Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Glass squirrel
26x 51 cm (10" x 20")
Acrylic on Canvas

Many years ago I gave my mother a smokey glass squirrel. It sat on her kitchen cupboard for a long time and now sits on mine, eternally eating its acorn.

I painted the squirrel over the top of another painting which had words written on it. In the finished painting you can  see through the squirrel to the words beneath. Just!

I particularly like the effect. It will be an inspiration for the next painting. Funny how these things happen. Happy accidents.

I write this on the cusp of the new year - so happy new year for 2015. I wish heath and all the acorns you desire.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday morning beach

View over to the Palm Beach headland, the most northern tip of Sydney.
The turquoise water that turns pale green as it forms an incoming wave, the splash of water as it reaches the shore, the footprints in soft wet sand. That is the NSW Central Coast on this lovely Monday morning.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Have a merry Christmas (whereever you are perched)

It is the season to ...
be laid back
be laid

 Have a Happy Christmas
and may we all be on our perches
this time next year.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 cm
Finally the nectarines made it onto canvas and this time they stayed there.

The jug and hibiscus paintings which originally included nectarines are still sitting expectantly on the second easel, waiting for additions. Hmmm, they may be waiting some time. In the meantime I am drawing white fleshed peaches.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The smaller the coffin ...

"The smaller the coffin, the heavier it is to carry. It's a very, very tragic day." Defense Minister Khawaja Asif.
Such dreadful news this morning of the massacre of children in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. I worked for some time in Pakistan and visited Peshawar and just like Emma Ayers whose book I am about to buy, my visits left me with a great regard for the Pakistani people. My heart goes out to them.

A Pakistani commentator writes that it is not about religion but about power.

The 'Sydney siege' was not about religion but about one man's delusion. In Pakistan both perpetrators and victims are Muslim but the obvious implications are no doubt lost on the host of racist commentators who continue to exploit the Sydney event to spread racial hate messages.

To his credit PM Tony Abbott is refusing to blame Islam for the tragic turn of events in Sydney, but the Pakistan massacre should give our government pause to think. Our Government sending people back to their home countries even when they are clearly unsafe. This has nothing to do with 'saving lives of boat people' and shows the government's asylum seeker policy is just vindictive and mean-spirited.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Sydney-siders have been transfixed this afternoon by the hostage drama at the Lindt chocolate shop in Martin Place. It is extraordinary the media coverage that one lone gunman can engender. Some reprehensible (you can guess which) media outlets have been exploiting the drama to fan the flames of Islamaphobia but the response of ordinary Australians has been swift.

Someone (tweeter sirtessa) offered to travel with people wearing religious clothing who might feel unsafe and labelled it with the twitter hashtag #illridewithyou.

Within 3 hours 65,000 (yes, sixty five thousand) other people offered to ride with those feeling threatened. People are writing tags for their bags so they can be identified and someone is printing buttons.

One tweeter wrote " hate can't win against hate, but love can."

Addendum (Tuesday morning): This is Russell Brand's take on the events yesterday.

Overnight Rupert Murdoch has been online praising the efforts of his newspaper the Daily Telegraph but most are appalled by the fear-mongering of this publication.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Travel shenanigans

Imagine being on a plane for a long haul flight to Sydney, not being able to land there because of debris on the runway, then being diverted to Canberra where you have to wait a further eight hours before a plane from Sydney can come and collect you (the crew had exceeded their maximum flying hours) so  you can be flown back to Sydney to go through customs. That is exactly what happened this week - and the passengers were understandably upset.

There are worse things that could happen of course, but that can't have been much of a consolation.

This little sketch was painted in Sydney in 2007 while I was waiting for a flight.  My subject has a real 'airport' look about her hasn't she?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Brian Wood ceramic (3)

Brian Wood jug
The painting of Brian Wood's ceramic jug has gone through many iterations (see two of them below). I tried putting several items in the picture with the jug but none of them worked. The jug sat there throughout, surviving the several over-paintings. It is a very determined jug.

Finally I decided to make the painting a colour study and now I rather like it.

I painted some pink Hibiscus flowers in a vase with similar colours. I like using a similar colour combination over two or more paintings as they look good on the wall together. 

The vase with Hibiscus flowers originally sat on a draped white cloth and there were two nectarines in the picture. Once again the nectarines didn't survive the painting process.

Vase of pink Hibiscus flowers.
In the meantime the nectarines have all been consumed but they are still in season so today I bought some more.

The next painting is going to be of a plate of nectarines.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Australia Piano Quartet at the Utzon Room

Australia Piano Quartet
There is a small concert room at the Sydney Opera House called the Utzon Room. It is well named as it is one of the nicest spaces in the opera house. It is small so the concerts are intimate and you listen to music while looking out over Sydney Harbour.

Last Tuesday the Australia Piano Quartet played their last concert of the year in the Utzon Room. The quartet comprises  (Rebecca Chan (violin), Thomas Rann (cello), Evgeny Ukhanov (piano) and James Wannan (viola).

They are vibrant, young and virtuosic and their program included Mozart, Saint-Saens and the new commissioned work In Search of Asylum by Pozniak. Rebecca Chan explained how the challenging Pozniak piece put the musicians into the mind-space of the asylum seeker and a spokeswoman from the Asylum Seeker Resource Center spoke about how they are trying to help those arriving on Australian shores.

The view is spectacular  even without the huge cruiser that was tugged past the window. Once the musicians started playing however, all eyes were on them.
Before the concert began
Cruise ship is tugged out of the harbour

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Misogyny in Australia

One women is killed every eight days in Australia by her partner or former partner.  They call it the silent epidemic. Why is it silent? Why are we blind?

We are a society where the pay gap between men and women is now 17% , where business characteristically overlooks women when appointing board members (still less than 19%) and where half the population is represented in the Federal Government Cabinet by a single solitary woman. That solitary woman is vocal about 'not being a feminist'.

Misogyny has become so much part of the political fabric that parliamentary commentators were caught on the wrong side of the fence when Julia Gillard defended herself from charges of misogyny by Tony Abbott in Parliament. They wrote articles chastising Gillard for her speech while the speech video went viral, shared by men and women across the country who were sick of the misogynistic venom that Gillard had faced. Later a choir made music to the speech and I like to think this might be the turning point, a point where we start to rethink our values. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Brian Wood jug

Brian Wood jug.
My painting of the Brian Wood jug is morphing. I painted it first with a bowl of nectarines and a jug of lavender but it was unbalanced, the jug got lost, the lavender didn't fit and the nectarines took over. That was a long list of deficiencies and although I had spent a long time painting the nectarines (so delicious they looked too) in the end I couldn't retain them and painted the whole lot out.

At the moment the jug stands on its own on a back background. I am not sure what the next step will be. Painting is a battle, as one of the art school tutors said. At the time I had not believed him, but increasingly, I do.