Monday, January 30, 2012


During the past year I've collected all sorts of great pieces from artist friends.  I swapped, purchased, won, and was given, all sorts of creative works for my collection so thought I'd share some with you.  These are generally from 'local' artists I regard as friends, and whose work I admire.

Exceptions first, I don't really know this first artist, Joshua, aged 7 yrs, but I did meet him at the exhibition where his work was shown.  I couldn't resist purchasing this engaging painting.  From my point of view people do a lot of 'brush mileage' to get to be as spontaneous this. If I was to try a painting of the Emergency Services vehicle I could not have done a better job. Clever Josh.

It holds up well in the company of many older and much more experienced artists on my walls.

Kim Schoenberger is a great friend, and I'm sure I'm her number one fan. The piece below, now on my deck wall,  was a swap at the COMA Xmas party, but I occasionally find her small pieces irresistible and have bought several.

Purchased from a COMA exhibition, and made from recycled vintage rubber stamps and scrabble tiles, This piece of Kim's is on my bookcase and reminds me to do all these things regularly.

 My barbecue table features this gorgeous plate,  much admired by visiting friends.

Kim is multi-talented indeed!

Wendy Epp is a prizewinning local artist. I purchased this small piece, 18 x 12 cm, at her recent solo exhibition. Unfortunately she doesn't have a web presence so I can't show you more.

I just LOVE Barry Smith's leaves.  I bought the large leaf and, on a separate occasion, he gave me the smaller one. Thanks Barry.  I can't wait to get my hands on some tiny ones for earrings.

Speaking of earrings, Barry (above) and Noela Mills collaborate to produce BAZOLA jewellery.  My latest purchase  was made from a silverplated trophy cup that I found at the dump.

Gorgeous aren't they?

I admire Noela's many talents, and her workshops are always worth attending. I managed to score one of her works in the 13th International Collage Exchange 

Lucky me.

Another prizewinning local artist is Kym Barrett.  I love her freedom of expression.  This piece was my most recent purchase.

It's only small... but I LOVE it.

COMA functions are always a source of interesting art.  It's a talented group, and I'm honoured to be part of it.  We had a sell and/or swap Xmas gathering.  Great fun and I managed to swap with Wendy Van Der Drift, coming home with this gem.

Last.... but definitely not least... is the gift from my old, old, friend Frank Merchant  when I visited him in Sydney.

Titled "The Manly Bowlers", I love the expressions.  Don't think they are the happiest lot.  Perhaps they take the game too seriously.

As you can see I'm always on the prowl for interesting work, preferably indicative of the artist's style.  I love being surrounded by reminders of the talented and creative friends I've collected along my way. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


To celebrate this day I want to share possibly THE most famous Australian poem ever... illustrating the second verse with some photos from my ever-expanding collection.

My Country     by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,

 A land of sweeping plains,

 Of ragged mountain ranges,

 Of droughts

 and flooding rains.

 I love her far horizons,

 I love her jewel-sea,

 Her beauty

 and her terror -

 The wide brown land for me!

 A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Am feeling very patriotic today... hope my photos do dear Dorothea justice... Jo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Art Year begins... with a vengeance

I did promise myself that this year I would not commit to too many projects but I really do love a challenge.

Of course I've only done A Letter A week for one year so HAD to join up again for just one more.  With an ongoing interest in digital art I've chosen this medium for my first alphabet for the year.

The image might well change when the entire alphabet is completed, but at least I'm in the process.

My collaging is done for now (see previous collage posts on the side-bar), and I have a painting on the easel at last.  This is intended for either the Rotary ArtCoast exhibition or the Sunshine Coast Art Awards and is part of a series I call "Aloft", all semi-abstract landscapes from a birdseye view.

LANDSBOROUGH FARMS - work in progress

I've also committed to doing a photographic self-portrait challenge... one each month for 'Urban Muser'.  I'm hoping this challenge will cause me to consider my photos more carefully. This month the task is "A Piece Of Me",  so here goes for a VERY amateur photographer. 

I thought I'd kick off with a real depiction of the beginning of the process, actually taking a photo (in the mirror).

Naturally I mucked around with it in Photoshop.  Hope that's acceptable within the guidelines.  After all, a photo is there to be 'artified' isn't it?  (I expect some flak re this from REAL photographers)

So...... that's two challenges on top of my International Collage Exchange and 2012 COMA shows (probably four this year), plus general painting awards and exhibitions... too much you think?  Probably, but life's too short to waste.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Visiting FRANK MERCHANT - artist

Frank at home
Before I left Sydney twelve years ago to move to Queensland I belonged to an art group called 'H12'.  The title came from our connection through art school at Hornsby TAFE college.

We met monthly for lunch and some creative play such as drawing each other, or visiting exhibitions, and exhibited our own work in various galleries across Sydney.

All female, other than our token 'bloke' Frank, we had a wonderful connection... and still do... tho' we have each gone in different directions in the intervening years.

