Self Portrait - 170711

I’m 13 years of age and I’m sitting in art class, studying graphic design. I’m working on the most amazing imagined city. Abstract, colourful, surreal. It’s the city of my dreams. I’m so completely at home and alive in this moment.

Then comes another moment. The one that will define the next 20 years of my life. “The work is average, it shows no real potential.” With just 9 careless words from the teacher my dream is gone.

And so my journey begins …

I spent the next 20 or so years of my life dancing around the edges of art. I sewed; I took classes in ceramics, scrapbooking, lead-lighting; I played with crayons and pencils; I soaked up colour and imagery; but I never went near a paintbrush or dared to think that I could be an artist.

I delved into a career as a youth worker and spent 16 years working in the not-for-profit sector with marginalised communities. I traveled the world and spent time living and working in the United States at summer camps, ski resorts and environmental education centres. For a number of years I had an incredible job traveling throughout Australia working with young people in Indigenous communities. I met lots of amazing people and learned a lot about life, the good and the bad.

In the year 2000 I met my soulmate on a trip to Colorado, USA. We live with our two beautiful fur children in the inner north of Melbourne, Australia.

Overall I’ve had a pretty great and lucky life - friends, family, a career, hobbies, travel. There have been tough times that knocked the wind out of me, and wonderful moments that lifted me above the clouds.  But for the longest time there was always something missing. An emptiness deep in my soul that never went away. An unnamed desire I couldn’t put my finger on.

It was 2007 when I came across the single remaining copy of mixed-media magazine Cloth Paper Scissors sitting on a bookshop shelf. Opening the pages was like coming home. In that moment I knew I had found the missing piece.

I began painting in late 2007. Initially I worked a lot with mixed-media, collage and even textiles (you can see some of my early work here). Over time I’ve refined my practice and developed my style, and now work primarily with acrylics and spray paint. My work is defined by a love of colour, simple mark-making, and layers upon layers of paint that form vibrant works of art. (see all my recent work here)

Realising my dream of becoming an artist has taught me that it’s possible to make all our dreams come true, if we believe and take gentle steps to make them happen. I hope that my artwork will inspire you and encourage you to pursue your own passions and dreams.

My Mum is always telling me how “tinny” I am, an Australian colloquialism for someone who is considered to be unusually lucky, thus the name ‘tinniegirl’.

I’m 41 years of age and I’m sitting in my studio, staring out the window. There’s an array of colour, pots and tubes of paint, and works in progress. The birds are singing. The cat is curled up on a chair. I’m so completely at home and alive in this moment.

And so my journey continues …