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A quick post to celebrate my donning a different hat (I really have far too many), this time getting back to art.

It has been far too long since I last put an exhbition together - painting tends to be the activity that is most easily bumped by the pressures of making a living, parenting, etc. - and I was delighted when Jamie and Bruce at the Little Blowhole Art Bar in Kiama presented Penny and I with the opportunity to show together.

Since moving to New South Wales from London I have been fascinated by the cabbage trees (Livistona australis) that pepper the paddocks of the region. Wherever these trees are found, they stand as an echo of the rainforest that once covered much of the area. Quite why the cabbage tress were left is far from clear. There are numerous theories, from a desire to keep a tropical feel to the landscape, to the use of fire to clear the undergrowth after the forest was logged.

As the paddocks are used to graze cattle, there are no new palms emerging, so the trees that can be seen are all hundreds of years old. The trees have also played a totemic role for the Tharawal (or Dharawal) people indigenous to this part of Australia. There are songlines that tell of the trees having been spread throught the coastal areas of NSW, and the heart of the palm can be eaten, although this kills the tree and was therefore only consumed at special events or in lean times.

My desire to record these magnificent trees led me to use calligraphy brushes and ink to lift them out of the landscape and present them in a new light, highlighting their individual forms and in stands of multiple trees. The work has almost sold out now (although I am happy to take commisions!), but here's a link to the online gallery:


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