look in to my eyes..


Its all about the math.

It took me a while to get it to click but the secret in a good portrait really seems to be all about the measuring and angles.

In the beginning, painting faces that actually looked ok (forget about realistic, I was aiming for humanoid) was hard, stressful and damn difficult.

There was a LOT of disasters, most that have never seen the light of day.

I did faceless mermaids and cartoonish fairies, but I was never really happy with the results.



At my first lot of art classes, one of my early projects was a portrait “in fauvist style”

a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of colour that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement’s leading figure.
It was adequate, but not wonderful and had a very short life span. (the only thing good about that bloody portrait is the hat to be honest)
Anther project, another attempt at capturing  a likeness.
Skin tones ok…but
New classes, same teacher but a whole different approach to learning and portraiture was put away while I learned other skills including working in oils. Except for my “selfie”
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I played with charcoal.  The messy smudgy thing working as I got my head around the basics.
Confidence growing, I decided to attempt some drag queen portraiture.
While the art was showing that practice makes improvement, sadly the project proved disastrous on a personal front and once again I retreated from painting faces.
But despite everything, I am hooked on capturing faces in paint. And I finally felt ready to take on the sepia portrait of my Grandfather based on a photo taken when he was in the air force.
A deeply personal project and one I was determined to get right.  And if the look on my mother’s face when she first saw it is anything to go by, I got it very right.
And from that portrait I have been commissioned to paint another, also in the sepia style on the linen canvas.
I am two sessions in now and still a fair amount of work to do, but so far it is going well.
I still have a lot to learn about painting faces.  Still need to develop my style properly but I am getting there.
More than other painting subjects, it’s all about the math, preparation and practice.
And not giving up when it gets hard.
Oh and if you think that sepia is now my thing, check out this last one
Say “Hi” to Drew.  This was a bit of a quick paint but it turned out pretty wonderful.
And he loves it.
As do I.

Sticks and stones

I have had a few different words and names thrown at me in the last few months, and not all of them particularly positive or kind.  Some obviously with the clear intent to hurt, said in anger, and others dressed up as “constructive criticism”.

To list what has been said here though, will continue to give the negativity too much power, and too much power has already been given.

On the other side of the coin, I have also been called many nice things, including “a good friend” and “a fucking ANGEL”.

So why bring this up?  Because despite what our mothers might have told us, words will hurt us, and as such we must choose them carefully.

Thoughtless words can destroy a person’s confidence, damage reputations and even impact on future aspirations.  But yet, the right words, can lift a person up, can heal the hurt and bring happiness to someone’s world.
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” perhaps has more truth than the old defensive “sticks and stones” saying.

And if there are times when perhaps something negative should be said,  we should try to still be encouraging and focus on the positive.

Our TV screens are filled with images of hate, anger and hurt.  Politicians are feeding on it, spewing forth words of division and fear. People troll the internet, simply looking to tear people down.

We are so used to zooming in on the negative, that all the positive and wonderful is overlooked.

So think before you speak, take a breath before you blurt.  Instead of breaking someone with your “constructive criticism”, say something nice.  Be  respectful, encouraging  and fair.

Take a moment and put yourself in their shoes.


After a week of huge emotional ups and downs, Hubby and I escaped the city and headed to a local wine district to switch off and recharge.  Where once I would feel compelled to Facebook and Instagram every meal, every moment, I no longer desire to take the world along on my “dirty weekend”

Internet was switched off and the phone was used only as my camera.

When I arrived home, after over 24 hours of “offline”, the world was still turning, there was still dishes in the sink and my children were still alive.

And I was revived.

Yes, I did post some photos on Facebook and Insta after we had unpacked.  It was a very wet and cold weekend but it was fun.  We walked along bush tracks and enjoyed delicious red wine in front of a wood fire.

We were serenaded by kookaburras and greeted with a rainbow as we drove back into the city.

And we laughed and talked and just enjoyed being together.

Something we just don’t do often enough perhaps.

We left just after Saturday class.  I wasn’t allowed to ditch it and I have started something new and wonderful.  (stalk my Instagram to see what)

But before you see new, I still want to catch you all up on what I was doing while I was gone from here.

I have been having fun painting my friends’ fur babies.  Usually 12″ square on canvas sheets in acrylic paint.  And so far have been pretty well received.

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I am thinking that there is a pretty good market for pet portraits and so I plan on being open to commission enquiries.  As with all my art, they would be priced according to size and amount of work involved.

I am discovering that there is equal amounts of fun as well as challenge in portraiture.  Where once it terrified me, and I would paint people without faces, now I am enjoying capturing the similarity between what I see and what I paint.

And looking back on my early efforts, it really does prove that practice makes perfect.

Perhaps i will do a slide show here sometime, just on the people portraits I have done.  I think that might be a cool option.

