These works are my homage to the birds and plants and to the precious (so far unspoilt) beauty of the Shoalhaven area.
I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I love working with soft pastels – the purity of colour, the intensity, the immediacy – there’s no need to stop to mix the right colour or to wait for anything to dry. Unlike paint, the colours of soft pastels do not change when they dry. They can get a bit messy though.
You can see the influence of printmaking in my work which is defined by strong outlines of shapes. I studied printmaking at TAFE and also learned a lot from master printmaker, Nasil Hall during two personalised workshops on the Greek island of Skopelos.
I was fortunate to be a resident of Shoalhaven for almost 30 years. Narrawallee is my special place. I moved to the Camden area to live with my family just after the 2019/20 bushfires and right before the start of the Covid pandemic. I knew I would miss the local area, but I was not prepared for how much! I miss the sea (the smell, the sight, the sound), the sea breeze, the trees and, especially, the birds.
When I lived at Kings Point, I woke each morning to a wonderful cacophony – kookaburras, currawongs, lorikeets, magpies, wattlebirds – all singing their songs. Of course, there are birds in south-western Sydney, but it seemed almost silent in comparison.
I spent the lockdowns establishing a large native garden on my family’s property in Camden. Researching suitable plants and purchasing them online gave me an interest and knowledge of native plants. These recent works combine my love of birds (some from the coast and others from my new home) with native Australian plants.
While I’m fortunate to be living on a large property, much of the surrounding countryside has been totally cleared. Sprawling developments of grey-roofed houses have sprung up. No more trees, no more birds. The new houses have very small gardens and the people who live in them don’t seem to have the time or inclination for gardening.
We must value the unspoilt nature that so far prevails in the Shoalhaven and protect it from these mass developments that not only clear all trees, but leave no room for future trees to be planted.
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