Botanical Fantasy

Local artist Susan Kinneally will display her first solo exhibition, Becoming, at Tweed Regional Gallery from 9 December 2016, showcasing a colourful series of watercolours inspired by her love of botany.

"Susan's work will be showcased under the Gallery's Community Access Exhibitions Program, which caters specifically to regional artists," Gallery Director Susi Muddiman said. "This popular program provides an opportunity for artists who reside in the Tweed, Kyogle, Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Scenic Rim or Gold Coast City shires to exhibit their work in a world class gallery environment.  Since the Gallery's relocation to Mistral Road, Murwillumbah in 2004, we have hosted over 100 exhibitions under the CAEP, ranging from exhibitions by professionally experienced artists to those at the very beginning of their creative career."

For 30 years, Kinneally practised as a senior art teacher at a Melbourne secondary school, teaching painting and drawing, ceramics, printmaking, set design and multi-media, among other art related subjects.  She was also the Art Faculty Coordinator and edited the school magazine. "I loved the demands of teaching, which kept me busy while bringing up my children amid the usual domestic joys and traumas of modern life.  Despite this busy life with work and family, I always found time to produce my own artwork. Since arriving in the Northern Rivers in 2013, I have had the time and opportunity to focus on my ambition to become an artist whose work is exhibited and appreciated,” she said.

"My creative explorations began with a course in botanical illustration. I love working with intricate detail, line and the transparency and sensitivity of watercolour.  However, I found the discipline of describing botanical features tedious. My drawings started to rebel. I decided to invent my own botanical world where I merge fantasy and fairy stories with sci-fi and wild theories of quantum physics. The known kingdoms of flora and fauna meld with fantastical creatures - one does not see at first the wrapping of a mermaid's tail around the stem of an Iris”.

"All the images on display in Becoming use the technique of stippling, a laborious method I first encountered while studying botanical illustration. Producing these images has been a long process involving much exploratory drawing. I first make a number of botanical studies, then start pushing and pulling to bring the image to life. Once the image has been drawn onto paper, I wash in the watercolour and build up the layers of colour, tone and pattern”.

Becoming will be officially opened on Saturday 10 December at 6pm (for 6.30pm) DST by Kinneally's long-time friend Karen MacDonald, and will be on display until 26 February 2017.

On Sunday 5 February 2017 from 1-3pm DST, visitors will be able to engage with the artist in the Gallery Foyer as she works on preparatory botanical sketches.  A folio of her work and resource materials will be available for visitors to browse.


-Susan Kinneally, Canna Lily and Dragon's Tail, 2015, watercolour and pen on Arches paper, 76 x 57cm
-Susan Kinneally, Mermaid Iris, 2013, watercolour and pen on Saunders paper, 76 x 57cm

Photography explores issues of stereotypes and life expectancy

Artist Michael Aird will shed light on his depiction of urban Aboriginal history and culture when he presents a talk at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Arts Centre on Sunday 6 November, in conjunction with the exhibition Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia.

Aird and the Director of Fireworks Gallery in Brisbane, Michael Eather, will speak at the Gallery from 2pm (NSW time) to discuss the themes in Aird's work. Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia is a travelling exhibition by the National Gallery of Australia, bringing together diverse works by some of the most significant Indigenous photographers and multimedia artists during the past five years. 

Aird has worked as a photographer in the area of Aboriginal arts and cultural heritage since 1985, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Queensland. He has curated more than 25 exhibitions, published several academic articles and has been involved in numerous research projects.

He is interested in recording aspects of urban Aboriginal history and culture and capturing the vibrant and important stories of Aborigines and the challenges they face.

His photograph Thinking about life, currently featured in the exhibition Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia, highlights the shorter life expectancy for Aboriginal men.

In particular, he aims to create images in contrast to those in mainstream media, which he describes as focusing on the "demonisation of Aboriginal men as criminals, alcoholics and violent paedophiles".

"Everybody has a story worth telling and I have selected people who I think are important and who have stories that are equally as important as the stories from the select few 'elders' and 'leaders' that are favoured by the government and the mainstream media," he said.

