Tell us about yourself.
I live in Maroubra in Sydney, Australia, but I’m originally from country New South Wales. I grew up in a town of 1200 people. I’m married to Jo Thomas; we have two children, Bella and Will, and a Great Dane named Blu.
What is your favourite music?
At the moment it’s Ludovico Einaudi but that might change next week. I love all styles of music.
What is your favourite flower?
Magnolia Grandiflora (gasp!); gardenias for their scent.
A storm or sunshine?
Give it to me all in one day! Colour is life, remember? If I had to choose, though, storm – for the drama and those deep blue-grey cloud colours.
The beach or mountains?
One of the reasons I like Bali so much is that you can experience both – in one day if you want! The beach for the feeling of cool water on your skin and the rhythm of the waves, and mountains for their breathtaking wonder.
What is your least loved chore?
Ironing. In fact, I avoid it by embracing the creased, crumpled look.
What is your favourite chore?
Washing the sheets and hanging them on the line to dry in the sun – oh the freshness!
Is there a person in history you would love to meet?
Rembrandt – I would want to know how he came to paint such a profoundly beautiful painting like The return of the Prodigal Son. It’s painted in such a raw, authentic and heart felt way. I’d love to stand behind him and watch him paint.
What concerns you the most about the world?
The path away from morality. The growing expanse of “grey”.
What is your job title?
Wife, mother and artist best describes what I do day to day. My day is bookended by all of the practical things it takes to run a house. Most of my day is spent in my studio painting. I am an oil painter.
What is it that you love about what you do?
Where to start… I love everything about it. I love the bland, boring, ordinary days and the exhilarating colourful days. I just think it’s because it resonates with how God has made me. When I create/make/paint I feel His pleasure. I love the process of what I do. It’s slow and contemplative – a perfect antidote to this fast-paced world.
What are the challenges you face in what you do?
Trying to get as much work done as possible between those practical bookends at the beginning and end of my day. Oil painting is a slow process and I want to work faster than what the process allows. There’s a lesson there! I have more ideas in my head than what I can execute.
How did you end up doing what you do today?
I’ve always wanted to make/create stuff, even as a young child – I just never grew out of it. I went to university and studied graphic design when I left school, then moved to Sydney to find work. I worked in various ad agencies, design studios and in publishing houses. I loved my work, but when I got married and had children a few years later, I decided to stay home and care for them. The time with them was wonderful, but I felt very dry as a creative person – I really missed my work and felt an overwhelming desire to create again. One day Jo brought home a small white shopping bag filled with the most incredible pieces of fruit. I was so inspired that I dug out my old coloured pencils and drew them. The feeling was exhilarating – unbeknown to me that was the beginning of a whole new season! The drawings got larger and more detailed and I started to enter art awards and exhibitions. Around this time I remember seeing an art exhibition in a small gallery in Alexandria that inspired me to dream bigger. The small paintings were created using a technique used by the old masters – layers of paint applied over time to create a sound and beautiful finish. I looked into where I could possibly learn the same technique and begin to paint. God must have heard my heart whisper, and a few weeks later I found a studio school in Redfern that took on 20 professional level art students to teach them techniques and principles of the masters over three years. Perfect! It was a massive stretch, especially with little children who required lots of care and attention. After the three years and some massive life “stretch marks”, I finished and was exhilarated by the fact that the teaching of these amazing techniques gave me wings to create whatever I could dream up. This is where I am today – outworking those principles into making art that might just cause people to see a glimpse of heaven.
How do you see and use what you do as your mission field?
My mission field is anyone I come in contact with. With that, I pray that my influence enlarges. It’s not about me, but Jesus in me, and reaching as many as possible. It’s about bringing my ordinary self into His greatness – taking my whole life and placing it before God as an offering. I also know that my work needs to continually grow in skill. There is so much more that I want to accomplish in this field. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.