Wednesday, June 23, 2021

STAGES: photography through the pandemic

I’m happy to have learned that the photographic work pictured above, Covert Covid 1: Self-portrait in Anaxidia lactea Moth Mask, (2020-21) has been selected for inclusion in STAGES: photography through the pandemic, an evolving exhibition in the MGA Atrium Gallery, Monash Gallery of Art. 

Extract from my artist statement:

The work, one of a suite of twelve, was begun during the relatively early days of lockdown, when the efficacy of face masks was still under debate. It was only later that mask wearing became recognised as an essential protective measure, one that remains firmly embedded in our daily lives. 

STAGES: photography through the pandemic runs from 1 June – 29 August 2021

Monash Gallery of Art - The Australian Home of Photography 

860 Ferntree Gully Road

Wheelers Hill Victoria 3150 Australia

Phone +61 3 8544 0500


Tuesday - Friday: 10 am - 5 pm

Weekends: 10 am - 4 pm

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

One Hundred Faces 2021

For the second time since its inception in 2020, I’m participating in the group exhibition ONE HUNDRED FACES, curated by Trudy McLauchlan. From Saturday, 26 June, a grid of 100 disparate faces created by Ballarat artists will be on display in the window of Trudy’s enchanting store, Playing in the Attic.

Pictured from top:

Woman with Ruby Earrings, 2021, acrylic on canvas panel, 10 x 10 cm

Young Woman with Ringlets, 2021, acrylic on canvas panel, 10 x 10 cm



Playing in the Attic, 119a Sturt Street, Ballarat, Vic 3350

Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm

ONE HUNDRED FACES is part of the 2021 Ballarat Winter Festival, which runs from 26 June - 18 July. The installation can be viewed 24 hours a day until the festival’s end.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Eyes Have It

My linocut Lace Face (A/P, 1996, 46 x 30 cm) has been included in the group exhibition The Eyes Have It: featuring works from the Warrnambool Art Gallery Collection. 

A response to mask wearing, quarantining, closed borders and isolation during the time of COVID-19, this exhibition presents images and objects that explore the themes of observation and monitoring; restrictions on movement and the effects of anxiety. Artists have long dealt with aspects of alienation, uncertainty and social disruption. Though the works in this exhibition were made without the direct influence of COVID-19 they interact with our moment in time and are curiously prophetic.

- From Warrnambool Art Gallery’s website.

I’m delighted to see my work is hanging next to Pierced, a linocut by my old friend, Heather Shimmen. Coincidentally, Shane Jones and I have a copy of this print in our own collection. Shane also has a work in The Eyes Have It, a self-portrait titled Painting Drawing (2010), pictured below. You can see additional installation views on his blog post of Monday, 14 June

At this stage, we haven’t had a chance to see the exhibition, so we’re indebted to 

Kathryn Ryan for the photos. Kathryn runs a fantastic Instagram/Facebook page, Warrnambool Region Arts, which has just celebrated its first anniversary. You can find it on Instagram HERE and on Facebook HERE

The Eyes Have It opened on Saturday, 5 June and runs to Sunday, 26 September 2021.

Warrnambool Art Gallery

26 Liebig Street 


Phone: +61 (0)3 5559 4949


Opening Hours:

Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm

Saturday - Sunday: 10am - 3pm

Public Holidays: 10am - 3pm

Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday

Monday, June 14, 2021

Extended dates for INTO ME SEE

Some positive post-lockdown news: the group show INTO ME SEE has been extended to Saturday 19 June 2021. 

Venue: The One Star Gallery, 301-303 Victoria Street, West Melbourne 3003

Gallery hours: Wednesday-Friday 3-7 pm and Saturday 1-7 pm

To learn more about the exhibition, go HERE and HERE.

