What is a Tuck Shop? It is Aussie for a Canteen.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Beach Scene by Edgar Degas

I will be away for a few days on a beach vacation. See you all in the New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Mantra: Take A Chance

Image courtesy of zenogames.com

Go on, take a chance with your work. Do something risky and see where it leads you. I dare you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Inspirational Quote

Edgar Degas, Danseuse au repos, 1879

Art is not what you see, it's what you make other people see.

Edgar Degas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Claude Monet. The Magpie. c.1868-1869. Oil on canvas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In The News; A Colonel Who Also Paints

David Richardson, R No. 14

This was in the New York Times a few days ago. What an interesting life! Lt. Colonel David Richardson paints when he is not on military tour. I love how at the end of the artice he says he doesn't discuss art while with the Marines and he doesn't discuss his Marine life when he is with other artists.

You can find the article here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Mantra: Just Keep Swimming

Do you remember what Dory says to Nemo in the movie "Finding Nemo"? "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." And that is what I need to do. I just have to keep on swimming and all will be well. I need to keep going. Sometimes I get to a point where I want to give up and I do give up. But I can't do that anymore. I will make it to the other side where I will be happy with my work.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In The News

Mona Lisa, Leonard Da Vinci

Is it true that Leonardo da Vinci painted tiny letters into the eyes of Mona Lisa that may finally reveal the disputed identity of his model?

Go here for the article.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Mantra: Prioritize

Image courtesy of iprioritize.biz

As I find myself running around all over the place doing what I need to get done -boring but necessary errands, I find myself wondering will I be able to find the time to get into the studio today? I realize that what I love doing best is working on my art and everything related to it. I have to make it a priority to get into the studio and work on any one of my ongoing projects. When I do any type of art, I am much more relaxed and it makes me feel good.

What do you need to prioritize?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dreaming In Chinese

I recently read a terrific little book called " Dreaming in Chinese: Lessons in Life, Love and Language" by Deborah Fallows. She shares experiences after she and her husband moved to China that taught her just how complex Mandarin can be. It was a fun and witty memoir.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Mantra: If Not Now, When?

Image courtesy of blog.beliefnet.com

Oh, the excuses we all make about wanting to do something and then never getting around to it. What is stopping us? Is it fear? Is it laziness? Is it....? The list of reasons can go on and on. There is no time like the present to start that drawing or that painting!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Iced Vovo Biscuits

How to explain what Iced Vo Vo biscuits are like? They have a biscuit crumb and it's topped with a marshmallow topping and raspberry jam and sprinkled with coconut.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn, Oil on Canvas, "Woman on Porch" 1958

One of my favourite artists from my art school days is Richard Diebenkorn. I love his colours, his broad painting strokes and the types of subjects that he paints: people and landscapes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In The News

Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar au chat, 1941

I just read an article in the New York Times that apparently there is a trove of early works that have never been seen before! There is a box full of 271 previously unknown sketches, paintings and collages by one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists -Pablo Picasso! I look forward to the day these works appear in a museum.

You can find the article from the New York Times here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Mantra: You Have Nothing To Lose By Trying

With each action you take towards working on your creative project, you are learning so much. If you don't like what you have done, you can work towards fixing it. What I love about using oil paints is that you can always fix something because all you do is paint over it and start again. But nothing will be gained if you don't try something by doing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Claude Monet, The Luncheon, 1968

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Mantra: Actions Speaks Louder Than Words

Wallpaper courtesy of sentense.me

What do I mean by "Actions Speaks Louder Than Words?" So many times, I say "I am going to do this or I would love to do this or I need to do.." etc. But does it always happen? Not all the time. If you want to achieve your goals or resolve issues, you need to take action.

In relation to creativity, I learn so much by just doing something- whether it be a sketch or working on a painting. Just by picking up a brush or pen, I already feel better because I did something rather than thinking or talking about it. Even if it doesn't look right or it's not where I want it be -that's okay because I can only learn by doing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Twisties 11" x 14" Oil on Canvas

Okay, so you want to know what Twisties are? they are the Aussie version of the American Cheetos but much better. Why are they better? Because they don't taste greasy and don't leave a yellow stain on your fingers unlike what Cheetos do. What's funny is their tagline: "Life's Pretty Straight Without Twisties."

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Since art school, one of my all time favourite artists and greatest influences on my work is Henri Matisse. I love his colours, his subject matters and I absolutely love his style of painting. I tend to overwork my paintings and they become too tight in the brushwork. I would like my work to loosen up quite a bit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crazy for Cadbury Chocolate

When I was growing up in Melbourne, Australia -all we ate was Cadbury chocolate. When I arrived in New York 16 years ago, I couldn't believe how bad the American version of Cadbury chocolate was! It tastes very different to the Australian Cadbury and even the British Cadbury is so much better tasting than the USA version.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Mantra: Just Start

When I was struggling to jump start my art creative process again, I put up another sign in my studio: JUST START. That was it. Sometimes that all it takes to do anything is to "just start."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Late Bloomers

It was last October that I finally broke my 20 year creative block -can you believe it? I was floundering for 20 years since I left my fine arts university in Prahran, Melbourne. I came across this terrific article, "Late Bloomers"in the New Yorker. It was written by Malcom Gladwell. As soon as I finished reading this wonderful and inspiring article -I thought to myself -this is me-a Late Bloomer!

