THE BEACH PAINTINGS
When summer arrives, and the balmy weather beckons, there is talk of beach holidays, stories of childhoods and happy times travelling down to the Gold Coast beaches, having fun in the surf and enjoying the quintessential Australian beach life. My studio becomes a cool space to record and document memories of a life spent on the beach. My children were involved in the North Stradbroke Island Surf Life Saving Club and so many of our holidays and weekends were spent on the water, swimming in the surf, sitting under umbrellas at carnivals and being involved in beach activities.
TELLING THE STORY
Spending a week or two at the beach is a must-do Australian iconic pastime and many artists over the years have approached the challenge of recording new ways of representing our love of life on the beach. In many ways it is the perfect subject matter to experiment with the elements and principles of art, such as colour, line, Composition, pattern and form all competing with each other for attention. But I am really trying to express how I feel about those experiences of being with my family in an environment that is so familiar and so ordinary and yet awash with relaxation, rejuvenation and fun.
From the beginning of time, humankind has displayed a penchant for embellishment, a desire to decorate, and a need to be nourished by their surroundings. Storytelling; the recording of daily life through ceremonies and rituals such as going to the beach, have always been a universal theme in historical culture.
Travel and my engagement with different cultures heavily inform my practice, creating a link between places experienced, remembered and imagined. These beach paintings are filled with a personal narrative, rich in the texture of life around me. I am committed to producing work loaded with optimism, and hope to engage the viewer with a connected, common experience. I have always enjoyed family time at the beach, so for me these paintings are full of fun and celebration. They reflect a more light-hearted approach often drawn from childhood memories of long, happy days on Queensland beaches. The use of gold and silver leaf in many of my works are derived from the patterned narratives of Indian Miniature paintings which have had a huge influence over my work for 30 years. The gold and silver was used as a symbol of not only wealth but also as a precious and rare material that evoked a rich and unique quality that I think can be a lovely metaphor for our Australian way of life.
THE PAINTING PROCESS
Texture, pattern, patinas, motifs, numbers, signs and texts, are but a few of the resources from which I borrow. I am constantly in a process of hiding and revealing, hoping to build upon layers of image making to bring a story to the canvas. Often combining graphic shapes and silhouettes in fields of colour, I like exploring the boundaries between abstraction and representation, design and the painterly.
Through calligraphic markings, emotive colour and the layering of paint, I hope to record those fun times at the beach where I feel fully present in the enjoyment of life.
Although my work is mostly narrative, I am trying to record the memory of my emotions of being in that place.
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