INTO ME SEE was curated by Mariella Del Conte. For further information, visit the The One Star Gallery on Instagram HERE or on Facebook HERE

Pictured above LHS, top: detail of my painting New Horizon, 2020, acrylic on canvas. LHS, bottom: detail of my drawing Maid of Honour, 2020, watercolour, water soluble graphite and pigmented drawing ink. Click on the image for a clearer view. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

GATHER with Minerva's Books & Ideas


In recent years I’ve become an inveterate devourer of podcasts, and one of my favourites is a relatively new kid on the block, GATHER with Minerva’s Books & Ideas. The series was conceived and created on traditional Wadawurrung land here in Ballarat by its presenter, Amy Tsilemanis (

Amy describes GATHER as: “Audio adventures exploring the lives of books, and the ideas they ignite and illuminate. Each episode is themed and unfurls from a book or books, and features the work of artists, writers, musicians and thinkers”. 

Fairy Tales Continued, the most recent episode, includes my fairy tale, The Moth and the Butterflies. (The link is here: The story is superbly read by Ballarat-based artist and musician, Ellen Sorensen ( Over the years, I’ve been gratified and delighted by other aural presentations of my stories, including a wonderful reading by Amy herself (see her Instagram post of August 20, 2020) and am slowly coming to the realisation that, like fairy tales of old, they are best savoured when read out loud.  

The Moth and the Butterflies is part of my illustrated anthology, There was once…The collected fairy tales, currently available at that “curious extraordinarium of papery delights”, Playing in the Attic (, which you’ll find nestled in the historic Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute building in Sturt Street, Ballarat. 

A link to all episodes of GATHER is here:

The website for Miverva’s Books is here:

The Minerva Books Facebook and Instagram pages are here: and here:

Monday, June 7, 2021

Memorial de Maria Moura

The edition of my linocut Lace Face (1996) sold out many years ago, but lately it seems to have taken on a life of its own. See Blog Post Tuesday, March 23, 2021. The work will also be included my APW George Collie Memorial Print Award show at the Australian Print Workshop in March, 2022.

In January 2021, I was approached by a Brazilian publisher seeking permission to reproduce Lace Face on the front cover of a special edition of the biography Memorial de Maria Moura by Rachel de Queiroz. The book has since been published, and this is the result. 

Maria Lacerda de Moura (1887-1945) was an author, educator, political activist and social reformer whose significance in both Brazilian and feminist history can’t be stressed highly enough. You can read about her HERE and HERE.

The biography, which is in Portuguese, is published by Grupo Editorial Record, Brazil in a limited edition of 2000. The website for Grupo Editorial Record (Record Publishing Group) is HERE*. For more about the special edition, go HERE* and for the Kindle and paperback versions of the book, go HERE*. (*Note: these sites are in Portuguese. The new edition will not be published in English).

Memorial de Maria Moura was first published in 1992. A  biography of its author, Rachel de Queiroz, (1919-2003) is HERE.

To view the linocut, Lace Face, visit my website HERE

Thursday, June 3, 2021

A Room of One’s Own


Pictured above: a corner of my freshly tidied and slightly rearranged studio, with a place for everything and everything in its place - well, almost. (Click on image for a clearer view). 

Over the past several weeks, all of the work surfaces had become increasingly cluttered and it became difficult to think clearly, much less create work in there. My workspace is quite small and a build-up of disorder can render it practically unworkable. Fortunately Alice was on hand to supervise (although I suspect she preferred the former chaos). Next to her is a copy of The Gentle Arts - Two Hundred Years of Australian Women’s Domestic and Decorative Arts by Jennifer Isaacs, a much treasured reference book I’ve been revisiting during the making of a current work. (More about this in a future post). 

The room actually needs a total overhaul in order to make better use of storage, but at least this is a start. On the bookshelves a postcard of Virginia Woolf, author of the seminal A Room of One’s Own (as indeed this one is) has followed me from studio to studio. It was purchased many years ago at one of my favourite places, London’s National Portrait Gallery. The shelves were built by Shane in an alcove that previously housed an inbuilt dressing table. 

