Breaking down the fear and letting in a little magic.

I’ve realised in recent months that if I go to my grave never having learnt to play the guitar I’ll be ok with that. Same with jumping out of an aeroplane. Bungee jumping. Not a second thought for any of it.

But I’ve also realised in recent months that if I don’t set aside some time to paint, in 10 years time, that will be an enormous regret.

So I’ve been making some room – physically and mentally – to make it happen.

Getting up early. Stepping away late afternoons.

Doing the do.

River Flats II

Detail River Flats II

I’ve been a bit quiet here because work’s been full on but in amongst that I also committed to driving down to Sydney for 10 Saturday painting classes with John Bokor at the National Art School.

Sometimes I think you can come to the right teacher at exactly the right moment and I felt this with John. I went to Sydney not to paint still lifes, but to find confidence with oils, to understand how to set them up, use them and begin establishing my own process and take the first steps towards finding my own visual language.

And somewhere during those 10 weeks John flicked a switch on for me.

Secret Gully 2016

All of a sudden, I’m not frightened anymore.

I’m on my way.

So John, if you find your way here, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all of it.

Study River Flats 1

The other thing that’s had an enormously liberating impact is reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. If you have dreams of leading a creative life or simply of bringing more creativity into your life, and you find yourself making excuses about why you can’t do the do, I swear it will make you see things in a whole new light.

A lighter, less burdensome light.

A light that says it’s ok to be playful, to find your joy in whatever form works for you.

But you’ve got to turn up. You’ve got to make it happen.

It’s had a ripple effect through us and a ripple effect through friends. So lovely to see.

River Flats 1

Detail River Flats I

As part of all of this, I made a commitment to myself to enter four pieces into Art Unlimited in Dunedoo in May.  These are they.

I read something in recent days and for the life of me I can’t track down the source. I think it might have come from south coast painter Meagan Jacobs, another lovely find in recent times. It went something like this… “Nothing is ever perfect, we just choose to stop in a good place.”


No regrets. No excuses.

Get out there and do your do.



The River Flats I  95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
The River Flats II 95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
Secret Gully 26.5 cm x 70cm  $520.00
River Flats Study  26.5 x 20cm  $190.00

John Bokor is represented by the King Street Gallery.


    When dreams change

    I’m letting go of our plan to travel around the Mediterranean this year.

    For now at least. And if I’m honest, it hasn’t been that hard to do.

    2016 was meant to be the year but so much has changed since January 2013 when the idea was first hatched – not just in North Africa, in Syria, in Europe, but in our own little world. So I’m off to rewrite my About page.


    I’d thought that when the kids finished school and uni that we’d be free to strike out.

    But dreams can change.

    And sometimes you think you want something so badly but discover that actually, some dreams are not as important as you’d first thought.

    Or, as in my case, other dreams have stepped in to take their place.

    Having survived the HSC year, Darce has been one of those kids who is utterly unsure of what he wants to do. He still is. But after a bit of a break, he’s jumped on a train. And as one of my oldest friends said to us a few months back  “They need to just jump on that first train, a first best option. If they don’t like where it’s heading, they can get off at the first stop and jump on another train. And again. And another one after that … But at least they’re on a train heading somewhere. They’re not just sitting on the platform watching the trains go past.” 

    It was such good advice.


    We were down at the river together this morning. With cameras in hand. Chasing a sunrise.

    Sunrise Macquarie River flats Bathurst

    Meanwhile Maddy has won a scholarship to do a Masters in Fashion and Society at Parsons in New York.

    I’ve never seen her want anything more.

    Nor work so hard for it.


    But amidst the excitement, the reality of it all has hit in the last couple of days.

    Two years.

    There have been lots of happy tears.

    happy tears

    And for now, for this year at least, all I want to do is get some windows in the back shed and paint. I don’t know whether it will take me anywhere but man it makes me happy.

    macquarie river flats

    So this is our little train for now.

    Algeria might be off the table.

    But New York is looking good.

    And last time I checked, dreams are still free.


    One train stop at a time.



      An open letter to Rod Smith, Regis Resources

      river painting 2

      Dear Rod,

      It was a pity that you ducked away early from last night’s Council meeting.

      Had you stayed after your presentation, you would have been able to put faces to the names of those who have voiced their various opinions – for and against – about your proposal to buy Bathurst’s recycled water which translates to denying 8-10 million litres of water a day from the Macquarie (Wambool) River.

      Had you stayed, as the full chamber of residents did, listening with interest to a record breaking, vibrant, feisty, public question time and waiting for the Council vote, you would have heard a wide range of concerns, issues and experiences. And yes, you would have felt our passion, our emotion.

      In your submission you caution Council to be wary of emotive opposition, but we, as residents, as ratepayers, tree changers, fisherman, business owners, and proud Bathurstians all, we are the ones who choose to stay rather than blow through, and we have every right to be passionate about this issue.

      This is our home.

      The river is our lifeblood.


      So let me caution you Rod.


      Bathurst is a region with smarts. It’s a region with talents. A region of creatives. Of academics. Of people who know and understand the land. It’s a region with history and heritage and a seductive landscape that creeps into your soul and the Macquarie (Wambool) lies at the centre of it all. So when you visit our home I would ask that you treat it, and us, with respect.

      People have told me during the week that it’s standard practice for mining companies to offer sweeteners to local businesses and organisations. It might be standard practice but that does not make it honourable.

      I assume now, Regis’s energies will be focused on delivering up an Environmental Impact Study to support your DA. An Environmental Impact Study that your company will commission and pay for.

      Well, when that’s ready, we will still be here.

      Ironically your proposal has brought us all together. And we are stronger for it. This campaign has reminded us what an eclectic, brilliant, egalitarian and resilient community Bathurst is. And when new people, and businesses, come to this region we want them to come – as Cr Jess Jennings said last night – as family.

      The foundations are laid. Bathurst is drawing a line in the sand Rod. We’re suggesting it’s time the mining juggernaut in this country learnt where the brakes are. And in the years to come we hope Bathurst will be known as the region that stopped the runaway mining freight train.


      We all learnt something last night.

      Had you stayed you would have learnt it too.

      It’s the Wiradyuri word for respect and go slowly.



      Yindyamarra Rod.

      Have a good day.




      To anyone interested, please join the Don’t Mine The Macquarie Facebook group.

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