It is far better to capture the glorious spirit of the sea than to paint all of its tiny ripples

Jay Meuser, Abstract Expressionist.


Greetings from a very new and messy studio

The brushes are back out after a long hiatus. Moving to a new city has proven more challenging when one’s inspiration was thought to be found in nature and all you have around is a concrete jungle.

The reality proved to reveal something fantastically different as far as what it takes to find inspiration.

Sydney has a wonderful natural beauty, situated in one of the biggest harbours in the world. That’s mainly what drew me here, as well as opportunity and warmer weather. It’s been over a year since the move from Tasmania with only a few sporadic attempts to paint. I’ve only now got back into it with the usual passion.

The time has shown me that I was wrong about the inspiration needing to come from nature. It can and it often does, but it really comes from connection. Connection to my environment, whatever it may be. Between it and emotion is where the work lies.

It has been a tough year. There were more steps backward than forward which had me questioning why I was still here. A near move to the mountains seemed an obvious solution (?!) but the hurdles turned into brick walls so I decided to stay put. Every place I went for, denied. Every job turned out to  be back-breaking, underpayed and dodgy. A rundown shoebox for an apartment was only meant to be a temporary 2 month spot while I got myself together. It begrudgingly turned into a year long tenancy but of which I am grateful for regardless.

Desperate to get out but still holding onto the dream of painting happily in this city, it started to feel like I was waiting for a bus that never comes. Julia Cameron, author of ‘The Artist’s Way’ (see Artist Date) wrote about this very situation along the path to creative goals. Opportunity can be like waiting for a bus. You might miss one, then none come for ages. Then they all come at once just when you were about to give up. She advises that one must simply wait.

After 12 months the proverbial bus came. Then another. And then the proverbial maserati.

So here I am now. I’ve gone from a dog box to a nice little shoe box (let’s be realistic, this is Sydney!) with a little view out to the harbour, sunshine brightening the studio and inspiration to paint again. Finally.

I have learnt, in the last year, that Sydney is and isn’t what I romanticised it to be. It depends on what everybody will tell you about Sydney – money. Without currency you get beaten here. I hate seeing it around me. The homeless. Only a weeks rent separated the couple sleeping on the footpath and myself. The gap between the ‘haves and the have nots’ is large but not in far in physical proximity. I was living in the oldest and wealthiest suburb in the country, yet around me a harsh contradiction of drugs, police raids and violence.

Inbetween all this I began making friends and entering worlds I never thought I’d find myself in. Working in museums and art galleries, dancing my butt off amongst celebrity and the wealthy on the North Shore, seeing my first opera on the harbour. It was always sobering to wake up on my blow-up mattress to the invasion of cigarette smoke from the guy next door and the noisy traffic of Oxford St.

This was not the Sydney I imagined myself to be in. What I wanted is what I’ve finally got but it came at a price. Or I might say a gift. I’m grateful I didn’t just land here and get it easy. I would have missed a lot of the grit and undertones of life in a city that’s straining under it’s own weight. Somewhere out of the muck and mire of naive decisions I’ve found a connection to a place that is far more based in reality. I am glad and grateful now to call home.

Artistically I have found a truth from it all. Creativity has not been inspired by  natural surrounds alone, as I once believed I owed to my past years in Tasmania. It comes from ones connection to it and the need to express that.

Finally some new work is on its way!

Sydney art shows, Sydney art exhibitions & Sydney art openings 24/11/2014 – 3023/11/2014

Sydney Art Galleries and Art Community

Monday 24th November
The Arts and Embracing Risk: In Conversation with Mark Goggin and Georgie Meagher
Admission: Free SAMAG members
RSVP online or via email
When: 6-8pm
@ Baker & McKenzie Law Firm – Level 27, AMP Centre 50 Bridge Street  Sydney

when: 6-9pm

Empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Forum
when: 10am
@ Parramatta Visitors and Heritage Centre – Seminar Room, Parramatta Visitors and Heritage Centre, 346A Church Street

Tuesday 25th November
ANNUAL 14 UNSW Art & Design
When: 6pm
@ UNSW Art & Design – Paddington Campus, Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington

(small) GEMS
When: 6-8pm
@ Robin Gibson Gallery – 278 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst

Trees by Catherine Traicos
When: 6-8pm
@ Ginkgo Gallery – 166 St Johns Rd, Glebe


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