The first time I visited Bali was nearly 25 years ago with a friend who had been there many times. I was told I would either hate it or love it. I loved it. We stayed in Sanur a relatively quiet area. I found it serene and enjoyed the beautiful gardens, the beaches and was very impressed with the Balinese concept of design. After the second trip I fell in love with this island. Every time I went back and walked down a quiet street in the afternoon and heard Gamelan music playing, or walked past a restaurant with the heady aromas of Balinese cooking, I felt like I had returned to my second home.
On visiting Ubud in the mountains, and exploring museums, galleries and art shops I related more and more to the colours I found in the designs of children’s clothing, the colourful sarongs and carved woodwork everywhere. I went back with a friend to the west coast of Bali to her cousin’s wedding which was traditional. It lasted all day. It gave me more insight to the traditions and colour of this island. Every time I went back I saw something new. I visited temples, met so many people, and found my own work started to change when my paintings started becoming brighter with intense colour. I wasn’t looking for a style but it looks like it found me. Being a traditionalist at heart because that was the way I was trained, I wanted to loosen up my style and to try different things.
So when I decided on a theme for my solo exhibition, Bali immediately came to mind. I’ve always loved the exotic and colourful with a dash of mystery. Bali fitted the bill. I’ve always loved flowers, gardens and birds. Bali had plenty of both. The island also had a mystique about it. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. There are lovely little villages away from the crowds, temples, jungle and so much more to explore. That is what I tried to depict in my paintings. The colour, serenity, flowers, birds and a bit of the exotic. Hopefully I’ve achieved this.
After reading about the McGrath Foundation I decided to donate a painting for a silent auction at my upcoming solo exhibition. I’ve always admired our nurses. My family has been touched by cancer, and going through such a tough time I remembered nurses, who although worked off their feet and must be affected by some of the terrible and sad things they see, they offered comfort and support when I needed it most.
I realise any cancer is devastating but my heart goes out to women, particularly those with young children, who find they have breast cancer, and the feelings of overwhelming fear, wondering how they will cope with looking after their families and themselves and having so many questions they need answered. On hearing that the McGrath Foundation was set up to provide nurses for support, providing so much emotional as well as physical support and advice, no matter where the patient was, touched me. Cancer can happen to anybody.
In my own small way I am hoping to raise whatever I can by silent auctioning my painting “Bathtime”. Every amount helps to support those in need, no matter what their financial situation. My hat goes off to these nurses and the work they do. Please support them.