for visible light to emit. This happened about 400 million years later when stars and galaxies started to form. You will need to read a book like The Wonders Of The Universe to get more detail on this incredible history. I recommend it.
Light as a metaphor, for knowledge, pathways, spirit, guidance and more, has interested me for a long time. A previous post called Let There Be Light   is a small online exhibition of a few of my 'light' paintings. It is easy to understand why light, especially visible light, has entered humankind's cultural, spiritual and religious endeavours and beliefs in the form of metaphor. Through ritual, ceremony and artistic interpretation light essentially celebrates wonder...and how amazingly appropriate is that! It links us back to the beginnings of time! It also links us all, for humanity as a whole, across time, is witness to this light. The shared metaphor and symbol across cultures and religions, is like a thread that knits us together.
BIRTH OF LIGHT Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm
My new painting Birth Of Light tries to capture light's 'brushstrokes' across time and space, those 'strokes' that illuminate and those that provide unseen, but felt or detectible forces. Yet, like many of my paintings, there is an ambiguity because it could be an image of the beginnings of the Universe, yet also maybe one star, or a galaxy, or it could be a thought emitting knowledge and creativity that affects the world, or it could be an eye...the very thing that enables us to see light. It could also be the culmination of human spirituality, the thread drawing us together. I like the idea of humanity being woven together by light.

This painting is not a scientific illustration or an artist's impression. It a creative piece inspired by wonder and awe. I will say though, that it is definitely a cosmic 'landscape'...a landscape untethered from Earth's horizons. A scape of humanity's soul...maybe?
Birth Of Light is related to my earlier painting, below, called Pale Blue Dot [inspired by Carl Sagan]
I also wrote a post a few weeks ago called Art -Science -Imagination -Wonder which might interest you. it was inspired by something astronaut Chris Hadfield said in an interview on Australian TV.
 Pale Blue Dot [Inspired by Carl Sagan] oil on linen 120 x 150 cm 2014
1. Cox, B and Cohen, A Wonders Of The Universe Harper Collins, London, 2011 P.44
Tomorrow night Saturday 18 October 2014 I am one of 13 artists from Barcelona, Brisbane, Paris and Sydney in a one night exhibition called Painted Prose. We have each responded to poems written by Brent Bridgeford. The poem I responded to is called In Abysm Inhere which actually uses light and dark as very forceful metaphors for internal battles.
The exhibition is on at Substation 4, 22 Petrie Tce, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - 7 pm.
My painting is An Eternal Dance [below]. In this painting I have played with light and contrasting dark. I am really happy with it.
An Eternal Dance Gouache on paper 32 x 114 cm 2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Birth Of Worlds oil on linen 92 x 102 cm 2014

Physicist, Prof Brian Cox was recently interviewed about his new BBC series Human Universe. The interview Physicist Brian Cox: ‘The side of me that people don’t tend to see is the side that argues’ by Tom Lamont appeared in The Guardian last weekend in time for the first episode of Human Universe to air on the BBC on Tuesday 7 October [as of writing this post it's already the 7th here in Brisbane]. The interview is very interesting, but there is one short phrase apparently uttered by Brian Cox that got me very excited.

the phrase is....
a fractal tree of universes
This is the sentence the phrase was used in: Tom Lamont writes about his own frantic attempts to keep up with Cox I’m on the coffee and almost tearful with the effort of keeping up with Cox’s rapid chat about inflationary cosmology and exponentially expanding space-time, “a fractal tree of universes”.

Needless to say I am looking forward to seeing the BBC's Human Universe

But, back to a fractal tree of universes

This is a five word masterpiece in itself!

The tree's evocative potency for conjuring cosmic images that traverse all time and size scales lies within its complex branching appearance, fractals that repeat across the Universe. This dance of close and far distance, repeated across time and space, is the sense I try to visually elicit from the tree, my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life.

The painting above Birth of Worlds was exhibited in my last exhibition Untethering Landscape: From Earth-Bound Horizons When I completed this painting I wrote: So for me...worlds? These could be the birth of the Universe, even the Multiverse? Or, formation of planets and stars. Or, the birth of things only visible through a microscope...the microscopic world! Now here's a big idea about birth...maybe the painting exemplifies the birth of everything from the quantum to the cosmic? Maybe the dancing branches of the trees-of-life create quivers and quakes that explode in all directions, leaving a world the spawns itself?

