Thursday, December 30, 2010


Okay, I have been playing around with the new layout options in blog-world and yes, the current result is very pink. Apologies to those who find too much of the colour a bit hard to take, but take heart, I will undoubtedly change it again in the near future.

It took me forever to centre the heading graphic and ended up tweaking the pixel width of the graphic itself to get it to sit about right. Note to Josh Petersen (template designer) you did a great job, much appreciated, but could you please build in an easy way to centre the graphic?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Exciting News

So, there are two things I need to tell you which are pretty big. Firstly, I have been invited to exhibit in a London Gallery early in 2011, which will be very exciting for an Aussie Girl. It will cost me quite a bit of money, but it is an opportunity too good to let go of. More details as they come to hand.

Also, the painting I posted when I was whining about being in a rut a couple of weeks ago has lifted my spirits by winning first place in the National WetlandCare Art and Photography competition. I painted it for the prize, Wetlands obviously being a subject close to my heart, but I didn't expect to win. So I will probably be going to Canberra, the Nation's capital in Feb to see the exhibition, collect my prize and celebrate World Wetlands Day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Just got back from one of my favourite places in the world - Caloundra. My hubby and I had a two night stay there to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. 24 years! It is hard to comprehend, really. Anyway, we had an idyllic couple of days and I got to try out my new camera - results below. It is a weird time of year - just sneaking in before Christmas, our anniversary is easy to overlook. But 24 years is pretty significant and given everything, we are pretty amazed to have made it this far.

Getting back home today is hard to take. I would love to be back at the seaside, investigating the little worlds in the rock pools (yes, that's my foot) or observing the osprey. My soul felt at peace there but now it is feeling heavy with responsibilities and tasks to perform. Perhaps a rest over the Christmas period will make me feel like I can face 2011 with a little more optimism.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Well, it is upon us once agian. Christmas. Isn't it difficult to separate the meaning of Christmas from the foil wrapping and tinsel? My journey has led me away from the patriachal Christian Church to an extent, but I still believe in the man - Jesus - because he was clearly an egalitarian. He seemed to favour women and I think the women in his life - his mother Mary and the Magdalene have far more significance than we in western Christianity have ever been allowed to believe.

Anyhoo I could do with a shot in the arm of some kind of Spiritual Energy. Feeling a tad deflated and flat at the moment. Maybe its just end of the year burn out. Maybe its just middle age. Whatever, I hope that the Christmas season proves to be a time of renewal and refreshment for me and for you. Merry Christmas all.

This is my piece, Genesis, a nod to the feminine side of our creation. I am hoping for a Genesis at this Christmas time : a new beginning of creativity, sprituality, hope and happiness. And I wish that for you too.
Have a great Christmas and an even better 2011.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Art Ruts

Is it just me, or do all artists get frustrated about the time and energy that 'real' life sucks up? I feel like it is just me lately. Other artists seem to confidently ditch their day jobs and make a living from their art. I am not really in a position to ditch my day job, but it is increasingly encroaching on my time, and more importantly my energy. I have lots of books and advice I can turn to, but what I really want to know is...does anyone else have this problem?

And while I am at there anyone out there? If you drop in please leave a comment - I'd love to feel like there is someone out there. Let me know who you are!

Meanwhile, I recently went back to painting - partly because I miss painting sometimes, it seems easier than all the mixed media 3D stuff and I needed to do something creative while I am in this rut of not seeming to produce anything much worthwhile. So what do you think? Is reverting to an old friend of an artform a backward step or part of the journey?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Parenthood and preserving your Sanity

I don't know if it is just the time of year and the fact that I am totally over being a school teacher just now, but I am also a bit over my own kids. I love them to bits, but given that they have pretty cushy lives, they seem to complain a hell of a lot. I am sure that my parenting leaves a lot to be desired, but running around after them leaves me little time to be creative. And when I do decide to shut myself in my studio, I come out to find a whole bunch of couch potatoes who haven't lifted a finger. Then they start whining about something not being done or that I bought the wrong kind of biscuit or picked them up too early from the party get the idea. Makes me very grumpy. Of course my grumpiness then becomes something to whine about. On days like these I wish I had stuck to the original plan and just had kittens.