You can find the article here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baked, Not Fried

Whenever I go back to Australia, I always gorge myself on everything that I miss, especially the snacks! I am literally addicted to these cheese snacks called Cheese Shapes -they are baked, not fried.

I am going to try and do a sketch of this Cheese Shapes box and post it soon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alice Neel

Alice Neel
One of my favourite artists who paints portraits is Alice Neel. I love her style of paintings which are loose, contain luminous colours, and I love the way she captures the expressions of the people she is painting. She was a painter of people, landscape and still life. In the 1930's she moved to Spanish Harlem. Her portraits of the 1930s embraced left wing writers, artists and trade unionists. She moved to the Upper West Side in the 1960's. This led to a series of dynamic portraits of artists, curators and gallery owners, among them Frank O'Hara, Andy Warhol and the young Robert Smithson. She also maintained her practice of painting political personalities, including black activists and supporters of the women's movement.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Mantra: Stop Over Thinking!

It is amazing how our inner thoughts just literally stops us in our tracks. It almost paralyzes us and we simply cannot go forward. I put up a sign in my studio that said "Stop Over Thinking." I looked at it often and it finally turned my thinking around. I stopped listening to my inner negative thoughts and decided to just start painting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Will Barnet, 99 years old and still painting!

Will Barnet

I saw this article in the New York Times last week about the artist, Will Barnet who has been painting for over 80 years. From Beverly, Massachusetts, Will Barnet became a leading 20th-century New York based artist, best known for figurative paintings enhanced by abstract arrangements and printmaking. He was a key figure in the New York movement called Indian Space Painting, artists who based their abstract and semi-abstract work on Native American art.

In the article, it states that Will Barnet still paints for 3-4 hours a day. How inspiring is that?

You can find the article here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Damn It! Just Draw!

I know I don't draw nearly enough as I would like to. One of my goals this year was to draw for 15 minutes every day and that I had hoped eventually that it would just be incorporated into my every day life. It is not happening as yet.

One of the best and inspiring books about involving drawing into your daily routine is a book called "Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission To be the Artist You Truly Are" by Danny Gregory.

He also has blog. Here is the link:


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unleashing Your Artist

One of the first books which I loved and which would finally lead me on my way was "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. I did most of the exercises and to this day, still write 3 pages a day in my journal. It is an excellent book and very inspirational.

Here is a link to her blog:

The Artists Way by Julia Child

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Reading Books Is Sometimes Too Much!

Lately, all I have been doing at night is reading books -usually fiction. And I realized, I could be doing so much more with what little time I have at night. Don't misunderstand me, I love reading and reading is wonderful but sometimes you can read too much and not do much else especially if there are things you want to do. Usually, I have about an hour and half before I need to go to bed. So I came up with a list of about 23 things I could be doing that would help me move my art career along.

I won't bore you with all 23, as some of them are not arts related but I will list the things that are. I could be drawing, working on my art journal, coming up with ideas for drawings and paintings, researching other artists' blogs and commenting on them to generate interest for my work and blog, marketing my own blog, creating an Etsy account so I can put up my paintings/drawings for sale, creating my own logo and letterhead for when I actually sell work.

Instead of reading books, what could you be doing?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Visual Mandarin

I am now in my 2nd year of learning to read, write and speak Mandarin. On a Saturday morning, I take an adult beginner conversational class and then I sit in on my sons' 2nd grade class. I am hoping one day it will all fall into place if I practice every day.

I do believe that the best way to learn a language is to fully immerse yourself into the culture of whatever language you are learning. But the possibility of moving our family to mainland China in order for us to learn Mandarin is not on our horizon for now.

For your interest, I found this interesting article about Mandagrams which is using visual pictures to learn Mandarin.

Mandagram-Helping to Understand Written Chinese

Monday, October 4, 2010


What is Pavlova? It is considered the quintessential Australian dessert! It is meringue based, topped with whipped cream and usually with strawberries and kiwi fruit. I only added strawberries to the one I made.

Pavlova, Oil on Canvas, 11" x 14 "
This is a painting of the pavlova that I baked.

This is the photograph I took of the pavlova. Doesn't it make you want to eat the whole thing?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flat White Coffee

Flat White Coffee, Oil on Canvas, 11"x 14"
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. It is the coffee capital of Oz. We are obsessed with our coffee and the only way to have it is by having a Flat White Coffee!

The first in a series called "Nostalgic for Australia/Turning Chinese"

Aussie Burger, Oil on Canvas, 11'' x 14"

I painted this painting for my DH for Xmas last year. He loves burgers and he especially loved this Australian style burger. It has one sliced beetroot and you add a fried egg on top! After 20 years of being creatively unblocked, I finally found my new topic to paint -FOOD!

I first got the idea when I made a pavlova from scratch and then took a picture of it. I liked the way the picture turned out. So I thought -what if I painted food that I made or loved? And why not make it Australian themed food and then why not add my own spin to it by adding Chinese characters. I remembered an artist,
Wayne Thiebaud, whom I loved and admired in art school. He was an inspiration.