Category Archives: New Paintings

The Awakening.

Trevor Jenkins. Rubbish Warrior.

” The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say,
Sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

Derek Walcott.

A Special Man Indeed

Let me introduce a very special human being who you may or may not have heard of. One of our very own Central Australian, much loved, much honoured and respected Special Persons. Dick Kimber.

Briefly, this lovely man is celebrated for his services to the community through research projects and the recording of information of national interest in the areas of history, anthropology, Aboriginal art, ecology and land management practices in Central Australia. Google is full of him, if you would like to delve further. A very interesting character indeed, and a life fully lived ☺️

Such beautiful energies that radiate pure Goodness…..and I couldn’t resist it. Just had to try and capture those energies on canvas

The Long Wait

A painting I did some years ago, and I titled this one The Long Wait…which reflects my state of being over the past eighteen months or so.  A complete void, as far as any sort of creative pursuit is concerned, and it is painful!   However isn’t it the case that these are the very episodes of life that present themselves as an opportunity for growth….if we both recognise….and accept.  Easy to say, hard to do….but then again, you are stuck anyway, and so the general rule is to call a halt to the fruitless struggle to fight one’s way out of the net, and simply…. listen.  

And so I have done a lot of listening, and I have learnt a deeper level of quiet trust.  A “knowing”, that goes beyond the need for “the answer”.

And so, out of the blue, one of my favourite human beings sent me a little video of his latest exploits…..and I sensed that my long wait had at last read its final chapter.

Trevor Jenkins, the so called Rubbish Warrior, a homeless man who I had had the privilege of painting some years before.  In the video I “read” a soul who had himself allowed Transformation to visit him, and I realised that I was beholding an entirely different soul to the one I had encountered several years before, beautiful though that Soul has always been.

I am inspired to try and capture this on canvas, and it has only been made possible for me to do that because of the generosity of the film maker who has given me permission to paint from his video stills.

Vijay Daniels, who is a Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, who has created several films, some of which can be viewed on YouTube.   i.e. ‘Paper Elephant’ and ‘Sarah Sarah’ .

September 2018

After twelve months of aimless wandering in the painting wilderness, I finally decided that as the painting genie was not going to land on my shoulder and wave the magic wand, I was just going to have to jump in off the deep end and see if I could make it happen again….
And so I decided to do something different. On a much larger canvas.
A friend kindly pointed out that after seven years of painting full on for the Gallery, I was belatedly following the example of Mother Nature, who works for six years and takes Year Seven off for R&R. I love friends like that!


Professor David Bohm

Doreen McKormack

I have struggled a bit this year, swinging between the need to have a bit of a spell from painting and feeling a degree of niggling grief at the apparent loss of motivation.  Confusing, and I do hope that my passion will re ignite in the coming months.

I did manage to paint an impression of Professor David Bohm, a Quantum Physicist, and one of Stan’s heroes.  Stan’s Christmas surprise, and he loved it!

Doreen, my recent but valued friend, is one of the local Aboriginal Elders, and she emerged on the canvas looking a tad more serious than she actually is.  I was tempted to bin it and have another go, as I had wanted to bring out the twinkly side of her nature, but then thought no….Her people talk about being ‘strong’, and it is a greatly valued trait, especially in the grandmothers….and perhaps that is what was wanting to express itself….as that is exactly who Doreen is.  A strong, proud Aboriginal woman.

September and a New Project

This lovely Aboriginal Elder man, Tony Liddle, is the one who triggered a lightbulb moment for me.  A much needed lightbulb moment, because I had been feeling that I was well and truly stuck, and perhaps even at a dead end!  (We creative souls DO get things out of proportion at times)

Tony has a real heart for the Old People, who, as he says, have special stories to tell, and want to tell them before they leave us…..And I thought, Ah, I could do that!  Through my art…..And the idea grew from that

…..The idea being an exhibition which would be their exhibition, rather than mine, where they get to tell their amazing stories, in their own words, recorded alongside each of their portraits in a local exhibition space….and at the end of the exhibition, get to keep their portraits, if desired.

I estimate that it will take me two years to realise, as it will be slow going, and is a project that necessarily requires progress to be made one step at a time, and simply doing what is in front of me to do, rather than projecting too much into the future.  Both challenging and absorbing, which is how I love it!

Peter Spence

Now here’s a man I admire. One of our Outback heroes who battles climate, soil and markets in order to put the food on our collective tables.

Here is what his wife Helen proudly says about her lovely Man. (He calls her his Bride. How lovely is that?)