I think I'll head back into the studio, and take my favourite child...the cat. Ain't she adorable?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Art Book - Creative Time and Space

Out of general frustration with my life, I have acquired a number of books lately which advise about making time for creativity and running your arts practice as a business. This book, written by Rice Freeman-Zachary, with contributions from a range of artists is quite inspiring. Even if you know this stuff, it helps to revisit it and also to know that other artists go through what you do. So if you are looking for some similar motivation, I highly recommend it.

Creative Time and Space

I have just started renting a storage unit (after months of debating with myself) to move some of my older pieces out of the house. Renting space to store stuff we can't fit into our McMansions represents something of a moral dilemma for me. But it has got to a point where something has to give. I am hoping that this will have two benefits - one is that I will stop having to trip over various sculptures and my house will become more livable, and the second is that it will declutter my brain to some extent so that I can start churning out fabulous new work.

At the end of the year, I am feeling tired, a little stressed and somewhat dissatisfied with my art. It has been a pretty successful year by most standards - getting into the Churchie being one of the highlights - but I am still feeling like I haven't quite got there, wherever 'there' is. The time and energy that teaching takes is really impacting on me. The kids who want to create are just delightful and give back as much as I give them. But those who have decided that all of school must boil down to a battle of wills wear me out. And I am over it, to be honest. I am really looking forward to the end of year holidays. Hopefully that will be the shot in the arm I really need.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sheree Rensel - ART AND LIFE: Art Cliques

Sheree Rensel - ART AND LIFE: Art Cliques

Art Cliques

So I was surfing the other day and came across a web site I thought I might like to join in order to broaden my artistic horizons. It shall remain nameless, but it was a mosaic forum web site. I love mosaics and taught myself the basics (which, trust me are pretty basic) about 10 years ago now. Under the influence of my mentor, Jena Mafe, I gradually came to incorporate mosaic and the aesthetic that so fascinates me about them into my sculpture work. It took a bit of persuading on her part because I was fully aware that mosaicists tend to be a fairly conservative bunch and not keen on having their art from bastardised by other branches of the arts. So I came to terms with the fact that I couldn't really call myself a mosaicist any more. But I was very happy with my weird and wonderful incorporation of mosaic ideas in my work.

Anyway, not so long ago, I read an article by Sonia King, world renowned mosaicist, (who I once shared a tram ride and Vietnamese lunch with in Melbourne at a Mosaic Symposium). In the article she said that in order for Mosaic to be truly considered a fine art, mosaic artists need to be strong in artistic integrity and rigorous in the pursuit of excellence. She also says 'There are serious mosaic artists creating a commendable work today. Yet there is a lack of critical dialogue. Our numbers have grown so fast that, to some extent, we've become a closed circle...we don't think about how this is perceived outside the Mosaic community.' Later in the same magazine from which I took that quote (Mosaic Art Now No 3, 2010), I found an image of a beautiful art work by Pamela Goode (USA) which incorporated found objects, including fibre - a woman after my own heart.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I dropped in at the exhibition of the local chapter of MAANZ (Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand) not really intending to admit my crossing over to a hybrid form of the art, but prepared nonetheless to enjoy their fabulous pieces. I found the women looking after the exhibition overwhelmingly friendly and accepting, many of the pieces sitting on the border of 'true' mosaic and we ended up exchanging business cards.

Buoyed up by all of this, I confidently submitted my name to the aforementioned web site for vetting, thinking that membership was a Fait accompli given that I was neither a paedophile or serial killer. But this morning I got a message rejecting my application on the basis that 'it was not felt that I would find like-minded artists on this site'; this conclusion obviously drawn after a viewing of my website and not finding anything that resembled a traditional mosaic. If that means I won't find any other artists keen to learn from others, discuss the nature of our art form and be open to new ideas, then I guess the messenger was right. All of those artists have clearly been rejected like me!

So I would love to hear from any of you out there whose art work doesn't fit in a neat tidy box and from any of you who have been ostracized from a particular group or society as a consequence. Most of us are keen to support and encourage each other on this creative journey. Why are some people so married to the idea that creativity needs to be able to be classified?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where to from here?

