Anne Truitt: Wanting What I Can’t Have


“Artists are thrust straight up against the wave of their ambition in the world as well as their ambition for their work. Unless they like being rolled over and over on the sharp pebbles of their inconsistencies, they have to dive through this wave into understanding” Anne Truitt: Daybook The Journal of an Artist.


I have curly hair, I always wanted straight brown hair and I can still hear my mother’s words – “you always want what you can’t have” as she yanked the brush through wayward tangles, snapping my neck backwards.  Not only do I still want smooth, brown, tangle-free hair, but I also want my art to be as sleek and ordered as a brunette on a still day. Having just finished reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook I couldn’t help but feel it doesn’t matter what we want, we find comfort in others like us. She found that moment in the work of Barnett Newman and I, in her words. Despite the comfort of knowing other artists feel the same insecurities, the pebbles of inconsistencies still roll around my work.


Bella at Gipps Rd

Bella the naughty dog would jump up on the lounge and bark at passers-by. I liked to call her Dorrie Evans.  This is from my “Homes” sketchbook. I thought I had moved so often, maybe it was a good idea to capture some of the stuff I may not remember later.

Dear Brett,…..

“Go forward, my dear warrior, and take with you my love and deep thanks for what you have already given us.”

This excerpt from a letter to Brett Whiteley from his hero Lloyd Rees shortly before his death. This favourite from my bookshelf is Encounters with Australian Artists by Janet Hawley.  When Brett Whiteley learned of Rees’ impending death he wrote a heart felt letter telling the elderly artist of his admiration and influence in his own work and to say goodbye. Rees replied with equal emotion and I cry each time I read these letters. I have had the book since 1993 and it still has the same affect on me. The conversations with the other artists in the book are just as fascinating.  Pictured here is Lloyd Rees Road to Berry that I drove every day for a year and each time it was Lloyd Rees in my thoughts when I rounded the bend.