For now though, I probably need to get off my butt and do something productive.  It’s Monday morning, a new week has begun and the sun is bravely trying to break through the clouds.

Sending out smiles, hugs and kindness.




I realised recently that I had forgotten how to simply be alone.

Not lonely, just alone.

This world we live in, with all its noise and technology, seems to foster an environment of constant connection and that in turn, I think, leads to us losing the ability to switch off and just be still.

I have always needed noise around me, even as a young girl, before the availability of ipads, computers and the internet, I would fall asleep with the sound of the radio.  I had a small novelty “Pepsi” radio that had batteries that seemed to last forever.

And as I grew into adulthood, and shared my life with a husband and then children, the noise changed and continued, and became part of normality.

I resisted getting mobile phone for the longest time, perhaps sensing that the noise in my world would increase, but eventually giving in when Hubby’s concern for my welfare when travelling for work over rode my objections.

Now I have not only a radio, but an ipad, a new shiny phone and a computer all making noise and keeping me in constant connection with the world at large.

This is my “normal”.

And as much as I can try to justify the dependence..”oh I only have the phone because…” there is that thrill when the “ping” of a notification sounds, a thrill that is both addictive, distracting and ultimately dangerous.

For when that ping doesn’t happen, or when the noise changes or stops, that is when the addiction truly shows and insecurity kicks in.

It isn’t healthy for me, all that noise.

So I have been turning down the volume.  And finding that being alone with my thoughts isn’t such a bad thing.

There is no radio on as I write this, and I have no idea where my ipad is.  My phone is in another room, and switched to silent.

It isn’t the easiest thing to, to find the quiet, but it is necessary.  The need for noise, for constant connection has caused me too much grief.

Mind you, I still crank the music loud when I paint… that particular noise is all part of the joy.

Now that I have finished with the D &M part of this post, I want to show you something that I am very proud of.

This is a painting of my Grandfather, from a photo taken after he enlisted in the Air force back in 1942.

Very different from all my previous portraits.

It is oil paint on linen,  and the sepia effect was created by simply painting in raw umber and white.  Parts of the canvas is unpainted, using the natural colour of the linen as one of the values.

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I hand drew the original sketch and then traced it onto the linen.  The painting is a gift to my brother who was in the military and plans to frame it with a copy of my grandfather’s service record.

From this, I have been commissioned to paint another portrait in a similar style and despite the departure from my usual palette of vivid and bright colours, I am incredibly honoured and excited by this new project.

This blog is going to be my place to showcase my process as I create art.  It is also going to be the place for my random musings about life, the universe and everything.

And now that this is done, it is time for me to head out into the sunshine.  The sky is finally blue after days of rain and grey,  and I have a coffee date with a young friend in the city gardens.

Where the noise there will be birdsong mostly, and laughter hopefully.

And my phone will continue to sit silently in my bag until I am ready to listen.




More comebacks than John Farnham

There was a story on the TV the other day about a Russian zoo that offered a goat to a tiger as dinner but the two of them decided instead to go against the norm and become “friends”.

Against the laws of nature, the tiger chose not to eat the goat and as they co-habited, the internet watched on, no doubt taking bets on when the whole thing would go to hell in a hand basket.

And if you believe the media, all was wonderful until the goat got a little pushy and the tiger decided that it really didn’t enjoy the headstrong companion and promptly mauled the goat.

The goat survived.  Bloody and bruised but thanks to the care of its keepers it is now living happily with other goats and the hungry tiger is left alone, no doubt contemplating it’s next tasty snack..

The moral of the story?  Dunno, maybe that goats and tigers really can’t be friends, at least not forever.

And the reason I have returned with this little bit of random musing?

Well, I guess this little goat has recovered enough from her mauling by the tiger that she considered her friend to get back to doing what she loves.  And that includes writing here.

There has been a lot of pondering and reflection the last few months.  A huge clean out of all things internet as I licked my wounds.

And a realisation that friendship is a two way street, that good friends support each other, check on each other and accept that sometimes, just sometimes, they can have a bad day and be a complete pain in the ass.

It’s all about communication, honesty and respect.

I have no idea if anybody will even read this and it doesn’t matter to be honest.   It just feels right to be writing again.  To put some of these thoughts of mine out into the universe once again.

So as you can see, the blog has a new name. A new red “coat” and a new attitude.

I love my red coat.  It’s Calvin Klein and I bought it at Macy’s NYC.

Like I love my Texan Cowboy boots.  Those boots are made for strutting, not just walking.

And of course my art continues to bring me so much happiness.

Pure joy if I am honest as I painted “These boots” yesterday.

2016-07-10 07.39.46

Colour, paint and happy memories, and plenty of strutting ahead.

This little goat is back, and kicking up her heels.

As for the tiger?  Shit happens eh?


** I am restoring past posts still so things are still”under construction” so please excuse the dust