I don't know about you, but I find it alarming to wake up one day to discover that suddenly and without warning, Christmas is about nine weeks away. How did that happen? The department stores are already gearing up which aside from following along with the blatant commercialism is actually quite good from my point of view - I find wonderful treasures for my art amongst the decorations and lights.
The alarming thing is more that what has to be achieved at school and other places between now and then hardly bears thinking about. I am itching to get into the studio, but I just don't seem to get there and the thought of cramming assessment, reporting, and other boring things into the remaining weeks is quite exhausting.
On the up side, I went to the craft fair in town the other day. It is such a lolly shop for people like me who are excited by all the fibre, fabrics, beads and other luscious stuff. Of course I spent too much money, but now I have these wonderful bits and pieces to inspire me.
I just wish there was some time to focus on the inspiration and follow through with the work. I have been looking at some of the fantastic work on other blogs - very inspiring, but also a bit depressing. Right now I am weighing up whether to have another solo show next year or not - am I going to have time to do it justice? On the other hand I don't want to give myself over to just working on curriculum and lesson plans 24/7. Will have to get my act together and get on with it.

Monday, October 11, 2010


What do they say about rainy days and Mondays? Today is the double whammy - Monday, and we are experiencing what the weather people call a weather 'event'. A low pressure system is sitting over our heads which means it has been bucketing down for the last 24 hours. Just to make it even more fun, I have to drive across town, dodging road closures and flash flooding to front up at the accountant and get my tax done. Great. Needless to say, my inner artist is descending into a fit of thumb-sucking despair. I don't think I have mentioned that as well as being an artist, I am also a part-time art teacher at a local secondary school. Mostly it is good: I love being with the kids and watching them develop their creativity. But the politics and the 'institutionalised' mentality depress the hell out of me. Got to sort out a few 'issues' today along with everything else. Not a good start to my week, all in all. Must do something to cheer myself up. Some art work would do it - but will I manage to get into the studio?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Work and Exhibition

This week is going to be another in a long line of ridiculously busy weeks. I have a group show opening on Friday night, with four other women artists. It will be a great show - very diverse and featuring sculpture with textiles, found objects, wire, works on canvas and natural fibres like felt. I will be including the finally finished Royal Spoonbill (pics below taken by fab photographer Carl Warner) as well as some of the other pieces I have already shown you, like Ceibhfhionn (which is soooo heavy, I can feel my back hurting already) and The Bower. If you live in the Brisbane district, feel free to come along to the opening on Friday (15th Oct) at the White Canvas Gallery, Church St, Fortitude Valley at 6.30pm.

To Check out more details, go to White Canvas Gallery

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Keeping Up

Its been a while - ridiculously busy at the present time. In amongst all the chaos, though I did manage to squeeze in a weekend away to Noosa a couple of weeks ago. It was absolute bliss but the pace of life has meant that it feels more like 2 months ago. Any ideas on how to slow down? Anyway, pictures of Noosa below:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Book for Children

This is a new book I have recently self-published. It is one that has been lying around for years, was nearly taken up by two publishers, but in the end wasn't. I just thought I wanted to finish it properly, hence the decision to publish it. It's a book for kids - probably 8 - 10 year olds. Even though it is self-published, it is a good feeling to see it is as a finished piece of art.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Theophany (2)

So, today it was a much smaller version of the great birds of prey of last time, but impressive nevertheless. While I was hanging out washing, a sparrowhawk grabbed a resident dove (hopefully a feral spotted dove) and dispatched in the yard. He knew I was there, but wasn't all that put out about having an audience, and I managed to get a few good photos. Amazing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine

So, just finished reading 'the Goddess in the Gospels' by Margaret Starbird which is apparently the basis for Dan Brown's take on Christian History as we saw in 'The Da Vinci Code.' Makes for interesting reading, especially as it follows on (for me) from 'The Dance of the Dissident Daughter' by Sue Monk Kidd. I was brought up in maintstream Christianity to believe in a male God, which has been a constant bug-bear for me. How can half the world's population (i.e. women) be also-rans in a religion that claims to be the salvation of the entire human race?