Melbourne begins a further seven days of lockdown from midnight tonight, while restrictions in regional Victoria will be carefully eased. Who knows what the next seven days will bring? In these uncertain times, I’m extremely thankful for this room of my own and for the most part, this is where I’ll be.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A visit to Queenscliff Gallery

Last Thursday, with a week-long lockdown looming in the state of Victoria, Shane and I decided to seize the moment and head for Queenscliff to see the Leigh Hobbs/Jim Pavlidis exhibition at Queenscliff Gallery. It was a delightful way to spend our last day of freedom (at least, for the next seven days). The show is superb, a real balm for the soul, and the works of the two artists, who are longtime friends, complement each other beautifully. For a virtual tour of the exhibition, go HERE.

Four of my homo-insecta watercolours, pictured above and below, are on display on the mezzanine level of the gallery. (A fifth watercolour, Ladybird Woman, had just flown away to be part of a private collection in Sydney). That’s Shane and I viewing the remaining works in the photo second from bottom below. (Photo credit: Theo Mantalvanos).

We were so completely engrossed with Leigh and Jim’s exhibition, I never got around to taking any installation views - aside from one particular work. I was especially drawn to the series of tower paintings that Leigh made specifically for the show. Shane and I were privileged to see them in various stages of progress during visits to Leigh’s studio, so I was already familiar with the paintings. In fact, for reasons that are too layered and complex to go into here, several of them have taken on a deep personal significance. If I were to summarise their meaning for me in only one word, however, it would be ‘resilience’.

Initially I thought every work I had my heart set on had sold. There was one notable exception: Spiral Tower (oil on canvas board, 20.3 x 15.2 cm) pictured below. For reasons I still can’t fathom, it wasn’t on my initial shortlist, even though it’s linked closely to the other paintings that spoke so profoundly to me. Now it feels as if I was fated to have this work and can’t wait to bring it home. I’ve since spoken to Leigh, who tells me it’s the last tower painting he made and that it sums up all that he was aiming to express in this series; he added that it’s his personal favourite. It’s mine too.

Many thanks to Theo Mantalvanos, Queenscliff Gallery Co-Director, for your warm welcome. I’m very much looking forward to showing with you and Soula in late September!

The Hobbs/Pavlidis exhibition was originally scheduled to finish tomorrow, 31 May, which of course runs into the 7-day circuit breaker. However, in recent good news, a special encore presentation of the show will be held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, 12 - 14 June. 

Meanwhile, although the gallery is currently closed, the works of all QG’s represented and guest artists can be viewed 24/7 by clicking HERE

Monday, May 17, 2021

INTO ME SEE (Part 2)

Following directly from my last post is a preview of the two works that are part of the upcoming exhibition, INTO ME SEE at The One Star Gallery in West Melbourne.

The construct of INTO ME SEE (scroll down to read the exhibition brief, or click HERE) underpins much of my own work, which focuses primarily on women’s hidden histories. One of its dominant motifs is the ‘figure seen from behind’, or Rückenfigur. A perpetual outsider, the Rückenfigur reflects a mood of quietude and isolation. Like the protagonist of New Horizon, 2020, pictured top, (1) she invites us to share her journey, learn her story and see the world through her eyes, to the extent that we become as one with her. 

The Rückenfigur addresses a particularly divisive time in our history, when our state of disconnection - from ourselves, from each other and from the natural world - seems greater than ever before. 

My drawing Maid of Honour, 2020, pictured above, (2) alludes to the centuries-long tradition of women stitching their stories onto fabric in place of ink and paper. The pattern on the anonymous subject’s elaborately tattooed back draws parallels between the tattoo and embroidery needle. It is based on a detail from Maids of Honour, an embroidery pattern designed by May Morris (1862-1938). Morris, who characteristically drew her inspiration directly from nature, was a significant contributor to the Arts and Crafts Movement, a prolific embroiderer, textile, wallpaper and jewellery designer and educator. Even now, however, her designs are sometimes attributed to her more famous father, William Morris. 

