Wednesday, July 20, 2016


 One night at B-Side I arrived to find all the lights out and three other residents lit up by the glow of their laptops only.
 It was quiet and I didn't want to turn on the overhead lights because the ambience was so sweet.
I worked in the glow of my desk lamp and imagined Rembrandt working by candlelight. 

Do you know that feeling when you are deeply engaged in a task by yourself - but perhaps with friends - gathering wood for a campfire or preparing a meal or even in a busy office surrounded by colleagues? It's a comforting awareness that you are in easy company but you still manage to shift into a focused zone. That's what it's like in the world of shared creative spaces - perhaps this is not news to you but its been a discovery for me. 

My basement space - wonderful to come home to.
2016 began in my basement. I won't go into the dirty details but I hit a wall and hard. I have always loved my alone time and in fact, found it essential to my creative process. Then quite suddenly 'alone' transformed into 'loneliness' and it was like a blow to the head. Now, six months later, after some amazing shared spaces and collaborations I have discovered a much better way to be alone --- it's in the company of others. 

This was my first shared space at Vampt Vintage in Brookvale. 
Owners Max and Dave and their great team were all so supportive. Star, my Kelpie pup was even welcome when she was little but now she's a bit bigger - she's not really getting the together alone concept ... its just together, together, together which I love, but is not conducive to getting work done.

When Vampt came to the end of their lease at Brookvale I found B-Side Creative Space (below) - it is just down the road from my old studio and literally a stones throw from my old-other-life job as a textiles designer. Run by a group of creative friends on the northern beaches the space accommodates an illustrator, an origami sculptor, a couple of painters and mural / street artists, a jewellery maker, musicians, a pen and ink artist, a couple of photographers, a lighting designer, web developers, cafe owners, a ceramicist, a motorcycle mechanic and a wallet maker. The team is building a traditional dark room and the studio is equipped with a tool room and a photographic studio - and awesome coffee shop. Everyone is welcome to visit and wander around - it sounds like it might be a whole lot of distraction but I've been able to work really well here. It is the fact that we all have a similar work ethic. Everyone needs to work and pay rent and yet if we need to bounce ideas off anyone - there's always plenty of takers. It was such a gift finding B-Side and 2016 is only half over ;)

And so here we are - Together Alone. The best of both worlds.


So this happened! I spoke in front of this beautiful crowd of creative and intelligent women about how sorrow and loss can allow you to connect with your essential self and therefore make an ideal state for creativity. I am not suggesting that grief is a requisite for art but deep feeling is; and if it happens to be grief then there are ways to align it with beauty.

Bill Henson says something similar in this interview and manages to explain it in terms that are broad and personal at the same time.  “I think that what interests me in any art form, whether its music or literary or anything else, are the same things that interest all of us in life generally. Things that shape our lives – loss, longing, love, a sense of mortality – these are the things that have inspired various artists throughout time. Really, beauty is just a mechanism that animates those things.” 

MAMA CREATIVES is a group of creative professionals who are mostly also mothers. Its founder and guardian angel is Anna Kellerman who knows that the 21st C has brought forward many creative women who no longer need to hide their families in order to be taken seriously professionally. We can celebrate motherhood and career and the unique challenges that both roles present together. Anna has dubbed Mama Creatives as the TED conference for mothers.

The group is centred around storytelling and began as the Creative Mamas shared their own stories of 'making it'. As the size and influence of the group grows, the events have expanded to include professional masterclasses and courses around health and well-being - all with a common theme of ideas and creativity. 

And of course, when a group of nurturing creative women get together there is a strong will to make the world a better place - many of the MC events end up as fundraisers. The evening of my talk we raised money to pay interpreters to help refugees communicate with their pro bono lawyers. The following weekend three of my fellow Mama / Artists organised a big fundraiser to raise funds for a womens shelter that is opening in North Sydney. As always Anna is at the forefront with energy and enthusiasm and enormous generosity.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Thank you to all who were able to make it last Sunday. The Gods were on our side, springing sunshine at the end of a cold and rainy week. As we sipped Prosecco, the warmth shone in through the barn door windows in Damien Minton's wonderful converted warehouse.

