I've always loved colour. At art school, teachers told me to 'tone my colours down,' now, in my art practice, printing layers of colour with solar plate etchings, drawings, stencilling, mono-printing and more - I feel I bring the paper alive!
To make my solar plate etchings, I take my drawings, place them in the sun with a solar plate, wash out in a bath of water, and then ink and print them onto paper. It is time-consuming, but the results achieved with this non-toxic printmaking method capture my drawings of our natural environment perfectly.
People often ask what inspires me; I'd say you bring many parts of your life experience to your work.
My husband and mother-in-law are the most talented gardeners and inspire many aspects of my work. I collect specimens from my local gardens and around the coastal landscape of Lorne on Victoria's picturesque Great Ocean Road in Southern Victoria, Australia.
One of my favourite specimens is the Banksia, a stunning Australian native flower with various colours and textures. I have many specimens in my collection, but I still ask friends to let me know if they ever find anything interesting.
Not so long ago, I received a small container in my mailbox which contained a dead dragonfly. I posted a picture of the package on social media and thanked whoever had left the gift.
As a child growing up in a busy musical family, my initial creative efforts were geared toward playing the guitar and singing. I also dreamed of running a gallery to display my art and pottery. However, at age 14, a teacher rocked my artistic confidence. Whilst horse riding, I broke my arm and could not collect my end-of-year art projects, and my art teacher threw out all my classwork for the year.
Consequently, I began to devote more time to my music. By the age of twenty, I was travelling overseas. I busked in London; I loved the acoustics in the tube train tunnels. I recorded some original tracks with two of my brothers. When my first son was born, I decided that a musician's life was not for me. It was then that my love of art came again to the fore.
When I returned from my travels, I found a different artistic avenue, modelling in the fashion industry. Working with some of our country's most talented couture designers for more than twenty years was terrific but challenging. This experience enabled me to gather real inspiration from fabric, texture, and colour. Working as a fashion model, I still dabbled in jewellery making and drawing and sold my work at local markets. I still love markets!
When I met my husband, who noticed some drawings I'd done and said, "what are you doing, you should be making art". He bought me an easel and canvases for my birthday, and I never looked back. Enrolling in part-time art school was the best thing I could have done. It introduced me to printmaking in many forms.
I have had eczema since I was a baby and the toxicity of the acid and some solvents played havoc with my skin. So I researched all the non-toxic printmaking methods and happened upon the talented solar plate etcher Janet Ayliffe who just happened to be running a workshop at Warringah Studios in Sydney. I was captivated by this marvellous technique, and it was a fascinating and significant turning point in my art practice. I didn't touch solar plate etching for the following two years but was again enticed to do a refresher course with Janet and fell in love with the process all over again. I set up my studio to work in this beautiful, magical medium, convinced that I would work this way for many years.
I have been teaching for some years and enjoy working with both children and adults. When teaching children, I try to convince them that 'nothing is a mistake,' all our work can say and express something. I love seeing students' expressions when they pull their first print. Absolute magic.
Ever since making and showing my art, it has often been stated that it would look fabulous on fabric. So I’ve transferred my art to various substrates such as wallpaper, fabric and indoor and outdoor projects.
I continue to endeavour to produce locally as much as possible and it’s worth the hard work to keep my ethos alive.