INTO ME SEE is curated by Mariella Del Conte. Exhibiting artists are: Camilla Gold, Deborah Klein, Deborah Walker, Georgia Janetzki, Heidi Yardley, Jane Burton, Jenny Watson, Katrina Beale, Lisa Barmby, Lisa Roet, Mina Young, Polly Borland, Sophia Hewson, Susan Wyers, Victoria Hartcup, Edwina Preston and Anna White.

Opening night: Thursday, 20 May, 6 - 8 pm

The One Star Gallery, 301-303 Victoria Street, West Melbourne, 3003

Gallery hours: 3 - 7 pm Monday - Friday, or by appointment: 0432357537


Instagram: @onestarlounge and Mariella Del Conte: @salonhang

INTO ME SEE runs from 19 May - 12 June


Pictured  from top: 

(1) New Horizon, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8 cm 

(2) Maid of Honour, 2020, ink, watercolour and water soluble graphite on Khadi paper, 42 x 30 cm 

(3) Mick Harvey, AKA Neo Arts, co-founder (with Katrina Beale) of The One Star Gallery, pictured here with exhibition curator Mariella Del Conte as they begin the installation of INTO ME SEE. My two works are in the foreground. In the background, L-R, are works by Deborah Walker and Heidi Yardley. Mick Harvey’s Instagram page is HERE.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

INTO ME SEE (Part 1)


I’m delighted to have two works, a painting and a drawing, included in 
INTO ME SEE, a group show curated by Mariella Del Conte.

The exhibition brief Mariella provided is as follows:

Ester Perel, a leading couple’s therapist, describes the concept of intimacy in our times as  ‘Into Me See’, where we ask another to enter into a relationship with our inner life.

What part does intimacy play in art and how much of themselves do artists reveal in their work? How do we, as viewers, connect to artworks; how do they enter us and touch us? Can we call this connection intimacy?

At a time when attention spans are waning and media - including the sharing of intimate details of our lives - scrolls at a nauseating speed, how do we as artists invite the attention and trust of the viewer in exchange for meaning, validation and substance (Into me see)? 

Intimacy offers respite from isolation and meaninglessness but it requires time - time to look, connect and unconsciously/ subconsciously evaluate and invibe.

An intimate artwork can be:  a portrait, an object of meaning to the artist or an erotic inner or outer world. The veiled or not fully revealed meaning of an artwork can invite intimacy.

The detail and delicacy of an artwork which is painstakingly composed and produced can be the form of intimacy regardless of the subject matter.

Not every artwork is intimate, not every attempt to engage our attention is an invitation to intimacy. Works of art can also provoke feelings of alienation as they reflect and regurgitate reality.

We can’t sustain a constant state of intimacy but the pendulum has swung so far toward atomisation that the lack of intimacy has left us feeling disconnected and alone.

The opening event is on Thursday evening, 20 May, 6 - 8 pm and the exhibition runs from 19 May - 12 June. See the invitation, pictured top, for further information. (Click on it for an enlarged view). The eagle-eyed will spot a detail of one of my works among the cropped images (top row, second from right).

A post focusing on my two works selected for INTO ME SEE will follow shortly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

On the drawing board

Initiating my newly refurbished adjustable drawing board (big thanks to Shane Jones) is the recently completed diptych, Recollection, (2021, acrylic on two canvases, top panel: 20 x 15 cm, bottom panel: 17.5 x 12.5 cm). 

A progress view of the work on the same drawing board prior to today’s makeover, is directly below. I think I’m as pleased with my new improved work surface as I am with the outcome of the painting, the backstory of which will feature in a future post.

Sunday, April 4, 2021


For Shane Jones and I, no Easter would be complete without the film, Easter Parade (1948, dir. Charles Walters). This year, for the very first time, we were able to view it on the big screen in our home cinema. Despite countless viewings over the decades, it has lost none of its pizazz and the leading players, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland (with scintillating support from Ann Miller), are simply sublime. Every song in Easter Parade tells a story in its own right, while also advancing the film’s plot. The musical numbers are all brilliantly choreographed, staged and performed, but my absolute favourite is Drum Crazy. The film’s composer, Irving Berlin, wrote it especially for the multi-talented Astaire, who in real life was a skilled drummer. As an Easter treat, see him perform Drum Crazy HERE.

