Q: At what point did you think - I’m ready to leave my day job to pursue this?
I was working at a market research company part time after my first two kids were born. In that time I attended art school part time but became dissatisfied with the small amount of time I had for doing art. As my late husband at that time made enough money, I pursued learning art full time for about two years, after which I immediately began to work as a commercial illustrator. When I immigrated to Australia in 1991, my very first job was a series of paintings for and of the Parliament House in Brisbane, followed soon after by several jobs for BP Australia and a portrait commission of eleven miners who lost their lives in a mining accident for BHP.
Q: What do you enjoy most about creating art?
The vast freedom of creating. Be it to paint or draw on a 2D flat piece of paper or canvas a clear picture of anything I could possibly imagine with my two hands while using an endless choice of colour combinations. There is no limit as to what I can create. That is why I believe it is so important to learn to paint realistically first so that I can pull information from life; however, I wish to and combine it with my imagination.
Q: What does the year ahead look like?
Continue teaching and hopefully begin a series of what I call white paintings. I love light, white, innocence and purity, hence that would be my direction in art. But as I suffer from a mild-mid strength form of ME, so my time has to be managed very well with lots of rest between work, which makes it often impossible to get good premium time for painting apart from the weekly demonstrations within my classes. But I have planned at the end of each year now a two-month window entirely dedicated to painting.
Q: What do people most love to buy from you most?
I mostly sold commissioned works ranging from portraits to commercial illustrations.
Q: What is you favourite technique?
I love drawing, coloured pencils and oil equally. My style will always include some form of realism as I believe that God's creation is unbeatable with its variety and majestic features. We mostly copy no matter what we do. But I particularly love light colours mixed with lots of white and images that represent everything that is innocent, free of darkness, pride, lies and all that is horrible about our humanity so most of my personal paintings would be high key, loads of white.
Q: Is there a particular piece that gave you great joy to paint?
Portraits of people I love.
Q: What do you think are the benefits of doing an immersive art intensive workshop?
Every art teacher had a different upbringing in regards to their art training they have received. I tell my students to attend workshops with various artists, as one teacher alone cannot contain the knowledge of painting and drawing skills that are out there. I had attended workshops in the past that were of great help loaded with information, but also the occasional one that contained a single crucial detail that had the most significant impact on my drawing or painting skills. I believe that art teachers should work together for their students without competitional attitudes but comradeship. We are after the improvement of our students, and that is our priority and goal. I love my fellow colleagues and that we complement each for our students by providing knowledge that we might not have and visa versa.
Q: Where is your next workshop?
As usual at my home studio at Highland Park. Gillian organises my workshops, which is a beautiful symbiosis, leaving my head free from too much administrative work.
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to (insert your medium ie. Water colour, acrylic, pastel, drawing, oils) students what would it be?
least understood, even highly advanced students can still display problems with tonal value. Once students use colour, darkness and lightness of each area drops into the background and is often lost. That is why traditional art schools work for a long time in black and white first before guiding their students into colour. Tonal value is and will forever be far more important than colour in itself. If you created a good work in which the tonal value is well done, but your colours are not, you will very likely have created a fantastic job. But if your tonal values are wrong, you will probably have lost it, no matter how great your colours are.