I was born in Sydney. I have lived, studied and worked for extended periods in Spain and France. After living abroad and completing Language Diplomas at both the Sorbonne and the University of Sevilla, I completed a double degree in Spanish at UNSW. I have worked as a University Lecturer in Spanish for many years and most recently as an Educational Management Consultant and Executive Coach. I currently reside in Sydney with my husband Gordon. My adult children have flown the coop.
I never went to art school. Illness got me into painting. In 2007 I became very ill after the death of my father. His death was the result of a freakish accident. He underwent an emergency craniotomy. My lion of a father lay there helplessly in Intensive Care for five weeks, hooked up to many lines and drains, with a stapled skull. He contracted a chest infection they couldn’t treat. He was brain damaged – we didn’t know what form that damage would take. He survived all of that but he died after he was moved from Intensive Care. It was extremely traumatic and after the funeral I collapsed with pneumonia.
The problem was that I could not get better. I was extremely ill and no-one was able to diagnose the cause of my illness. I was unable to work. I was unable to do much. I was unbelievably frustrated. I had to let go of many parts of my life and I felt very distressed and diminished by this. I was forced to let go of things that I had worked very hard for and the losses seemed to be never ending.
A friend suggested that I try a painting class. I thought it would be great if I could do just one thing for a few hours that didn’t drain me and gave me some distraction and pleasure.
During this class I began a piece of work called Constellations. I was pleased with it and I got very positive feedback and compliments on this piece of work. I was off! I was hooked.
What started as an activity to help me manage chronic illness became a whole story of it’s own. My own experience is that, beyond any doubt, art heals.
PS – With great persistence and research I did eventually get proper diagnoses and modalities of treatment – that’s another story.