June 10, 2015

This winter is already long and we’re less than 2 weeks in.

Looking for ways to enjoy it anyway, and to prevent a sliding decline into a dark hole, I’m making evening drawings – some indoors and some out.

Cave2_detail_smallCharcoal, (the wood fire burns warm) is the easiest thing. Smudge and erase and push back into the paper and leave a mark, on this cold night. Black velvet ink might show off the moonlight.



A few weeks ago I saw and heard the wonderful Rory Mcleod in Yackandandah. A teller of stories collected from all round the world, from conversations with strangers, small moments and big events. With a tireless voice and a collection of instruments he caught us up til nearly midnight.


Checking out his website I realised again how travel is a great educator. The only time I’ve managed to leave this country was to visit my family in the Netherlands a dozen years ago. It was the stories that affected me most, and I made work about them for the next 2 years. Many of the artworks are back over there on loungeroom walls.


dad's hands cropped

Poetry on the train

February 22, 2013

Reading poetry on the train, I’m always inspired to write a poem too.
Here’s a recent one, still in the rough, to help celebrate my friend Anna’s return to blogging. TrainDoorArchivist will be a great read.

Copy of poemTrain

The power of great shoes

February 22, 2013

Feet can be very difficult when it comes to shoes. Especially if they are naturally fairly narrow but have a pretty bulbous bunion just down from each big toe. Now, some of my best friends have bunions, and we could probably form a friendly society for frustrating feet, whose anthem would be the lament of the coveted shoe. My sports shoes are always from the men’s range – nice and wide, a bit bulky, and no colour choices (why that is I don’t know).

Searching for some sensible flats, I spotted a gorgeous shoe of the kind that I dream, on the specials table, noted the generous width, slipped it on, and it was obviously for me.


I’m not a big retail therapy kind of girl but this saved me an eventual trip to a shrink for the madness bunions can cause.

Paint like a child

February 22, 2012

Recently I was invited, along with 4 other artists, to be part of an exhibition of works inspired by our children’s art, which would also be exhibited in the show. A fabulous project called A Child Could Have Done It.

The best part was remembering how children just draw or paint or make without worrying about the result ahead of time, and emulating that. So much fun.

Here is a painting by my son Tom just before he turned 5. It made me remember how he’d climb up onto the carport roof to watch the sun go down.

Gently comes the night

With veils of day soaked in dreams

As behind blinded windows we retreat,

But for children and the like.


She will wrap surprised creatures

In hues that unfold and hover

Like maids-in-waiting, then lightly

Drape the world in peaceful dark

Why do artists attend figure drawing sessions all their lives? Because it’s perhaps the most pleasurable drawing experience there is.
I hear it’s because it’s challenging, and good for ‘keeping your eye in’, and an essential skill. But for me, it’s an amazing way to access the present moment. I don’t fidget and wish I was somewhere else, or drift away to another time and place. How wonderful that someone is staying still, without the hinderance of clothes, just so we can draw them.

figure squat
Drawing is always what I return to. It can settle my busy mind, show me a new way to see, help me understand how things work. As a child I played a game called Countries with my brothers and sisters. There were lots of rules but I mostly remember drawing in the dirt with a stick, reaching out from my body to score a line around myself.

Now my favorite tool to draw with is a stick dipped in ink.
figure stretch

Studio space

August 6, 2011

The year I moved into this house I spent hours and hours out in the shed making paintings.

Pouring house paint of every description (as long as it was from the mistint shelf or remnants hidden away in sheds) I felt like an alchemist, letting the particular nature of one paint or varnish do it’s thing with another. Water-based, oil, enamel, shellac, bitumen, gritty paving paint, whatever I could find.

The neutrality or lairiness of these would-be discards took me into new colour territory, a challenge I heartily accepted. But usually the bite or the light of my pallette of artist acrylics were called upon to redeem an otherwise dying canvas. It was all so much fun, and often a great mess.
A work space influences the work produced. Upstairs now in my comfortable carpetted heated and cooled studio the work has become more careful, and smaller. The value of this chance to make gentle works on paper and quiet portraits, colour studies and window views has been immeasurable.

But a larger airy space is calling me.
Song 2

Well I’ve just spent the evening with the woman whose paintings have moved me as much as any works of art ever have. Her name is Elisabeth Cummings and I first saw her work live at a show in Melbourne 9 years ago.

Mum and I met at the station from opposite directions and we walked up Flinders Lane to see the exhibition. With one look we were both enthralled and stayed there for a long time. When our feet began to ache on the concrete floor we sat cross-legged together against a pillar so we could stay with these beautiful images a little longer, me wishing for a lotto win on Mum’s weekly ticket.

