My paintings are influenced by scenes observed from life.
Every year, I travel interstate to experience different places, sometimes new or significant, usually mixed with some old favourites. I go birdwatching with binoculars, camera and sketchbook. When time permits, I set up my easel and paint.
Some of my best, most inspirational ideas happen when traveling. Black-shouldered kite settling on a fencepost, cockatiels in flight, mulga parrots sheltering from the midday heat, a striated pardalote singing from an abandoned railway siding… These visions stay in my mind, slowly coalescing into a formal painting.
Often I will raid my old sketchbooks for inspiration. Each line, quick sketch or hurried note prompts a memory of the experience, lending an honesty to the painting that only firsthand encounters can bring.
willie wagtails on wire
Private commissions are many and varied, and always welcome.
My first overseas commission came from Switzerland, when I lived in Kakadu National Park. We conducted our negotiations through the client’s niece, who spoke English more confidently. Since then, I have sent paintings to clients in different countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Jamaica and South Africa, and throughout Australia.
Commissioning a painting is an easy process. We start with a discussion on subject/theme, your preferred size, medium and price range, and we agree on an expected completion date. I am happy to provide advice and usually email images of the work in progress. I almost always sell my paintings framed unless, as with raw linen, leaving the painting unframed actually enhances the art.
Art is very personal. Each painting has its own symbolism and inspiration. A private commission can be imbued with deep meaning, depending on the client’s story, and this I always respect.
Willie Wagtails on Wire (above) was commissioned after a client admired my Common Redstart on wire, which I had observed from life in the Middle East. It is oil on canvas featuring a fencepost from farmland near Bendigo, Victoria.
walking in dunes
Getting up close and personal with subjects is both inspirational and instructional.
So that when I need to paint native plants that thrive in a dune environment, I have sensory memories to recall their colour, texture, the way they move in the breeze, how the sand shifts around their stems.
Even if these plants form just a tiny part of the painting’s composition, I can portray them with more authenticity. The paint and brush strokes are imbued not just with an idea of the plant but a memory.
yellow-bellied sunbird in flight
Detail of female Yellow-bellied Sunbird in flight, part of an acrylic painting on stretched canvas.
Painted after observing the challenges overcome by a pair of Sunbirds in far north Queensland, who rebuilt their nest after a first attempt was destroyed by predators at night, along with the eggs.
Within twenty-four hours, they had chosen a new nest site and proceeded to construct the intricately shaped nest with materials sourced from surrounding farmlands. Their perseverance and teamwork was inspirational.