“I just see the paper, make
the first mark and don’t
stop until I finish. It’s an expensive way to discover
what I am lacking.”
In a few words, describe yourself and your practice.
Minimal, clean, methodic
When did you start your practice?
I feel like it is a long time coming. Like I’ve been working on it my whole life and only just realized it’s where I should be. I have been chasing a lot of different things, avoiding what was seemingly staring me right in the face. It took a lot of persuasion and encouragement from my husband and my boss to really push me into painting again, so in a way it's all brand new but always been there at the same time.
Is your practice how you support yourself? If not, what else are you working on to do so?
Emotionally yes….financially no.
I work full time for Melbourne based co-operative studio owners and designers Pop & Scott as their painter, weaver, in-house photographer, showroom face and sometimes nanny to my little baby bestie (their almost 2 year old daughter) Frida. I am also a freelance photographer.
If you were to share one piece of advice with those who aspire to do what you do, what would it be?
Stop thinking, start doing.
HOW DO YOU START YOUR PROCESS?
Being a Taurus, home is the center of my being. If my home is in disorder or I am not fully at ease in my space, my whole life is affected.
Clean space, clean mind.
WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK UNIQUE?
That it’s coming from my head and no-one else’s. Then again, everything has been done before and opinion is in the eye of the beholder.
What are some challenges you’re facing in your practice?
Letting go and making mistakes.
I am a perfectionist and I find mistakes terrifying. I don’t plan my paintings, which I’m finding out I probably should. I just see the paper, make the first mark and don’t stop until I finish. It’s an expensive way to discover what I am lacking.
Who or what inspires you?
My surroundings and people, experiences that are outside of my comfort zone push the boundaries and expand the mind.
I’ve just come back from a weekend in the country with my husband Steve and our dog Scout (a tiny staffy) that reset my soul. I was struggling in all aspects, in painting, in mind and in body. We took ourselves away from the noise and the pace of the city and into a shack in the middle of the bush with no tv, no wifi and most importantly no phone service. It was just nature and us. I hadn’t read a book in such a long time. We reconnected to each other and realigned our aims.
We have both come back rested, relaxed and totally inspired with our heads full of ideas.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I can’t imagine doing anything else. But maybe I’d be a painter and decorator like my grandfather, Peter Barbour. He was an incredible artist who was offered a full scholarship at Glasgow Art School but his parents refused to let him go so he spent his life being an artist from his green garden shed, working as a decorator in local theaters and buildings. I feel a connection to him every time I paint so maybe that would also be my fall back plan.
…Or maybe I’d live in a shack in the woods, living off the land with garden full of alpacas, a library full of art books and a head full of dreams.
Are you comfortable sharing all aspects of your process?
You’re actually the first person I have ever let watch me paint my personal works. It’s something I have struggled with throughout my growth as an artist. At art school I found it extremely challenging to work in a communal workspace. I am a very private worker and get easily distracted. I was quite a self-cautious worker who was overly sensitive of opinion and judgment. When I stopped working with pencil and started experimenting with paint and shapes it was more about the process and the mathematics of placement than about the emotion. Without realizing, I learned to let go and become comfortable with life going on around my workspace.
What’s the most useful tip or advice you’ve ever been given?
What’s for you won’t go by you. (That definitely doesn’t mean accept everything with ease).
A positive attitude is paramount and infectious. I find surrounding myself with likeminded people is incredibly important.
How has your practice changed over time? Where do you see it going?
I have changed profoundly from where I started. The process and the way I work will always remain the same but the experimentation with media and subject is only just beginning. I went from drawing hyper realistic portraits of old men to minimalist abstract painting. I have become free in my practice and in experimentation and already have a notebook full of new ideas.
What are you currently working on?
I have just set a date for my first exhibition, which is exciting and terrifying all at once. I work really well with deadlines and get my best ideas in the final hour.