Elisabeth has been a silent mentor for me since then, a steady light. Tonight we talked of art and teaching, family and community, of going out into the world to make art, and working quietly at home. I feel happy to have finally met her.

Copy of parallel lives 1

Snow shoes

July 14, 2011

Tomorrow I’ll see some snow for the first time this winter. When I shut my eyes lately it feels like snow might be all around me. Had to sleep with an extra blanket on last night.

The only time I have attempted cross-country skiing it ended in tears. When I got home and spoke to a couple of girlfriends, they told me I was not alone in that. One friend said it took her the whole first season to feel confident.

Although my desire to ski is minimal, the challenge it poses and the delights it offers make it a tempting goal. Some days.

After the trauma of that initiation had worn off a bit I was inspired to prepare my body for a possible second attempt. The thing that noone had told me of beforehand was the inescapable and treacherous side-slide. I thought skis went forward and backward. Who could know they go sideways as well? In opposite directions.

In the small world that is my brain I came up with a rollerskate that does the same.
exercise device for ski training

Far from the source

July 9, 2011

I have believed that we can connect with anyone if we look past the roles, the age, gender, circumstances, genetics, beliefs. That the generation gap is a construct, as is religion and social status. That distance can be overcome by true engagement.

But the extra stuff gets in the way. Memory, history, associations, expectations.

My sons are in my life because I am their mother, but surely not only because of that. I’ve always been very aware of them as beings separate from me, who have graced my life for reasons known only to our souls.

My dear friend Olive was 73 when we met, and I was 28 and our age gap was never a consideration.

I met a man once in a club, with whom I connected before he even saw me, and we talked for the next 3 hours like old friends (completely sober), and I’ve never seen him again.

And for each of these connections there have been times when fear or pride or ignorance have prevented me from connecting. But I always believed it was possible.

Now I’m not so sure. I think for much of our lives we get buried under the constructed layers, far removed from the essential being of each of us and all of us. Hiding behind the complexities of the mind.
veil sm

The solo show

July 2, 2011

On an artist’s CV you’ll see 2 lists of exhibitions – Group and Solo. The Solo show can be a daunting undertaking. Scarier than a group show and way more work.

Recently I was in a conversation about the difficulties of being a lone musician – too hard we all agreed. So then I made the connection to visual art (as I do with all things muse-related) saying yeah same with solo shows. But to my surprise a veherment response from one person of “Oh no – artists must have solo shows! To walk into a gallery and the whole room is full of Mary-Roseness. (or whoever) In a group show you can’t get the true feel of what the artist is on about – it gets watered down.”

Copy of self on card for ben 2011
I guess it’s like playing only one track off a concept album.

In the past month I’ve been fortunate to be around 2 friends who have offered their work to the world, solo. And both shows were amazing. The second one opened just today and the Lynne Gasperovness, like the Vicki Lukeness, was like a miniature world.

This week I’ll be in Kate James’ world and Linda Fish’s world, two exquisite shows in Melbourne.

My sincere thanks to all of you.

Last week the grey days began and so did the blues. Knowing why makes it easier to understand but not to feel. Low light under low clouds, especially in this land of big sky.

As you live 15
Returning to Australia 10 years ago I stepped out of the airport into the cool night and grinned up at the clear huge stary sky with happy relief. We are so fortunate to have this every day sky, so much breathing space above us.

And now it’s the solstice – the shortest day – and tomorrow the days begin to lengthen again. It always makes me feel better. For a few years when my children were smallish I baked a cake and we celebrated by running around in the dark with sparklers and crying out as happy creatures.

These grey days are just a foil for the many days of ease. And they can be so beautiful.
Copy of IMG_0005

Sammy and no-one else

June 12, 2011

Today I phoned my son’s house and my grandson answered. Sam is 3. I heard his mum’s voice somewhere behind him. Who are you? he asked. Oh Rosi-Pip can you come with us on the train?

I needed to speak with his mum but he said no only he wanted to talk with me. And next thing he said Bye Rosi-Pip and hung up.

I called again. He answered again. We had a similar coversation except that I attempted to cleverly persuade him to give the phone to one of his parents. Bye. And click goes the receiver.

A third call and once again he answers. Not wanting him to hang up again I was careful to keep the conversation going. As we talked of eating all the corn in the vegie garden and being a watermelon or a pineapple I found that what I needed to talk about with his parents didn’t seem as important as it had. We both had a laugh and remembered how we like each other so much and then said goodbye.