Many people who came to my exhibition, and had conversations with me about Birth Of Worlds, commented on the fractal quality of the trees!
Fingerprints of Existence Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm 2014
In my earlier post for Fingerprints of Existence [above] I wrote Regular readers will know of my intense interest in the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life. I employ its marvellous potency in many of my paintings. This potency is all about life! The more I explore its immense treasures the more I discover about myself and the world. It has not been an age-old symbol of life, 'speaking' to people across cultures and eons, without reason! It 'speaks' to us at all levels, across times, even outside time and space, within a Universal/Multiversal psyche and dimension! Maybe like a code teasing for attention...
Fingerprints of Existence was also in my exhibition Untethering Landscape When I was discussing it with visitors to the show, I'd suggest that the tree may hold clues to the template for the Universe. Not a scientific observation maybe, and possibly far fetched, but a reasonable one to throw into the debate.
and now to a painting I called Multiverse
Multiverse Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2010
I painted Multiverse in 2010 when I first read about the idea of a Multiverse in Lord Astronomer and Cosmologist Martin Rees's wonderful book Just Six Numbers Here's a paragraph from my earlier post for this painting,  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.
So you can understand why I got excited when I read the phrase
a fractal tree of universes
And, the excitement continues. Why? Because, I will be seeing Brian Cox in the Journey Through The Cosmos series of events over 3-4 days in November at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre [QPAC] Brisbane. The series is a collaboration with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Here's the QSO's info on Journey Through The Cosmos I am going to everything!
Talking of
I have an online exhibition of 10 Tree-Of-Life paintings. To view the paintings on my website please click HERE 
And, they are for sale too!
Thank you to all of you who visit my BLOG. I now receive well over 4,000 visits per month!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


I heard myself ask in a discussion about religion, faith and belief;

Isn't Awe enough?

But, the word enough is in itself limiting.

What about...

Awe Is

The capital A and the capital I play beyond the realms of enough and any other descriptive word.


I Am is different to I am...the latter seemingly begs for a descriptor and thus is immediately corralled. But, I Am goes beyond any description. It just IS.

During my last exhibition Untethering Landscape I had a few discussions about awe. Yes, it's a word that can be used to describe reactions to science, nature, religion and art too. Very gratifyingly, for me, a few people said my paintings created a sense of awe in them. Wow! That's a compliment indeed. But, as you will discover below, the paintings did not create awe, they just stirred Universal memories of it!

I recently read a very interesting article Awe, With Or Without The Gods by Dr. Tania Lombrozo. Dr. Lombrozo discusses the very human desire to work out how awe is elicited. She examines the assumption that atheists cannot possibly experience awe, as if religious belief is the domain of this vast word. Atheists do, in fact, experience awe, but there are others who find it difficult to understand that awe is not the handmaiden of religion. Dr. Lombrozo goes onto to discuss awe with regards to science, nature. She asks, So why the persistent idea that awe is inextricably linked to theism? And are "scientific awe" and "religious awe" fundamentally different, or deep down one and the same? Please read her very interesting article to see how her discussion proceeds.

At this point I am departing from a causative investigation. I think an examination of the sense of awe, rather than what seemingly causes it, is important

I propose that Awe IS because its trajectory rises from the birth of the Universe, and is thus inherent in everything. I propose that, like beauty, awe has no antonym and thus cannot be discussed referentially or comparatively. It just IS. Regular readers will know that I have previously written about beauty and the intriguing absence of an accompanying opposite. In my 2012 post Beauty Has No Antonym I wrote, Was beauty present at the instant life began, at the Big Bang or whatever it was that set everything in motion? I suspect it was. And, this Beauty now exists as some kind of human race memory, maybe deeply buried in our DNA code. Maybe that's why we sometimes have Ah Ha moments, that stir our inner core reminding us of something, often propelling us onto new thoughts and actions, but always providing us with joy and hope.

I suspect that Awe is a kind of remembering too...remembering at a core level that is linked to the energy forces of the Universe, revelling in a ubiquitous presence across all time and scale. When you feel awe you immediately know an instinct which is not forgotten, that arises from before your human birth.

Yet, awe can be touched with fear. Like beauty's pathos there is a wild card lying in satisfied retreat. Why do I say satisfied retreat? Because, awe acknowledges fear and sets it free. After all, if awe was present at the birth of the Universe, it has known and overcome fear in all its guises. Awe rejoices in its own survival as it dances with the Universe. We see the dance in nature, art, the stars, science and yes in aspects of religion too. Rather than causing awe they trigger a sense that we already know, they stir Universal 'memory' within us, a memory that extends across time and space.

So, what about the photo above?

I am preparing a stretched linen 'canvas' for a new painting...which I has thought I'd call Awe

AND, now to something a bit different...maybe?

I am one of 14 artists who have been invited by a young poet, Aquilokami, to create a work that is inspired by one of three poems. The poem I chose is In Abysm Inhere...

You can read more of Aquilokami's work at PASENFRANCAIS

The exhibition PAINTED PROSE is a one night event at Substation 4, 22 Petrie Tce, Brisbane.

I am probably the oldest ten thousand centuries!!! And, I am thrilled to have been asked! This is my painting below. I will post my artist's statement nearer the time...but meanwhile you read In Abysm Inhere...


see what you come up with.

An Eternal Dance Gouache on paper 32 x 114 cm 2014