A recent call from Sydney asked if I could return briefly for Frank's 80th birthday (my how the years roll on).  Could I what ?  Of course I could!

The few remaining 'core' group all duly arrived at Frank's house armed with food and drink ready to celebrate the life of this prolific, and  much under-rated artist.

Deb V H , Me, Frank, Chris, Jen, Rhonda, Deb A, Shirley
Frank at 80
Frank has always been dedicated to his art and works daily in his studio that is packed to the rafters with the most amazing, colourful, and vigorous work. Tho' mostly acrylics, he often uses ink and pastels for drawings casually piled high on chairs... like these...

We couldn't wait to spread them on the floor for a better look. 

Chris sorting out the works
This work, on four sheets, was an absolute winner. (pardon the photography)


Frank is the most modest and unassuming person. but so talented.  It has always been a surprise to us all that he is unknown, but he does not make an effort to show his work.

His friend, photographer Jozef Vissel has documented lots of it on a web page. Jozef is a well-known photographer here in Australia, with much work archived in the Mitchell Library.

click HERE to see it.

We were each invited to select a work from the pile on the chair to take away with us.  How generous!  Shirley got the above and I got a wonderful piece called "the Manly Bowlers" that I need to uncurl before I can photograph... sorry... will do soon.

Why oh why some gallery hasn't picked him up is amazing!  If anyone wants to pass this on to a gallery owner please do so. I will be canvassing galleries that I know,  and hope that someone can see the merit in this enormous body of work.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Almost done collaging...

... I think.  I just have to clear the decks so I can paint.

Have still a few in progress that might, or might not, be completed but in my desperation I have actually done a VERY minimalist collage that even I thought was inspired.  It began with a simple gestural brush stroke on watercolour paper.  I cut the stroke into 3 pieces and chose two of them for this....

The 'dotty' pieces are enamelled glass, fired in my kiln (some bits left over from previous ceramic/glass sculptures).

At present I am enchanted with the simplicity (as one who tends to overwork stuff), and probably wont part with it for a while. That is, until I am able to simplify on demand.

I mean compare it with this...

...too much going on here, by comparison. 

What do you think?

Monday, January 9, 2012

.. will it never end?...

... it has to or I'll never paint again.  Meanwhile here's the next lot of collages...

THE PARTY'S OVER - painted and handmade papers, bottletops, chocolate wrappers
STARS AND STRIPES -  handmade and painted papers, sequin waste, buttons
R U 1 -  handmade, painted, and printed papers.. stick on letters, acrylic paint, gold leaf

Am off to Sydney for a few days.  Perhaps that will put a full stop to this obsessive episode?

Friday, January 6, 2012

STILL Collaging....

... and I can't seem to stop.  I have such a mess in my studio that only fellow collagists would understand, and I really need to clear the decks for my painting schedule to begin.  But I can't !!  R says when I'm on a roll I should forget everything and keep on going.  He's such a dear.  I guess I'll just have to listen and go with the flow.

INDOCHINA - found and painted papers, magazine cut out 

BOUND - handmade and painted papers, ceramic leaf, gold thread

WITH OPEN ARMS - acrylics, painted and handmade papers, gold leaf

... and there's more to come, very soon.  See you shortly.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Letter A Week 2012 - Intro

 Another ALAW  year has begun and my brain is in overdrive. This is this year's brief from Fiona:

"The aim is simply to:Write/create a letter a week,  creating 52 letters Which must
form 2   x   alphabets (that is not 52 x the letter ‘A’) By the end of 2012.

The main rule is that the letter must be presented on a piece of material measuring
 7cm x 7cm – this helps keep a sense of uniformity amongst the pieces which helps
with exhibitioncoherence. The other criterion for 2012 is that ONEalphabet has to
meet the criteria of "Going dotty – polka dots and pixels" 

Last year was my first ALAW and I so enjoyed the challenge that I'm back again to give it another go.

In 2011 my first choice of tools to work with was collage/mixed media...

1st alphabet 2011
 I deviated a little from this with my second alphabet, and planned to make a mini-book.  My fondness for bending the rules a little made me interpret the 'letter a week' thing literally and I actually wrote a letter for each week, using the relevant 'letter' each time.  The 'letters' were printed on vellum, attached with sealing wax to ink-splattered watercolour paper.

Well, I finished the signatures but still haven't sewn them together.  I will, give me a little time.

This year's 'dotty' thingy might mean pixels to me, then again who knows what other inspiration might strike.

Thanks to Fiona there's a year of incredible creativity about to unfold on this site, and I can hardly wait for the show to begin.

If you want to see how creative people are, just visit last year's site:

Sunday, January 1, 2012


It is almost 5 am on the first day of 2012 and I feel my first post for the year should be to thank you all for visiting my blog, and for the support and encouragement that you've given me.  Because of you I have had a most interesting and productive 2011.

My wish for you.....

May the sun rise on a year filled with joy, good health, and creativity.... and may Richard and I propose a toast to you all....

I look forward to some wonderful 'inter-blogging' experiences.