The exhibition will be on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre until 4 December, 2016, and will travel to Australian venues over the coming 18 months as part of the National Gallery of Australia's extensive touring program, sharing the National Collection with the wider Australian community. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Image: Michael Aird, Hector Mitchell Mossman Gorge Mission, 1989, digital print 40x28cm.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Retrospect Gallery Exhibition

Fishing Line by Ally Mansell

Fishing Line by Ally Mansell

Pipefish by Kaitlin Beckett

Pipefish by Kaitlin Beckett

Minions by Sergei Inkatov

Minions by Sergei Inkatov

RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER is a treasure-laden exhibition at Retrospect Galleries in Byron Bay. There has been an extraordinary response by artists, from around the region and over the seas, to a siren call by Retrospect Galleries for artworks focused on stories of the ocean.

“We were spoilt for choice!” exclaims exhibition coordinator Tegan Bell. “This is a richly textured event, with the layers of stories and images made tangible in the materials used - from canvasses and delicate embroidery to found objects, wood and mixed media diorama the variety of works is truly astounding.”

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (as well as being a very cool Iron Maiden song) is an English poem written in the 1790s by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is the tale of a sailor who has returned from a long and perilous sea voyage. It's a story that has to be told - an epic tale of elemental and karmic monstrosity. The wizened mariner regales a passerby with his haunting tale of the sea, its dangers, serenity and supernatural experiences. Like the songs of sirens, the tale of the mariner captivates and enchants the listener.

“Nostalgia plays a big role in our stories of the seas and sometimes this has very personal elements as well as a cultural element, as in the work of Ally Mansell remembering her grandfather’s sailor stories while working with popular images of fishermen and mermaids”, describes Bell.

“My love for the water, along with my Pop's stories of what he saw out at sea as a young sailor in the Navy, inspired me to create these collages” explains Ally Mansell. “They are exaggerated, the sea creatures are out of scale, some mythical and dreamlike, just like Pop's stories. I always knew his stories were probably embellished for the purpose of his grandkids' entertainment, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I loved it!”

From the majestic grandeur of Sergei Inkatov’s maritime oil paintings to the delicate detail of Leigh Newell’s painted shell or Marley Myles embroidered Sea witches, the exhibition encompasses the vastness and the minutiae of oceanic life.

The 3D objects in this exhibition are particularly exciting for their novelty and beauty. Danielle Schlunegger (from U.S.A.) creates exquisite dioramas of coastlines and ships, Bodhi Del Mar’s etched glassware is luminous and Kaitlin Beckett brings her steampunk style creations out of the canvas with metal sculpture.

Featured Artists: Adam Harriden, Ally Mansell, Bodhi Del Mar, Danielle Schlunegger, Gabriel Moreno, Hilary Hermann, Isabel Heiss, Jessica Watts, Kaitlin Beckett, Leigh Newell, Leigh Robinson, Leith Walton, Lucinda Wolber, Marine Edith-Costa, Marley Myles, Sergei Inkatov.

15 -29 September 2016
Retrospect Galleries, 52 Jonson St Byron Bay

5 minutes with Local Illustrator, Nic De Carlo

Nic De Carlo has called Byron home for the last five years. Inspired by conversations, his observations of the town and the “myriad of fascinating people who live in it,” Nic’s work is a playful interpretation of Byron’s signature charm and character. Saying that, “creative expression has always been the backdrop of my life,” Nic describes his approach to creating artwork as a “cathartic exercise” and an outlet. His watercolour and fine-liner illustrations epitomize his love for the “absurdities of every day life and the weirdness of people.”

“I find fascinating our modern day worries and how they can have so much influence on our behaviour and actions. These are the inspirations for my work.”

Emily. What do you think it is about Byron that draws in such an interesting and diverse crowd of characters?

Nic. I believe it is the carefree culture in which diversity and weirdness is celebrated, this originating from the hippie days that still have such a strong influence on the town and the people in it. 

