When did you first realise you were an artist?
There was a very distinct day in which art took hold of me, and I still remember it so clearly. At 14 I was visiting my aunt Ishtar in Katoomba for the weekend, which every now and then I was lucky to be able to do. But before I tell you about that day, allow me to paint a picture of this glorious location.
Katoomba is an eclectic town on the edge of the Blue Mountains National Park, in New South Wales, Australia. It's roughly a 1.5 hour drive from Sydney to get there, and as you get closer you can feel the temperature drop, see the vistas (along with your mind) expand, and breath in the realisation that you have successfully escaped the big smoke. Quite literally the difference is in the air... the ranges of Eucalyptus trees create this delicate blue haze that tastes of sweet, crisp serenity.
Mornings would be spent going for bushwalks to waterfalls, afternoons at Mountain Ridges Cafe with my aunt, and evenings cooking Thai or Indian curries. There's second-hand clothing stores, antique-shops galore, cute galleries and the to-die-for Devonshire tea at Megalong Valley Tearooms. The views are beyond spectacular...well, as long as the fog hasn't rolled in! This might sound like I'm overselling the place, but trust me it's very real. So much so, that my husband and I couldn't imagine any other place in Australia to tie the knot.
Anyway, during this visit I had brought my mothers oil paints and a small canvas, and spent 4 hours at the base of Minnehaha falls painting en plein aire. It was both calming and electrifying, and felt like only 20 minutes had passed.
It was the second time I had ever used oil paint, and when the painting was finished I was in absolute awe and surprise that I had created it. That painting still hangs in my aunts' home right by the front door, and it stands as a beautiful reminder of that feeling of connection to the world around me and the start of something wonderful. Below is a video of my Dad jumping 15 metres into the pool at that same Minne Haha Falls. He reckons the climb up there was just as dangerous and the jump!
So, that's my story for when I started painting and why I just can't give it up.
No matter how a painting turns out, the experience of creating it brings me a moment of closeness to the magic of this place.