Why do I draw and paint? I was raised by a working, single parent mother who put crayons and paints in my fingers as soon as she thought I could figure out how to use them. The first painting I remember doing was when I was 3 or 4, of my teddy bear, wearing an Indian headdress like a skirt. An artist friend of my mother's had it framed, and I still have it. So, drawing and painting was as natural to me as learning to read, ride a bike or play with other kids: something one simply did.
Now drawing and painting alert my senses to the point that, after leaving the studio, I sometimes am aware that the colours of the trees and the world around me generally are intense, more so than otherwise. Painters have historically tried to trick brains (our own and others') to see 2-dimensional images as 3D. I think that some of my most interesting work comes when I try to reduce the amount of visual information provided for the viewer to understand what the work is about. This is a fine line to achieve and doesn't always work.
People have tremendous strength and power, and yet everyone is vulnerable and ultimately mortal, and change is the unbreakable rule. Faces tell so much, and as people we train all our lives to read them, whether we know it or not. My portraiture work reflects this, but it's not easy to achieve a good hint of someone's character, and some of my best work has come from requests for portraits that I first thought impossible. I've been told that I capture the essence of a person's soul in my portraits, a very nice compliment that I try to deserve.
We read body language as well as we read faces, and that can be equally difficult to capture. I love life drawing and sometimes do figure studies. But I also love to do very quick sketches, when traveling, of people doing something like relaxing on a beach or eating in a cafe.
Much of my recent work is a response to the landscapes of Sydney. I try to convey a sense of the beauty of things that grow, of the light on trees or the ocean. Some of it is made more urgent by worrying about environmental damage: too many forests destroyed; ocean ecologies threatened. I don't attempt to put an environmental message in my paintings, but I am pleased when studio visitors looking at my paintings comment on the beauty of trees or the ocean.
I've traveled professionally a lot. I've lived in several countries and speak a few languages, so I feel at home in most places and easily find connections with people everywhere. We are more alike than we are varied. I now work in my studio full-time, or draw and paint outside, with some time out to travel and to get into the ocean as often as possible.