Emily. I love the sort of comedic satirical social comment your that work makes on so many weird little novelties you find in everyday life. Can you tell me more about what has influenced this theme? 

Nic. I'm influenced by friends and family, the books and news I read and the films and comedy I watch (lots of satire), as well as artists I keenly follow. There are a few cartoonists that I have either followed for many years like Michael Leunig and Gary Larson and more recent ones such as Chris (Simpsons Artist) and Joan Cornellà. I gather a lot of inspiration from them. 

Emily. Have you got anything exciting planned for your art? I think you should write a book... 

Nic. I'm still building up a body of work but plan to do a little exhibition in the next few months. In the future I would love to make a coffee table book packed full of weirdos, haha! 

Emily. You've recently been "arting up" some surfboards. Can we expect to see some more of these in the future?

Nic. I'd love to do a few before summer. I've just  got to get my mates to offer up their boards, all of mine are already covered!


You can find more of Nic's art at @nicdecarlo

Artist Profile - Tracey Knowland

“I am not a religious person ... but when the sun backlights a leaf and nature's elegant design and symmetry are revealed, I feel a peace and divinity in that light.”


Tracey Knowland’s paintings are an interior designer's dream. Nothing in a home can capture a sense of the tranquil outdoors quite like a bit of greenery. But for those who don’t have the luxury of a green thumb, or, like myself, struggle to keep the smallest of succulents alive for more than a month, botanical-inspired artwork is the answer. "Human beings have an innate desire to connect with nature but in urban environments people can feel disconnected. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a garden, so it feels good to share a bit of mine around."

Tracey’s paintings perfectly transpose that magnificent dance of shadow and light created when the sun peaks through the canopy of the rainforest. Her gloriously green pieces, inspired by the garden she has devotedly built over the past 15 years, radiate calm and are regularly described as joyous and uplifting. Her limited edition prints are fast becoming sought after essentials in the Australian interior design world and beyond, and deservingly so.

"I started painting in earnest just over a year ago after a health scare ... I came home from hospital and set up paints and canvas. I didn't have a plan, I just started painting scenes from my garden; my place of reflection, beauty, tranquility. I work predominantly in shades of green, which I have recently learned has the properties of balance, harmony, peace, refreshment and love. Nature-based art is now documented to aid in healing and is increasingly being used in corporate wellness programs and hospitals. From the feedback I am receiving I truly believe there is something in that ..."


For more on Tracey's work visit:



5 minutes with Sharnee Thorpe - Print and Textile Designer

Sharnee Thorpe grew up in the seaside village of Hastings Point, 25 minutes north of Byron Bay and nestled in between Pottsville Beach and Cabarita. Hastings Point is adored by streams of holiday makers who take to the caravan park each year during summer to enjoy the surf and sun at Hastings Creek with their families. It’s a tiny oasis - the perfect picture of Australian beach culture. For the rest of the year, Hastings remains relatively quiet, giving locals like Sharnee boundless time to explore and appreciate their enviable little piece of paradise. "My childhood was spent outside running on the beach with our dog, gardening, or paddling around in canoes in the backyard," she says.

Now based in Sydney, it’s only natural that Sharnee’s humble beginnings in beautiful Northern New South Wales have given her work a signature bohemian aesthetic and exciting creative style, now sought after by many industry professionals. "I think growing up in such a small place really inspired me to get out and explore more of the world, which opened my eyes up the endless possibilities of what I could do with my life," she relates. Her designs have now been interpreted into garments shown in Elle Magazine, Vogue and Marie Claire and have graced international catwalks. Her work has been used by some of Australia’s most popular up-and-coming labels, including Steele, Sabo Skirt and Peony Swimwear and by household names like Sportsgirl and Lee Australia. 

Emily. You are obviously a highly creative person and a very talented artist. How did you make the decision to incorporate your artistic talent with fashion and pursue a career in textile design?