“Pete comes from a long line of property owners, fourth generation in the Longreach Muttaburra area. His Father was on a family block out of Muttaburra when Pete born, he is the youngest of four children and at the age of two they moved up the road to a new block.

WE married in 1985 having two children and the family bought their fourth property in 1989, just as the Floor price was taken off the wool. Then one of the biggest droughts hit our area leaving us in finical ruin. We had to sell 2 of the properties to keep the banks happy.

We finally decided I would go back into town to work as we had two children at boarding school and then Pete got a job as a Rural Lands Officer in the small town of Ilfracombe. This meant he was away all week and going back up to the property on the weekends. A hard life but one that finally led him to working for Desert Channels Queensland.”

And for his dogged dedication to his calling, he received a 2016 Landcare Award…and this is what was reported in Queensland Country Life

“For Longreach’s Peter Spence, killing weeds and feral animals isn’t a job, it’s a calling.

The unassuming man is synonymous with the Desert Channels Queensland brand, a product of the old school where you didn’t ask anyone to do something you aren’t prepared to do yourself, and his dedication was rewarded at the DCQ Legends of Landcare dinner on Friday night.

In making the presentation, CEO Leanne Kohler said Peter epitomised the Landcare ethic, demonstrating it before it even had a name.

“He inherited it from his father, who believed you left country in better condition than what you found it,” she said. “In his jobs since leaving the land, Peter has shown that this Landcare ethic has never left him.”

“He understands the country, the issues and the people, developing relationships with landholders and shire officers, and generating a calm sense of hope and optimism that prickly acacia can be beaten,” Ms Kohler said. “There hasn’t been a landholder approached under the program who hasn’t agreed to come on board.”

He was one of a few given accolades at the Legends of Landcare awards dinner held at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach last Friday.”

A Man and His Hat opening

The scary bit well and truly over….but check out what Tony Liddle had to say about the culture of the Aboriginal stockman. His stories are just beautiful….I am very grateful to him for sharing his stories with my guests….and most especially, he has agreed to have me do his portrait! I am so honoured, because he is a truly special human being, and I am looking forward to spending time with him….and maybe I will get to hear a few more of these wonderful stories that sadly, few people get to hear.

August Exhibition

A Man and His Hat

The Residency Arts Program is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Alice Springs artist Betty Davies.

 Through a series of impressionistic portraits, the significance of the iconic stockman’s hat is presented as a tribute to the bushmen of Central Australia.

 ‘A hat defines a man in terms of identity and lifestyle, and much careful deliberation goes into the choosing of this treasured item of male attire’

 Join us for the opening on Sat 1st July at 11 am

 The Residency is located on the corner of Parsons and Hartley Streets

April 2017

Have just returned from a month at the seaside, which explains the inactivity on the painting front.
As we were fortunate enough to find a holiday house that was literally on the beachfront, we were able to spend time watching those amazing surf board riders at close range doing their thing. Completely engaged in what they were doing, totally in the present, and unaware of anything but remaining upright on that surfboard!….and it occurred to me that it is a bit like painting, really, in that there is no awareness of the passing of time, the temperature, the need to eat or even whether either the back or the feet are completely over the exercise! Heaven, actually.

January 2017

Commissioned portraits can be a real challenge.  What does the painter see?  What does the sitter think that the painter sees?  What does he WANT the painter to see?

You want to do your very best for your client, and hope that he or she will be delighted with the result, and will agree with you that yes, that is how I see myself….and I like what I see! …. Or, wow, I have not seen myself in that light, but I DO like that someone else has!

In the case of this particular client, we weren’t too long into the initial interview, and I ‘saw’ what I needed to see.  And that was, a lovely man who, although holding a position of power in his profession, nevertheless did not feel the need to flaunt the fact, but who rather exuded a grace and a gentleness of spirit.

After two ‘failed’ attempts, and a degree of frustration, the third canvas finally agreed with me, and we happily settled on this result.

December 2016

Leonard Cohen

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October 2016

Tell you what, portrait painting can drive you NUTS!!
After the marathon struggle, and still on the easel, it all looks so ‘perfect’. Then comes The Assessment….when the ‘finished’ work is propped up on the dining room sideboard for another look in a different light. Can be devastating! As well as ego shattering.
….And then comes the process of ‘adjusting’, which can sometimes take longer, and be much more harrowing than the initial time of genuine fun and exhilaration in the studio….because, of course, the portrait must be perfectly balanced, otherwise one eye can look like it is on some sort of stick, and projecting about a metre or so in front of the other….or the nose resemble that of the old rhinocerus!
…..And the worst thing I can do is to ask my lovely Stan to tell me what is ‘wrong’….which he does….because he has a terrifyingly savage eye for detail and accuracy!…Which of course really does nail it…but then again it means still more problems to solve!
…..And then I think, ‘Well, I’m happy with it now’, and up it goes on social media, or taken to the gallery, and therefore exposed to more critical scrutiny. Ego all but non existent by then.
…..And then months later, you revisit…and again, horrors, horrors, why didn’t I see that before?? And it’s all a bit too late now, because the painting is invariably in another state, or on the other side of the planet, hanging on somebody’s wall, AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT !!
And so why do I keep torturing myself? Because I am totally hooked, absolutely obsessed….and wouldn’t have it any other way….