Can't fault Sue Monk Kidds book at all - it is based on sound research and talks about the way the patriachal church has managed to become the accepted Status Quo. Her book managed to pull me back from the brink of turning away from the church. My only criticism of Starbird's book is that she tends to regard inicidents occuring in America as being universal indicators of the state of the church, which therefore weakens her argument for those of us that live outside the States. Sorry, Margaret, but there it is. Other than that, I have to say, that the idea that Christ and the Magdalene were married and therefore together a truer metaphorical picture of the church makes perfect sense to me. 'Splains alot even. Adds weight to the Biblical declaration that Christ has personal knowledge of everything we experience and therefore understands our throughts, fears and 'temptations'. How can a single, celibate man really do that? So, at the risk of being ex-communicated or burnt at the stake or something, I have to thoroughly recommend both of these books and the ideas they present.

Turns out that the power we have always suspected is lurking in the female psyche actually is; the intuition we've often ignored is a Spiritual prompting and our affinity for Mother Earth is built into our genes. No wonder the patriachal powers that be want to suppress it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


This is another new piece that I decided to name after the celtic water goddess of knowledge, inspiration and creativity, Ceibhfhionn (pronounced CAY-vun). When I went looking for appropriate names, this jumped out at me - the piece is about the lost sacred feminine and her role in creation and continuous creativity. It includes quite a few led lights, which I think work really well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Churchie

I have also got word that I have been pre-selected for the Churchie Emerging Artist Award, which is a bit of a buzz. Looks like the next few months are going to be pretty busy carting sculptures around all over the place.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Work

I have been working on several new pieces over the last few months and one that is now complete is this one: The Bower. It started out as a mosaic piece years ago when I still thought I had to keep 'mosaic' and other materials separate. I don't know why I thought that - one of those rules you pick up along the way that are in fact a load of rubbish. It didn't work at all as a mosaic piece - just another very kitsch mosaic sculpture -  but now I quite like the slightly evil cockatooish bird that is collecting all sorts of odd things in its bower. There is currently A Royal Spoonbill evolving which is obviously closely related to this bird, so stay tuned for some pics when I am done. I am having a great time bringing these creatures into existence.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Successful pre-selection Moreton Bay Region Art Awards

I'm pretty chuffed to have heard on Friday that my two entries into the Moreton Bay Region Art Awards have both been accepted into the exhibition. One is my sculpture Anticipating Avalon and the other is a digital photo from the Lovely Bones series I have done, based on the Skeleton Woman archetype in Women Who Run with the Wolves. I haven't done much digital work of late, and I have enjoyed getting back into it, especially since getting my new computer. Even though I don't technically live in Moreton Bay Shire, I live just over the boundary and so these awards are very local, which makes it all the more pleasing to be involved again.

You can see Anticipating Avalon on my website, but I haven't put the digital images up there yet, so here is the series: The first one is the one accepted into the exhibition.


Last weekend, I had a magical experience. Driving up my road after grocery shopping (that's not the magical part) I saw a large bird being harrassed by smaller ones. At first I thought it was a crow, but something in my subconscious noted the shape of its tail. After a double-triple take I began to believe I was looking at a wedge-tailed eagle. This huge bird swooped down in front of my car to eye-level and then disappeared behind my house. When I parked the car and got out to reassure myself that I hadn't been dreaming, I spotted it again and watched it and its mate slowly climb to a great height and drift away on the thermals. I have seen them once before from a distance over the hills, but I've never had such a close encounter with one outside of captivity. The photo isn't good, but are proof at least to me, that my theophany was real!

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Book

Last year, I self-published a little book about my journey to the solo exhibition I had in July. I'd love for you to have a look and tell me what you think!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hi and thanks for visiting my new blogspot. I am really interested in connecting with other artists, especially mixed media artists, around the globe. Through this blog I am hoping to exchange ideas and resources as well.

I have just returned to classroom teaching after years of trying my hand at commercial art and various other things. I am enjoying it and am happy to say that the curriculum is really quite in keeping with my philosphy of art education, which is basically that everyone is creative and should have the opportunity to create in a way which allows them to express themselves. I think art-making is a spiritual process and so is a path-way for kids to find their true selves. The only down side is having to assess their work. I have a number of students who need learning support and I hate that I have to mark their work by comparing it to other 'mainstream' students. Perhaps that's why I am such a big fan of outsider and visionary art and why my own work is very much tending towards that genre.