Thursday, June 3, 2010


From February to March of this year I had an amazing opportunity to live and work in Australia. I was the Artist in Residence at Guildford Grammar School in Guildford, Australia.
Since finishing school, I have had little time to work on my paintings, so this residency was an amazing opportunity. Two months of painting every day, swimming and enjoying the amazing flora and fauna of Western Australia. A perfect combination, especially during the snowiest winter in New York.

I stayed at a little house on campus surrounded by grape vines and banana trees and huge marshes that dried out during the summer to leave fields and fields of hay. I worked in an amazing lofted studio which the school provided. It was above the art classroom and looked out at the marshes from a long wall made up entirely of windows.

The light coming through the windows was amazing and the eucalyptus trees I saw in every direction reminded me so much of twisted reaching figures that I began to incorporate them into my compositions. In every direction I saw beautiful creatures and plants thriving in their natural environment, where I had only seen them secluded in zoos and botanic gardens. The "pigeon" population in Perth are actually parakeets...amazing!

On the weekends I would explore the country. I spent time with Adam, who offered me the residency, and his friend Michelle who took me around to the beaches and the botanic gardens and took me on weekend trips to the country. I saw kangaroo and emu and touched a baobab and finally saw a place where orchids grow like weeds!

An amazing creature can be found on Rottnest Island. The Quocker is a miniature species of kangaroo and lives,

almost exclusively on Rottnest. The island was named after the creatures, as they were mistaken for giant rats. The little guys are so used to company that they can be petted and scratched and seem to have an affinity for chips.

I have an obsession with water and the ocean. I bought myself an underwater housing for my camera just before the trip and finally realized my dream of swimming with the fish! I went snorkeling in the reefs on Rottnest Island! I gathered sea shells from the bottom of the ocean and sang yellow submarine to some unsuspecting fish (and the dozens of sun bathers who could hear my muffled song through the breathing hole of my snorkle,


It was an amazing trip and I got an incredible amount of painting done. I hope I can go back some day.

More to come about Australia and the paintings I completed in my second post, coming up!

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