Sharnee.  Since I was a little girl I can remember drawing and painting birds with my artist Grandma. My Mum and both of my Grandmas were amazing at sewing so I used to spend hours playing in their sewing rooms making everything I could out of the amazing fabrics. School was always about the creative subjects for me - art, dance and marine studies… I think that's the only thing that got me through! My family were very open to whatever I wanted to do and never put pressure on me to go to university. After leaving school I did two snow seasons and a bit of traveling, mostly working in hospitality. I realised that I really didn’t want to work in hospitality for the rest of my life, so studying something creative was the next step.

I first studied Design Fundamentals at North Coast TAFE in Kingscliff to find out what kind of design was going to suite me best. This is where I found out about Textile design. I then looked into courses for Textile Design. RMIT was the only school in Australia to offer a degree in Textile Design, so I moved to Melbourne. It's quite a sought-after school and hard to get into as they only take 30 students a year. I worked really hard to get together a great portfolio. I even made my own portfolio folder out of painted silk and resin (a surfboard shaper friend helped).  I was so glad to be accepted because I didn’t have a plan B - my heart was set on this school!  I always wanted to be an artist but a lot of artists end up as art teachers. I didn’t really feel that was for me. So now I’m a artist for fashion labels! I feel very blessed being able to draw and paint every day and seeing my artwork walk down the street never gets old. 

Emily. Consumers never really get to see all of the different aspects that go into creating the clothes we wear. People are obviously familiar with fashion and garment design and the idea that somebody designed our clothes. It's not often though that we go deeper and consider what went into creating the prints on those clothes. Can you talk us through a typical day for a textile designer?  

Sharnee. I completely agree, nobody really knows that my job exists! As a full time freelancer my day starts off quite slow. I’m not a great morning person ... I’m still trying to work on that! I normally start by replying to emails, checking my to do list, or re-writing it, as it can sometimes be two pages long! I then prioritise what work is due first as most people in the fashion industry are running behind and I need to get the prints to them ASAP! I normally paint or draw up the elements for the design, then scan them in and complete the print in Photoshop, playing with colour, layout and scale.

Managing my time has got to be the biggest challenge throughout the day as sometimes you can lose hours to emails when the real fun is the designing. Things can move quite quickly in the fashion industry compared to the art industry. I’m quite lucky because the industry here is so small so word of mouth has really kept me in the job. Most of my work comes to me now through people I have worked with before or friends of that label. New labels are popping up all the time and Instragram has been such a great platform for people to find me. I’m normally working with about five different labels at one time! I find it hard to say no to anyone and take all the work on then try and figure out how the hell I’m going to meet the deadline! My boyfriend is also an amazing drawer so he helps me when my work load is getting a little out of control. 

At about 12pm I go and get my daily coffee from my local coffee shop and get my dose of sunshine before heading back to my studio busily trying to finish everything so I can run to my favourite yoga class at 6.30pm. I do tend to work into the night as things tend to take a lot longer than expected and you never know what tomorrow will bring. I do my best work late at night when I can’t be distracted by emails or my phone.

 Emily. Where do you draw your inspiration from to continue to constantly create fresh designs and ideas?

Sharnee. People always ask me how I keep coming up with new designs and I say that's the easy bit! Having enough time to do it all is the tough part. I love exploring and traveling so this is something that always keeps me inspired. Being a freelancer has allowed me to be so much more flexible so I can work remotely and design a lot more. It's pretty good lifestyle. My boyfriend and I own an old camper van so we are always going away for the weekend to escape the city and live the quiet life surrounded by nature. I’m always taking photos of flowers, textures and plants so that I can use them in my prints or paint from them. I’m also a bit of an addicted vintage shopper. I love nothing more than rummaging through an op-shop looking for beautiful old dresses with amazing prints. 80% of my clothes are vintage and the other 20% are my own prints! Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration. Before I start a design I always collect other images that will inspire me to begin the next print. 

Emily. Who is your favourite artist/designer?

Sharnee. Favourite artists: Illustrator - Kelly Smith, typographer & illustrator Gemma O’Brien and local Byron artist Jai Vasicek. Designers - Roberto Cavalli, Mara Hoffman, Mathew Williamson and SPELL from Byron!

Emily. What's next?

