Biography

A brief introduction

I hold exhibitions every couple of years.  The last one - "Fascination" - was in 2016. 

"Fascination: Maiko, Geiko, Kyoto"   2016

An exhibition of 26 coloured pencil drawings at Early Work Gallery. 

photo in Cockburn Gazette Aug 2012

"Life is Beautiful: Fremantle, Kyoto, Paris"  2014

An exhibition of coloured pencil drawings shown at Elements Art Gallery in September 2014.  The title was inspired by a piece of street art I saw in Paris. 

"Paris en hiver" - 2010 to 2012

I spent the month of December 2010 in Paris soaking up the winter atmosphere and taking many photos as I walked the freezing streets exploring.  I built a collection of work from the photos I took on that trip.

In April 2012 I returned to Paris for more exploring and photographs. It was spring at that time (but still freezing and raining).  I continued with the Paris theme, with a particular interest in graffiti and street art.

The Paris drawings were exhibited in my solo exhibition "Paris en hiver" at Elements Art Gallery in September 2012.

 

2003 to 2010

During this period I was obsessed about Japan, especially Kyoto and more especially geisha.

I first travelled to Japan in 2003 where, by chance, I came across my first sighting of a maiko (apprentice geisha).  That glance – followed by fumbling for camera and two swift photos (which became drawings) was the beginning of a passion of several years duration.

From 2003 to 2010 I made 13 trips to Japan primarily to take photographs for drawings. I wrote:

"The focus of my interest is the world of geisha.  (Actually the Kyoto word for geisha is geiko).   The journey, which ends with a drawing, begins with me hanging out on Kyoto streets in the various hanamachi (geisha districts – or ‘flower towns’) camera ready, waiting for geisha and maiko to pass by.  (It is important to be polite and unobtrusive as rude tourists with cameras are a curse of these women’s lives!)   I also attend dances when possible to witness the beauty of Nihon buyo (Japanese dance).   I walk the streets looking for interesting juxtapositions and stand on corners.  It requires great patience and endurance!

I try to show in my drawings the contrast between the exquisite costume and demeanour of the maiko or geisha and the often bland or even brutal urban environment she inhabits.  Inside the tea houses all may be tatami, paper and wood but outside it is concrete and glass.

I hope the tradition of the flower and willow world will continue however less and less women choose this life.  I may be capturing and drawing members of a unique society with a limited future."

 

Older works – 1989 to 2003

Landscapes were my main subject prior to my Japanese period.  I painted and drew landscapes mostly from New Zealand (where I was born) and the area where I live, the port town of Fremantle, Western Australia.    I have chosen my favourite landscapes from the past 20 years for this web site.

‘Street Theatre’ was for an exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre in 2004 looking at urban life/street art around Perth and Sydney.

‘Agricultural Show’ was a series of drawings from various country shows exhibited at Yallingup Galleries, Yallingup, Western Australia in 2002.

 

Coloured Pencils

For years I painted in oils however in 1994 I had the idea to try coloured pencils.  This was because they could be easily picked up and put down. At that time I had a new baby to contend with as well as trying to meet artistic demands.

I discovered that I loved to work in coloured pencils.  I enjoyed the process of using them more than painting in oils.  So after several years of working with both pencils and oils, in 2002 I gave up oils completely.  I am exclusively a coloured pencil artist now.

My photographs are my source material.  I gradually build up layers of colour on the paper.   One thing I like about pencils is that colour is mixed directly on the paper.  A work typically takes about three weeks to complete.

One can achieve a real luminosity with pencils.  They suit my subject matter which often involves highly detailed areas.  They are wonderful for rendering the qualities of light – from the cool buzz of neon to the warm glow of red Japanese lanterns.

My favourite pencils are Holbein Artists' Colored Pencils (from Japan). I also use Faber Castell Polychromos (German) and Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 (Swiss).  No water, solvents or fixatives are used in the process.

If you have comments or questions on subjects, techniques or enquiries about purchase please drop me a line.  I would love to hear from you.

 

My CURRICULUM VITAE is on my blog. 

 

I was interviewed by CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) in February 2015.  The interview is in two parts:  Part I and Part II

 

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