Portrait of the first female president of the AMA in South Australia

Portrait of Dr Jeanette Linn, 2011, Oil on Linen, 80cm x 60cm

In February I was lucky enough to make the official portrait of the indomitable Dr Jeanette Linn for the South Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association.

Jeanette at eighty has a sharp intellect and cheeky wit, so the twelve or so sessions spent with her in my studio making this portrait were utterly delightful. I made a wonderful friend and was inspired by her contribution  to the community and her achievements.

I am grateful to the AMA for commissioning this portrait, and to Jeanette for her willingness (actually insistence) to make the work entirely from life.

If you happen to be visiting the board room at the AMA in Adelaide – check it out!


“To tell a constant story” will be installed on Thursday, 3rd February. This exhibition of 10 paintings and an ever-expanding cohort of drawings can be found in “Gallery A” on the ground floor of the Good Friday building, The Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide (enter from Kermode street). The exhibition runs until the 30th April, with a launch function on the 16th February. During the exhibition time I have been invited to wander the public spaces of the hospital and make drawings, which will be added to the installation as they are completed.

"Little Red Riding Hood", 2011, Oil on linen, 45cm x 60cm
"Rapunzel", 2011, Oil on linen, 45cm x 60cm

Drawings from my daily drawing project “Message in a bottle” will be installed as part of this exhibition. You can be part of “Message in a bottle” by clicking on the link at right, under “Daily Devotion”. If it makes you curious, subscribe by scrolling to “Email subscription” at the bottom of the page and signing up. A drawing will arrive for you by email every day, no strings attached.

I hope you can make it to the exhibition at least once!

To tell a constant story

"The Constant Story", 2010, Oil on linen, 60cm x 80cm

My exhibition is due to open at Gallery A, The Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide on 2nd February.

There will be a number of paintings as well as an installation of some of the drawings from “Message in a bottle”  (see column at right)

This series is part of my own struggle to become part of the constant story of painting. For this body of work, I have taken my practice back to a personal exploration of materials. The palette is limited to three earth colours and white. Many of the supports I have prepared from scratch, starting with raw linen and rabbit skin glue. There is a simple compositional concept, generally a single figure flanked by pared back architectural elements around the golden mean.  The result is a series of quiet and harmonious works.

Aside from the formal and material story, the paintings are linked by a narrative theme. The subjects of the paintings are contemporary children, loosely linked to a fairy-tale by the addition of a symbolic object.

Fairy tales, myths and legends, like painting, are evidence of the constant story of humanity. Timelessness in what seems like a rapidly changing and unstable world. They are simple tales often told to children, yet also edgy and dark, with sometimes complex and perplexing meanings, where resolution occurs through magical intervention.

In my paintings, children on the edge of puberty ponder their future from their mythical childhood. The mood of the paintings is quiet and calm, a point of stillness where, as if by magic, time is detached from its linear progression.

I hope to present an exhibition of paintings that enhance and sit well in the physical and psychological environment of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Their narrative theme is one with which children can identify.

They are quiet and contemplative, fostering a sense of calm. They are serious in intent, with metaphorical content that goes beyond their simple narrative. My intention is to  present serious aesthetic activity in the hospital environment which may honour and affirm the clients, staff and visitors for whom the work is intended.

"Waiting for a Prince", 2010, oil on linen, 60cm x 80cm

Working with colour – some new paintings

Here are four new paintings made again with a limited palette, but now using information from drawings I have been making every day. I’ve enjoyed working with this explosion of colour, in a rapid intuitive way. The works will be part of a small group exhibition at St Peter’s College this week.

I have been working hard on my daily drawing project – you can see this by clicking on “Message in a bottle…” on the right hand side of this page. This is really my major work, an ongoing offering to anyone who stumbles across it. Nothing would make me happier than you having a look at the small drawings regularly!

I have also been part of “Wallpaper” – an exhibition of works on paper by staff and alumni of Adelaide Central School of Art. It’s a lovely and varied show, so check it out if you are in the area – Central Gallery, Osmond Terrace, Norwood (near the corner with The Parade).

This is one of the works – you can see the other three in “Message in a bottle…” on days 25th – 28th September. Or maybe you can visit the exhibition!

Family with brown sofa and blue towel

The fairy tale continues?

" The Princess and the Pea" (work in progress)' 2010, oil on canvas, 60cm x 80cm

Last time I posted I promised details of the “Goodine’s Bistro” exhibition – well, sadly, Goodine’s has closed and so the paintings made for the space cannot be shown there after all! I have included a couple of images here.

