1. What do you do at WWAS?
At WWAS, I teach traditional watercolour painting. Saying that, I gauge where each individual student is at on their watercolour journey ( believe me, it never ends) and I fine tune my comments and advice to suit each of their needs so they will develop their own unique style and not try to emulate mine or anyone else’s. “Traditional” in my classes includes composition, colour theory and design as well as tried and true expressive watercolour techniques and a few that I’ve come up with myself.
2. Tell us about your artistic/career journey to this point.
My artistic journey started in earnest at the famed East Sydney Art School in Darlinghurst, now the National Art School. Unfortunately, I just missed the hippie era. After a few years in a “real” job I decided to go back to my first love and spent a year In Mauritius on a beach just painting. That culminated in my first solo exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa. After more travel, I found myself in an activist group in Canada, trying to save old growth forests by painting in their midst and selling the landscapes in group exhibitions. Back in Oz and with a young family put the kybosh on me that it was time for art but I did set up a real estate styling business and painted large images to cover the decrepit walls of our place! 25 years ago I discovered the jewel of the east – Waverley Woollahra Art School and started attending virtually all the classes at one time or another. Oils, sculpture, mixed media but there were no watercolour teachers here at that stage so I took myself off to Julian Ashton Art School for a couple of years and studied under some fine experts there. More group exhibitions and entries in various competitions gave me the confidence to attempt en plein air with a dedicated group. Then a move to Vanuatu enabled me the free time to start teaching local women how to commercialise their work to sell to tourists. Yes, I realise it’s not a highbrow art background! I loved imparting knowledge and that was the start of my teaching career which went on to community centres and colleges and galleries. This time last year I had another solo exhibition at Duck Rabbit Gallery in Redfern, and I’m currently working towards another at the end of this year.
3. What is your favourite thing about WWAS?
My favourite aspect of WWAS is the unpretentious atmosphere. So many art education places are quite elitist and seem to have an inflated idea of their own importance in the grand scheme. Not so at WWAS. It’s refreshing and has a light touch on the community.
4. If you could share a meal with three artists living or dead, who would they be?
I would probably pick Albert Namijra, John Singer Sargent, Brett Whitely…but it’s a very hard question!
5. What do you do when not creating or teaching?
When I’m not creating or teaching I like to go to galleries and analyse why I like or don’t like artworks. Keen gardener on my rooftop, tending to my veggie babies, picking blackberries for jam and whispering sweet nothings to my beautiful roses are more fave pastimes. And of course cuddling my four legged best friend (goes without saying).
6.What are you listening to?
When I’m in my studio I listen to an eclectic mix of classical/orchestral and South American instrumentals tossed with a bit of French and Buddha Bar…if you have to ask, you wouldn’t like it.
7. What are you currently reading?
Just finished a book “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro. Loved it – about AI in yet another dystopian future but it is underlyingly optimistic about the human race so that’s a nice change!
8. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
If I could do anything in the world for a day, I think I’d have to be in a snow covered wilderness with all my plein air painting gear, my winter woolies plus hand warmers, a hip flask of very good whisky and set about painting the scene.
9. What’s your favourite quote?
I have two favourite quotes from my two favourite people, my mother used to say “Don’t settle for average” and my father drummed into me “ If you’re going to do a job, do it properly”