I must call him more often.
Copy of sam mothers day 09

Falls Creek in May

May 8, 2011

Today a cloud was blown around me by a small breeze as I sat on top of Mount McKay. It covered the sun and arched above my head and filled my view in a half dome. A chill came with it and a feeling of expectancy.

For much of the past two days up there in the alps the clouds skipped across a blue sky and threw shadows on yellow ochre plains. Silver skeletons of burnt bleached snow gums looked like fur from a distance and like cast metal close up.

While I sat there painting, my son Tom rang to wish me a happy mothers day. I was very happy, and here is the painting.

Copy of rocky valley 5

I have always loved the sea, but living here near the mountains I’m discovering a different peacefulness that comes from emersing myself in a wild place. It’s the quiet and the coolness.

I know it can be the opposite to that, but not this time.

Copy of pretty valley


May 3, 2011

A few days ago we heard on the news that a young man and his three children were killed in an air raid. His father, a megalomaniac, was the intended target.

Last night we heard that a man who is responsible for many acts of violence around the world was killed in a surprise attack. ‘He used his wife as a human shield’ they said.

Both reports made me feel sick. It was the smiles on people’s faces that did it. Of course the world can do without such men. And I reckon I would feel like avenging a murdered loved one, and it all makes me feel sick.

I feel compelled to post a quote I saw in my friend’s studio recently.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” Mahatma Gandhi.

Copy of Tom babe

Happy Birthday Benjamin

April 23, 2011

It’s late on Easter Saturday night and I’ve just painted some boiled eggs just as my mum used to do, ready for Sunday breakfast.

At breakfast time 25 years ago my body flicked the automatic switch that heralded the delivery into the outside world of my second beautiful son. Now he is 6′ 7″ and I wonder how this feat was possible.

That babe, so new and filled with his own kind of wonder, is still in the man.

There’s so much to wonder about in all of this, and I’m grateful for it all.


Bunch of Birds

April 19, 2011

Copy of weave vad 2

A flock, a gaggling squawking bunch of birds,

the sound coming closer across the sea of sky ahead.

They come towards me sitting there at Mum’s back door

eating toast drinking coffee on this quiet Sunday morning.

They flash and flutter, wheeling in unison

then disperse then gather again.

Is this Hitchcock’s dream?

Arguing at high volume

checking positions or deciding where to land

or maybe exclaiming delight for the view

they dance over me and around and away.

The noise fades and I see at last

they are flashing jewels, confetti, a celebration.

An Ode? … mm

March 30, 2011

Well that last post wasn’t really an ode. But this might be. And maybe it’ll fit with a tune… something from a 50s musical western. No, maybe not.

At a quarter past twelve in the middle of the day

when the sun was high and hazy,

I took to my bed ’cause I couldn’t stand up

but not for being dizzy or lazy.

My nose drip dripped and my head was a bomb

about to explode for sure when

it became apparent as I slipped out of sight,

this cold was also a cure

For the too much to do and the so much to sort

and the having to get there fast.

In the quiet of bed with a doona on my head

my mind was clear at last.

Ode to the Common Cold

March 28, 2011

Last Sunday evening I sneezed a few times, and again on Monday. On Tuesday I went to work but was home in bed by lunchtime. It was a great relief to sink into my bed under the doona in the middle of the day. That’s the first good thing about having a cold.

As a child I had a cold every winter, and stayed home from school for a week. My nose was stuffed full of snot and my throat sore, but I had mum to myself. Sure I had to stay in bed but she brought me vegemite toast and cordial at regular intervals. Believe me, when you have eight brothers and sisters, its something you don’t forget. I think I might even have told that story already on this blog.

Back to last week. After that moment of relief things went rapidly downhill. Drip drip went my nose, and by evening my head felt like the bends might – too much pressure and too much pain. So I lay about for two days while the Cold had its way with me.

When I was finally strong enough to go out I went to my studio, knowing, for the first time since January, exactly what I wanted to do there. When I arrived I did something completely different, but that was OK because it flowed easily out of me. My head was clear and calm. I was clear and calm.

I had to be calm because I hadn’t recovered yet. But the clarity was the gift – the second good thing about having that cold. Too ill to worry about anything else, my mind cleared along with my head.

And what I did in the studio was play with colour.

Copy of 26032011625

While I’m on the subject of music, last week I saw these game gals, decked out in gingham pinnies, perform a few country songs from the US of A.

CCopy of Emmylou & sidesaddle gals

Copy of Copy of audience 1

The singing workshop the next day gave me a happy feeling for a long time after. Except I couldn’t get the tune about dying after camping out of my head!