I was born and raised in the gold mining city of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. It was here that my love affair with weatherboards, red bricks and dry grass started. Gold Dust is still one of my favourite renditions of this part of my world.
In my paintings, even my landscapes, I endeavour to create a story that takes the viewer on a journey to explore a scene that has been created from my observations of everyday life in Australian cities, towns and countryside. And occasionally I'll venture overseas, drawing on my many experiences of travel.
As a genre painter I seek to depict everyday people in typical scenes at home, at work and at play.I enjoy exploring backyards and lanes as represented by Watching the Cabbages Grow, The Morning News:Marmalade and Barney Glade and his Contentments. Many of my paintings capture a moment from the European heritage from which many of us stem. This might be the last few resilient hollyhocks guarding the miner’s cottage as in Tyquin House, Taradale, Victoria; a snippet of life from an ancestral country as in English Landscape: Malmesbury, Wiltshire or the intricate ageing of an Italian wall San Gimignano or Tuscan Steps.
May you journey down many lanes and may you take the time to admire the beauty in a piece of grass or the magnificence of a drop of dew as recreated in The Fence Post.
I now live in Melbourne which is a wonderful multi-cultural community. I enjoy the diverse nature of our culture, the humour of the Australian people, the pathos and the narratives that weave through their lives as depicted in Burbank Court Christmas Breakfast, Dockland Developments or Night Developments.
My artistic hero is Lawrence S. Lowry, who painted dark and sombre scenes from the industrial city of Manchester, England. Even though my paintings aim to be bright and alive, I have learnt a great deal from Lowry about ‘recreating’ people so that they appear to be comfortably living in the environment that I, as their story teller, have created.
Thank you for taking time to be part of my artistic journey.
Finalist in the MacarthurCook Art Awards 2007
Waverley Art Society Artist of the Year- Public Choice 2004
Highly Commended Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School 2003
The Knox Art Exhibition
Warrigal Art Show
Bayside (Sandringham) Art Exhibition
St Kevin's Art Show (Toorak)
Warranwood Art Show
Whitehorse Art Show
Over a year ago my Web Architect and Social Media Mentor, Matt Cameron, challenged me to get more involved in social media and to begin writing a blog aimed at my interest in all things art. I didn’t go willingly into this challenge. I thought that it would last only a few weeks and I would fail dismally. I was wrong. First, I loved writing the blog: the research, the contacts I have made with interesting people, the supporters I have gathered. But most importantly it has kept my brain challenged, engaged, fed! I will continue to write the blog until I’m told it’s time to call it a day.
BEYOND THE EASEL
I commenced my working life in 1966 as a rural school teacher in the small Central Victorian hamlet of Malmsbury where I spent two years of my life. My greatest achievement at this time was to authorise the cutting down of the pine plantation (owned by the Victorian Education Department) to allow for the purchasing of books for the children. It was a memorable time and I loved the children and the daily challenges we encountered together.
Following this I taught in Melbourne and Castlemaine (Central Victoria) for three more years prior to being given the opportunity to try my hand at lecturing in what was then the Geelong Teacher’s College. Again I enjoyed the experience and saw very little difference between teaching 5 years olds and 19 year olds!!
But adventure beckoned and I joined the Commonwealth Teaching Service and spent the next year teaching in an Open Plan school in Moil, Darwin where I had something like 25 different ethnic backgrounds amongst the children.
Returning to Victoria I spent the next couple of years working in a Technical School as a librarian assistant searching for a solution to what to do with my life. The answer came in an offer to undertake a Special Education degree at Monash University under the remarkable Professor Marie Neale. I loved this time and finally committed myself seriously to study as I hadn’t been the best student at school!!
Armed with my degree I was given a position lecturing at what was then the Institute of Catholic Education, later to become the Australian Catholic University. And there I stayed for nearly 25 years.
My greatest achievement is considered to be that I am the author of the Newman Error Analysis for Mathematics. Back in 1976-1977 I came up with a way of diagnosing children’s errors in mathematics which has gone on to be very popular as a diagnostic tool throughout the world. I am thrilled to have made a difference to the education of children.
My message as an educator is quite simple: talk to the children; get close to how they see the world. Experimentation is all very well and of course essential but please remember that there is also a essential part played in all our education where someone shows you how to do it! We all learn through experience but not everything is learned through experience. A good teacher, a mentor is essential.
TIME ON MY HANDS
So what do I do when I’m not painting, writing the blog, teaching painting mainly to small children? I have a very large extended family to play grandmother to which keeps me on the go. I love gardening, travel, reading and watching crime stories- all the usual things people do in their retirement. Oh - and yes I confess I’m an AFL Collingwood supporter. Go the Pies!!