Widely regarded as a symbol of transformation and spiritual rebirth, the butterfly is also closely associated with Easter. For me, Easter has always brought the promise of new beginnings. Accordingly, here are three very recent paintings that hopefully capture something of the spirit in which they were made. Presenting a slightly different take on the Rückenfigurthese butterfly-women are so newly-hatched, I haven’t yet had a chance to assign titles to any of them. Partly inspired by Tudor portrait miniatures, each work is acrylic on a circular canvas and measures 12.5 x 12.5 cm.

To learn more about the many-layered symbolism of butterflies, go HERE

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Digitisation of the Warrnambool Art Gallery collection

Warrnambool Art Gallery is currently undertaking the mammoth task of digitising its substantial collection of artworks and artefacts. In future, this will enable much of the work to be viewed online. Pictured here is my linocut, Lace Face (1996, Artist proof, 46 x 30 cm, Edition: 15) one of several of my works the gallery has in its permanent collection. 

Many thanks to my old friend, Warrnambool-based artist Kathryn Ryan, who took these photos of the digital process and for her kind permission to share them here.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Double, double

Pictured above, Double, double (as in toil and trouble*), the little work that’s been by far the biggest challenge of any of the paintings I’ve recently undertaken.

Double, double (2021, acrylic on two canvases17.5 x 25 cm) went through so many different stages, none of which remotely met my expectations, that I finally dismissed it as a heroic failure and moved on to other works.

I’ve learnt a great deal during the development of this picture. As it turned out, putting it aside was a good move. It gave me some sorely needed time and distance. Moreover, I was able to take what I gleaned from the making of other paintings in the series and apply some of it here. (In fact, all of the works so far have informed one other to some degree). 

Double, double has also proven frustratingly hard to photograph. At this stage, I’ve decided it is what it is. Nevertheless, the work does look significantly better in the flesh. For starters, there is a more even tonal balance between the two panels than appears here and the colours, built up over multiple layers, are somewhat richer.

I haven’t documented the many stages this painting has been through and wouldn’t inflict them on anyone even if I had. However, a handful of developmental shots are below. At one stage, my twin protagonists were intended to wear matching earrings based on an ornate gold pair I discovered in a catalogue of historic jewellery originating from the Victorian Goldfields (see last two photos). The inclusion of finely detailed, delicate areas of gold was intended to reflect the influence of Tudor portrait miniatures on this work. I laboured over the jewellery for several hours, only to realise it was an enormous distraction that would detract from the rest of the painting, most notably the intricately braided hair that’s central to it. As a result, I abandoned the earrings even before I’d finished painting them. In the end, I went with the relatively simple earrings shown in the finished work above. They are based on a pair I’ve owned for many years, although I’ve changed the gemstones from the original red stones (which I believe are coral) to my birth stone, turquoise.

*Song of the Witches, Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Act IV, Scene I.

Monday, March 8, 2021

A work for International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day 2021. In celebration, here is my newly completed work, Wonder (2021, diptych, acrylic on canvas, 35 x 12.5 cm). The lace collar was adapted from one of the doilies I inherited from my late aunt, Eileen Klein (see second progress view below).

Recently I used another doily from her collection as the basis for my subject’s collar in the diptych, Idyll. To view the work, click HERE

Thursday, March 4, 2021


Following is an updated (and hopefully, definitive) list of events that were moved from 2020 in the wake of COVID-19. I’m thankful that they will all go ahead and look forward with eager anticipation to each and every one of them. 

NOTE: the revised 2021 dates for my solo shows at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery and Queenscliff Gallery, previously announced HERE, remain the same.



