Juggling Jellyblubbers


One painting leads to another, and another, and another. Velasquez started it, John Olsen changed it, and I melded it into a slippery oozy painterly mess.  Somehow the egg and the jellyfish became a transluscent clue into my painting re-birth.  Jellyfish have emerged in my drawings of the past, they are at the end of the jetty, gliding just below the surface – transparent water, transparent flesh, ungrabbable.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.





Vanishing Views of Port Kembla Stack

The Stack and MM Beach

The Stack and MM Beach

Lately I feel parts of my life are slowly being erased.  This week news that the stack, my stack, is coming down.  It may be an unsightly industrial world blot to a lot of people but it feels part of my history. I have used it as a personal symbol within my artwork as a reference to my family.  The picture above shows the stack, a marker,  to the left and the beach to the right where I scattered my parents ashes together.  A pointer in the landscape.

Sketch looking north to stack from Shellharbour

Sketch looking north to stack from Shellharbour






Port Kembla Stack

The Port Kembla stack pins the coast firmly in place.  It is over 200 metres tall.  My mother and I both attend the school directly underneath.  As a child at lunchtime in the playground we would dare each other to throw our heads back far enough to look to the top and make it look as though it was swaying side to side and we would collapse on the ground, dizzy.


The secret beauty of an industrial town..

The secret beauty of an industrial town..


My mum would glimpse it rising in the distance coming from the north or south and say “There’s the stack. We’re nearly home.”

Commorant Boat

A few years back my boat shed  home was de-bricked and now the green flatness I pass most days still brings back memories.  I wonder after the stack is gone on whether there will be a ghostly sentinel that replaces its existence for me.   Like the twin towers when you catch a glimpse of old footage and it catches your breath, the sky will seem empty in that place.

I have watched a show recently called Vanishing Views where architect Ptolemy Dean sketches landmarks that are disappearing.  He had sketched the Sheffield Cooling Towers prior to demolition.  This week I intend to capture it much as possible.   The event has made me consider views of the imposing chimney and how I would find the right vantage point to paint or sketch from.  Unfortunately the view from the playground is also prohibited as recently the school too has been partly demolished.

The Stack & MM





MM Beach









The Stack and the playground

The Stack and the playground

jellyfish and stack 1

The boat shed, the school and the stack will all be physically removed like an erased De Kooning drawing.

Emus at the Beach

There is a stretch of coastline between Kiama and Gerringong on the NSW South Coast that is stunningly beautiful. Taking a walk up and over these hills for 6 km is no easy feat but when you are constantly stopped in your tracks by amazing sights it takes the pain away from your calves.

You first cross the beach – the sea on one side and lagoon on the other and through the cattle gate and you are amongst the hills that drop dramatically to the sea. The old farms with red-coated barns home to black and white cows. We used to call Port Kembla Cows -the same Football colours.  I didn’t expect an emu.  I imagined it running over the hills and coming to the ocean like a wonderful seaside holiday adventure and he just decided to stay.


I made it halfway – it was far too beautiful, far too hot and far too amazing to be sketchbook-less.

Next time I will go without a camera and take a pencil and pillow and just take it in.

Here are some of the photos along the way but I love the sign at the beginning of the track that warns you of multiple dangers.   It seems they missed out attacks by rampant emus.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



The Red Case and Killalea

I had not made plans to go with the Picknick Painters this week but things changed last-minute and they were going to Killalea. I thought that I may not be able to do this again for a while because of other commitments, so I threw my stuff in a bag, a book on Philip Guston for Kaye, some book binding notes and my sketchbook.  It looked pretty black towards the south so I wasn’t expecting to stay long. Killalea had its own plans for me.


It’s beauty never fails to amaze, pushed to the edge by McMansion after McMansion just a small mottled concrete barricade to stop the grey roofs from spilling in on the green hills. To the east, Bass Point, a quarry and the constant rumble of trucks on dirt that disappear behind the hill. To the west vivid yellow-green hills and escarpment hem us in even further. For me it’s the view northwards that tugs at my attention and draws me away from the natural beauty.

The stack sits embedded in a finger of coast, surrounded crucifixion like be a scattering of smaller inconsequential chimneys. Mum always said -“I know I’m home when I see that stack.” Each time I look at it, it conjures childhood memories in some form. Scanning out to sea eastward from the stack, the five islands off Port Kembla float amongst the shipping containers like large bags of jetsam. The last page in my sketchbook contained notes on jellyfish within the lake. Images and sketches sometimes merge and I found myself humming “Five Jellyfish sitting on a rock…” meanwhile I sketched my thoughts. A tanker towing the island and in turn the island towing the jellyfish. It made me think of the dreaming stories associated with the local Wodi Wodi people of the starfish and  the whale.

I couldn’t decide whether they were heading ashore or out to sea but it made me think of the red suitcase, a symbol of my need to run, to escape.

Each time I work it feeds more and more into the lake series which is becoming stronger in my mind through my experience in this landscape. I feel I have opened the suitcase a little more, perhaps feeling more ready to settle.