A Child’s Garden

"A Child's Garden" 2015 Acrylic and enamel on canvas 122 x 180 cm

“A Child’s Garden” 2015 Acrylic and enamel on canvas 122 x 180 cm

First completed painting for the year. A Christmas project…largely painted on the back veranda shifted from shady spot to shady spot. Still ended up with a sunburnt neck!


Variations on a theme


The transformation comes and goes, sometimes gradually, sometimes at more regular intervals, like the sun falling on wing tips and then it is all consuming. Those beams of light exposing uncertainty, blue fading to leave the shape of a new painting, gleaming, full of promise but not yet real, just an idea. Outlined against the sky, brilliant like metal but in equal part, already a failure. Work consumes me – my day job takes almost as much as I can give. Then with the promise of a shiny playground, I flounder and stall. The new remains unformed, just a list on a page, and my lack of courage or energy to start the new series torments me. I replace uncertainty by diving for pearls, those last illusive images that resonate with an accumulated honesty.

Behind the wire

Behind the wire

 Pictures can become like a dialogue that has been over rehearsed. The transition from subject to subject then becomes a device to avoid endless repetition. Knowing the right time to change direction is an art within the art. Whose eye is upon you? Whose attention do you seek? It’s the same old argument – paint for your self, or paint for others? The madness is still strong 27 years on and the ever watchful bird hovers expecting change, demanding success, something that can be measured. Then everything before is relegated, no longer living for me, yet still raw and painful. Angst is like over salting the cook pot, too much will spoil the sincerity. I guess I’m looking for that one image that sums up the whole body of work. A picture that once achieved makes the necessity to continue the subject redundant. Unless I could sell the stuff in which case I would be motivated by commercial concerns, I suppose.

Flutter and Fade

Small mural paste-up, a touch of colour in a drab underpass

Small mural paste-up, a touch of colour in a drab underpass

A long afternoon of exploring the back streets lay ahead. This time south of Kingsford Smith drive, a large arterial dividing suburbs and whose street lamps illuminate the back veranda by night. Sunday afternoons also hold a special light, and a mood sharpened by the prospect of diminishing freedom before another working week. It makes one embrace the activity with extra effort and weave a fabric of laughter and simple acts – moment by moment. A tantrum is more easily tolerated, and when a suitably dreary patch of grey presents as a likely ground for street art, the feeling that it was meant to be prevails.

We rounded one curve from a bike path hugging a stretch of green, into another made tunnel like by dense over hanging greenery spilling over back fences on one side, and screening a large concrete culvert on the other. Then down a windy slope to where the grey walls of the underpass presented themselves. The kids dismount, swoop and prowl, flutter and fade as I add my colourful formation – an incongruous mystery. I pick up the pace chased by an encroaching shadow and only a solo jogger bares witness contributing a smiley hello to the afternoon’s proceedings. With the playtime amnesty broken by a fresh tiff, and a coolness returning to the air, we don helmets and head for home, happy to call it a day.


Crow Cries


"Crow Cries" paste-up 22/07/2014 acrylic and pastel on paper Mount St Lyneham

“Crow Cries” paste-up 22/07/2014 acrylic and pastel on paper Mount St Lyneham

Blank walls. They are everywhere. Hospital green, tomb stone grey, white wash smooth, clinical duck egg blue. I’ve always noticed them, or at least imagined how to subvert their silence. The blank page, the blank canvas and the blank wall are not at all dissimilar, they beg for creative interference. 

A tag in silver over painted my last bird. A rough job possibly interrupted half way, or by the hand of a beginner. My paste-up was still visible in a textural manner – would have a made a nice shot, but the wall was over painted again, this time with no colour grey, ready for its next makeover. 


I’ve been waiting for the right night to begin again. But 5 minutes down the road I was engulfed in an ominous fog that reduced visibility to 5 metres. That feeling of really just wanting to curl up under a doona began to eat at my resolve, but I persisted, and the expedition was as smooth as alabaster. A mask for when I go beyond myself.