Stephen McLaughlan Gallery

Level 8, Room 16, The Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000 (cnr. Flinders Lane)

July 21 - August 7

Opening event: 2 - 4 pm, Saturday July 24

Backstories, my first solo show with Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, comprises recent paintings and drawings that expand upon the “rear view portraits” closely associated with my work for over two decades.


Queenscliff Gallery

81 Hesse Street, Queenscliff,  VIC 3225

30 September – 18 October

Comprising paintings, prints and drawings, the exhibition presents the first overview of the most significant and enduring theme in my oeuvre, namely the Rückenfigur, or figure seen from behind.


APW George Collie Memorial Print Award 

In 2020 I was awarded the APW George Collie Memorial Print Award, an honour I share with with the late Barbara Hanrahan. Initially postponed until 2021, the George Collie Memorial Print Award Exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop Gallery has been moved to next March, in alignment with International Women’s Day 2022.

Artist-in-Residence, Geelong Grammar 

In 2020 Geelong Grammar School invited me to be their Artist-in-Residence for Term 2. Past AIRs include Lewis Miller, Sue Anderson, Dean Bowen, David Frazer, Tim Storrier, Yvette Coppersmith, Juan Ford, Nick Howson, Matthew Quick, Bern Emmerichs, Robert Lee Davis, David Booth (a.k.a. Ghostpatrol) and Godwin Bradbeer. The AIR was formerly rescheduled for May 2021. I will now take up the residency in May 2022.


Full details of both events will be announced nearer the times.

Pictured top: Sunset, 2019, acrylic on linen, 40.5 x 30.5 cm, part of my forthcoming solo show, Backstories, at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Pictured above: Wayfarer, 2021, diptych, acrylic on canvas, 37.5 x 15 cm overall.

My protagonist’s intricately-patterned lace shawl is based on the even more complex design reproduced in the first image below, a panel of Austrian lace dating from the 19th century. As with all of the lace depicted in my work, rather than making a straight copy, which frankly I’d find extremely tedious, I select elements of a pattern, rearranging and adapting these to fit the format of the image. Until the pattern is resolved and each component has found its place, a watercolour pencil (white works best on a dark background) is a useful tool. Needless to add, a very fine brush is essential.

The well-thumbed reference book is Lace, L’Aventurine, Paris, 1995. English edition: Bookking International, Paris, 1995, English translation by Sue Budden.

A series of progress views follow directly.

Friday, February 26, 2021

A second award for The Big Kitty

In somewhat belated, but nevertheless exciting news, the Tom Alberts and Lisa Barmby indie film The Big Kitty, the fortunes of which we’ve been faithfully following on this blog, has received a second award. It was voted Best Experimental Feature Film at the 2021 Paris International Film Festival, which ran from 4 - 14 February. (To read about the first award, go HERE).

Shane and I were virtual attendees of the festival on its final day. Direct from Paris, we viewed the film on the big screen in our home cinema here in Ballarat. Warmest congratulations to Tom and Lisa, captured below on the red carpet with the Big Kitty himself, Monsieur Baptiste.

A review of The Big Kitty by Tom Higgins for Film and TV Now is HERE.

To view a short video celebrating the award, visit Lisa’s Instagram post HERE. (Don’t forget to turn on the sound in the bottom right hand corner of the screen). 

Pictured top: The Big Kitty official poster. Top right hand corner: supporting players Lewis Miller, myself and Gavin Brown. Far right: the film’s glamorous co-stars Tom Alberts and Lisa Barmby. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

P.T. Peregrin’s Morse Code for Beginners

The summer edition of the quarterly zine, P.T. Peregrin’s Morse Code for Beginners, has just been released. Co-edited by Trudy McLauchlan (whose artwork appears on the front cover below) and Prudence McBeth, it’s available exclusively at Trudy’s little treasure trove of a shop, Playing in the Attic in Sturt Street, Ballarat. 

You can also find Playing in the Attic on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.

I was thrilled to be invited to contribute to the second issue of this delightful publication via the Q & A hello, who are you? which has become a regular feature of the zine. 

The article is reproduced below. Click on individual page views to enlarge.