The work continues however, and I am going to make use of this new opportunity to expand and develop the theme.

"Hansel and Gretel" (work in progress), 2010, oil on canvas, 60cm x 80cm
"Rhys draws Terry in the studio", Aquarelle on paper

In the meantime I have had a stint as the “Artist in Residence” at St Peter’s boy’s college in Adelaide. This has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the boys on two different projects. One has been a drawing project based on my “moving” drawings which I have worked on with several classes of year nine and ten boys. We have explored some ways of dealing with drawing a moving figure (using the teachers as models!), and then gone on to discuss and explore the non-representative qualities in drawing. I have learnt so much about my own process through implementing this project, and the boys have been very responsive, and patient with me as well.

We have also worked on a lunch time collaborative project – a large double canvas where we have worked with motifs referencing the college (keys, college buildings and the colour blue) and using drawing, stencilling, collaging and layered paint have built the work based on a stolen compositional idea from Rene Magritte!

Here are some drawings I have done whilst working with some of the year twelve boys on drawings for their portfolios. I hope I can post some images of work  done by the boys later.

“Terry draws me at the big table”, Aquarelle on paper

Terry and the blue door, Aquarelle on paper

Cinderella and Jack

Cinderella (detail) 2010, work in progress. Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 80cm
Jack and the beanstalk (detail) 2010, work in progress, Oil on canvas, 60cm x 80cm

Work continues on the paintings destined for the walls of “Goodine’s Bistro”. These works are designed to sit happily in the bistro, both formally and thematically. However, each one works alone and elsewhere, too! The installation of nine paintings will be opening in late August for three months. Works will be for sale.

The images you see here are details only – to see the whole thing you will have to come to Goodine’s. Whilst there why not enjoy a wonderful coffee, pizza or meal? I will post details of the exhibition in mid July.

Once upon a time…

Snow White (detail) 2010, Oil on canvas, 60cm x 80cm
Snow White (detail), 2010, Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 80cm

In the last couple of weeks I have started work on a painting installation for “Goodine’s Bistro”. With any luck and a whole lot of hard work it will be ready for SALA week. I am working with a severely limited palette, and more speed than usual. These images are from the first painting, and are in progress.

I’d also like to mention The Mother’s May exhibition at The Women’s and Children’s Hospital. A number of artists  (including me) have donated small (30cm x 40cm ) works to raise funds for the hospital. All for sale at a very reasonable price! An image of one of my donated works appears below. Why not go along and check it out, gallery one at the WCH, just near the hospital school.

Mother and Daughter 2 (Icon), 2010, oil on canvas, 30cm x 40cm

Playing with Paint

I’m back in my studio now, making a series of small and (hopefully) quick works with no particular subject theme, but all the same size, and, at least for the moment, all made with a strictly limited palette (three colours and white).

This one was prompted by my visit to “Putsch” during the Festival of Arts, the exhibition by the ProppaNOW collective at Tandanya. The very angry, insightful, politically incorrect (or is he just really politically correct?) fearlessly awful, marvellously aggrieved Richard Bell managed to fill me with both joy and deep shame with his video work (or was it a doco?) “Scratch an Aussie”.

I also managed to get along to the “Masters from Paris” exhibition in Canberra. Not sure whether it was really worth the hours of queueing and stuffy crowded rooms. Nevertheless there were some beautiful moments. My favourite was a small Gaugin landscape. Emile Bernard’s Breton works were quietly gorgeous. It was also interesting to see the journey of various individual artists through the different movements, for example Maurice Denis who seemed to crop up in every room.

I am still managing to draw fairly frequently (check my Flickr site). A favourite subject is the kids “interacting” on their computer – probably because it’s the only way to find them in one spot for any length of time.

Why I have not been in the Studio

We have just finished the wonderful mad three or so weeks of the Adelaide Festival and Fringe. Artist’s week, The Adelaide International and The Adelaide Biennial have managed to keep me away from my studio in large chunks.

I was intensely engaged for over two weeks in the Studio Orta workshop, making hearts for Jorge Orta’s Heart Project. It was an inspiring insight into the potential of collaborative and community based Art action. The results, and other work produced by Lucy and Jorge Orta and their collaborators can be seen at the Jam Factory gallery in Adelaide until the end of March, as part of “Apart , we are together”, the Adelaide International exhibition.

Sally, emerging artist?

Emerging from what? An egg? the swamp? The shower?

Metamorphosis is implied, at least.

In my case from sensible, high income earning professional to less sensible low income earning professional.

Keep an eye on this site to see what I am up to in the studio.