Have just experienced one of those months where too many things have kept me from the studio.  All good things, mind you, and all a part of everyday life but nevertheless I am looking forward to putting August behind me and getting back to ‘work!’ It has been a case of snatching the odd hour here and there, which has surprisingly resulted in two finished pieces!


I decided that I would lighten up a bit this month and have a bit of fun with two characters….and so I did…But I couldn’t help myself.  I went back to my favourite subject, and out popped this old fella!  I painted him to the soundtrack of One Night The Moon, hence the title, Unfinished Business.

Is That So? 56x46cm Trans v red, mars violet, u blue, aus sienna

                        Is That So?

IMG_1655 (1)

                      Well I Never!










Unfinished Business 60x42cm Aus sienna, p blue, trans v red

              Unfinished Business 

June, 2016

Thought I had painted Fellas In Hats out of my system,

however the trouble is, I am not short of subject material,

and I can see myself adding more and more to the collection!

Why not, though.  That’s what life is about, isn’t it?….following one’s passion, and doing what nurtures that much desired sense of inner delight!


60x50cm Pthalo green, aus sienna, trans red oxide60x48cm Indigo, trans v red, Aus sienna




50x42cm Diox purple, Aus sienna

Have almost completed my Fellas in Hats collection, ready for an exhibition next year….

…..And having painted these lovely fellows out of my system, I now find myself contemplating the subject of strong women, and in particular, the Elder ladies of our outback communities.   Mothers who have invested much in the next generation, and who have the answers to the issues that persist…..

If only the whitefella would acknowledge that, and relinquish his need to interfere…..

How special is this?

This morning I received a lovely message, accompanied by a photo, from a man from Melbourne who had purchased a set of three Trevor Jenkins, Rubbish Warrior paintings for his wife’s birthday. She had seen the paintings on the website, had expressed a particular attraction to these three, and so her husband took it upon himself to surprise her for her birthday. He went to SO much trouble over the purchase, and was SO excited at the prospect of surprising his wife on her special day….which is today.
It always makes my female heart sing when I encounter a man who wears his love for his wife on his sleeve with such openness!  It was particularly sweet that they invited me into their special day in this way, and so it has made my day a special one too!

February/March 2016

It is sadly the case that for no apparent reason, your creative genie can leave the room on you….which is what happened to me.  Again.   And of course who turns up next?  The little voice that comes to sit on your shoulder to gleefully tell you that you are finished as a painter! However, if you choose to ignore the voice, and resist the urge to want to control the situation, or to force an outcome, then the genie eventually returns….Which is what happened to me, when she reappeared several weeks later and whispered three little words in my ear: “Blokes in hats”.  In that moment I was transported into renewed passion, and full of ideas for the new project!  Within a very short space of time, seven of these lovely old fellows have appeared on canvas, in quick succession, and once again I am in heaven!  I have no idea where this will lead, or if indeed it will lead anywhere at all, however that is not my problem.  My part is to do what is in front of me to do and simply enjoy doing what I do….and the outcome, if there is to be one, will take care of itself…or it won’t….but it is about just getting on with doing what you do, regardless of the final outcome.  Doing it because you HAVE to do it!

November 2015

This month I have been mulling over the work of the British Biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, and his theory of Morphic Resonance.  The idea that the whole of the universe has a kind of memory and that each individual within a species draws on a collective memory, as well as contributing to it.  Experiments over many years have shown that if a new trick is taught to say, a group of rats in the one locality, that before long rats all over the world will learn the same trick quicker, and straight away!….So that it enables new patterns of learning and thinking to spread faster than they might otherwise do.  Not to mention changing the very nature of the rat.

It light of all the terrible events that are occurring in the world, it made me wonder what would happen if, instead of us humans allowing ourselves to be transfixed by the evil, we turned our attention to pondering Goodness, which is equally if not more so the reality of this planet on which we all reside at this present moment in time.

60x42cm Trans yellow, p grey, chrom green oxide, t red oxide

75x60cm. P grey, trans red oxide, mars violet, raw umber