Bathed in sunlight, the talented singer/songwiter Dave Calandra shared his music. He performed, in particular, a song he wrote about the weather which married perfectly with the atmospheric theme of paintings. The sweetest little waitpersons handed out delectable canapes designed and constructed by the beautiful foodie, Anna Russell.

Damien took the soap box and delivered one of his famous off-the-cuff intros. He remembered days, a few years back, when I would visit his gallery on Great Buckingham Street, chatting about the Sydney art scene and hoping one day to have a show with him.

After an Oporto's carpark audition - Stuart Spence was awarded the task of a 'This Must Be The Place' lyrics recital. He had threatened falsetto and fancy dress but Stuart's sincere and heartfelt reading needed no embellishment.

Surrounded by dear friends and family and arts community - I felt truly blessed. And the light shone in bright multi-coloured streams... At least that's how I remember it. 

For those dear to me who couldn't be there - you were felt in spirit. 
You know you were.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


susie dureau

A few months ago, I found myself on a ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. 

There was water all around as far as I could see. Upwards was sky…. limitless space… cloud-filled by day and starry by night. The rare Venus and Jupiter conjunction was playing out in the celestial drama. I tracked the stars every night with an app on my phone - marveling about how we circle around each other.

One cold, squally night I was on the top deck looking over at rails at the dark wake. Only one other person was on deck with me – a stranger. It was eerie and quiet and I felt vulnerable - and yet - far away from any land I have known, I felt a euphoric sense of belonging.

This body of work is about that moment of connection to being where you are. 
Wherever you are.

Tel: 0400 099 620 

Come along to the show - we will have a prosecco together and stand in the streaming afternoon sunlight while listening to the soulful tunes of Dave Calandra... oh and there will be some paintings. We will be there.

The paintings will all be up on my website by September 10, 2015 


Paintings: TOP: Saltwater Spirit, 30cm diameter, Oil on board, 2015 BOTTOM L-R: Voltage, 30cm diameter, Oil on board, 2015, Stay Gold, 30cm diameter, Oil on board, 2015, A Separate Peace, 30cm diameter, Oil on board, 2015


I must acknowledge this song by Talking Heads as it shares the title of my show -  And is so apt! The lyrics are lovely… and quite long … so I’m ripping out a few precious lines – with apologies to Mr Byrne.

Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky…

I got plenty of time
You got light in your eyes…
Never for money, always for love…

Home, is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there 
I come home, she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place…

There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be.


And mmm - I just discovered these videos - a couple of awesome covers and the real deal. Now lets see if I can get someone to perform this at my exhibition opening....

The Lumineers! Love this video too...

Iron & Wine!

The Original.

Friday, September 4, 2015


Earlier this year the ABC screened a drama about a family living in witness protection in Sydney. The makers of the series borrowed some of my paintings for the set. I’ve captured a few images to show – what a buzz to see my paintings in a good old Aussie TV drama!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


A few days ago I found some notes and sketches that I made during the storms that thrashed the northern beaches earlier this year. The sketches relate to the work I am completing now for a show in September.

“It is hard to find a visual language for this morning’s ocean. Do the waves peak or curl? The perpetual thrashing doesn’t allow me time to fully comprehend it.

Being here, sitting with and in the storm, I can feel how it moves and I hope that this sensation will be enough for me to be able to translate the image to canvas once I get back to the studio.

The tempest from the sky has abated and the beating wind that lashed the shoreline last night has transformed into mist and steady rain. The sea rages on, however. As if in retaliation or triumph, the storm seems to come from within the ocean now.

I have tried, on the previous page to express the sea with Conte but this was not as effective as the Chinese ink wash. Perhaps the ink is better to describe the waves because it is fluid and moves across the page as waves move across the earth.”

Looking back, this storm was the perfect setting for some personal wayfaring that rocked me this winter. And in the glorious cycle of nature, the ocean is now calm and glistening and the sun rises higher each day.

Chinese ink wash better describes the waves.