Sharnee. Well I have just launched a little lifestyle label called Wandering Folk. I’m making canvas-printed picnic rugs. They are more like a magic carpet than picnic rug, with large tassels on each corner, a waterproof base and a detailed print designed by me. So between growing this new business and freelancing I’m quite busy. 


Feed that visual appetite and follow Sharnee's utterly inspiring Instagram @sharneethorpe

Lay Down Your Swords by Kate Hallen opens today

Lay Down Your Swords, an exhibition of artworks by Kate Hallen, opens today at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

From the Gallery: "An exhibition investigating acceptance and humility in the face of difficulty. Hallen brings a visual description to the “feeling of” panic when we find ourselves in this space, from the experience of having nowhere to go, to one of surrendering into weightlessness."

I want that you are always loved  2016 oil and charcoal on canvas 12x60cm

I want that you are always loved 2016 oil and charcoal on canvas 12x60cm

The exhibition runs until August 13, 2016.

Lismore Regional Gallery
131 Molesworth Street
Lismore NSW
02 6622 2209

Entries now open for the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize

The work of last year's winner Joan Ross,   Shopping for butterfly  2013

The work of last year's winner Joan Ross, Shopping for butterfly 2013

Submissions are now open for the second annual Australian and New Zealand Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize. 2016 marks the the 15th year of the coveted competition globally, which offers the awarded artists a residency prize valued at $21,000, in which they will live and create for a period of three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.

The competition is open to all Australian artists and creators of any medium, including photography, animation, performance, print, installation and more. Applicants will be shortlisted for jury consideration based on their completion of application. Candidates for The Artists in Residence Prize are requested to submit a proposal outlining how they would like to use their residency and applications must be submitted by midnight EST on August 16th, 2016.

For complete terms, details on selection criteria and to apply, please click HERE

Artist Profile - Georgie Maddox




Northern Rivers artist Georgie Maddox comes from a strong arts background, studying art formally for several years across Australia, and living as a practising artist for more than 15 years. Her colourful, high-contrast abstract and figurative oil paintings resonate with locals passionate about our natural landscape. 

"I am interested in the destruction and reconstruction of our natural landscape and our primitive instincts as a species in my landscape works. Where I live there is a constant battle between progress and development verses conservation of the natural land. As a first time and single mother, this theme has become even more poignant for me in my art - The importance of the younger generation, their future perceptions of what environmental and moral values we will leave to them as their inheritance. My colour palate is an amalgamation inspired by the people who may reside on the land, the people who have lived on the land in the past, as well as the seasonal colours that affect the landscapes form and texture."

You can find Georgie's work in Northern Rivers Community Gallery, Ballina and in Barebones Art Space, Bangalow.

For more on Georgie's work visit

Main Beach Sunrise

Main Beach Sunrise

Belongil Sunset

Belongil Sunset

Mt Warning

Mt Warning

Julian Rocks

Julian Rocks

Tallow Beach

Tallow Beach

Sera's Guide to Byron

Born and raised in Byron Bay, Sera Wright's images capture the simple beauty of her home town. Surrounded by the endless coastal scenery at her feet, her constant stream of bright, whimsical landscape and travel images inspire many to get out and explore the beautiful world around them. 

To view more of her work visit or @photography_byron_bay

The Lighthouse

"My favourite place in the world, hands down. From sunrise to sunset the Cape Byron Lighthouse and walking track is one of the most beautiful places to photograph. Whether the sun is rising, the whales are breaching, the dolphins are playing or the sun is setting, you can never take a bad photograph here."

Main Beach

Sunset on Main Beach

"One of the best places in Byron to take in the sunset. From this photo you can clearly see why - with the sun setting behind the mountains and across the water to offer you some of the most colourful reflections you will ever find."

Sunset over Boulders Beach, Lennox Head

"Another one of my favourite sunset spots, located only 20 minutes south of Byron Bay. Lennox Head has beautiful headlands and beaches perfect for exploring."

Minyon Falls

"Byron's best known waterfall, only a 40 minute drive through the beautiful hinterland behind Byron Bay. You can view the falls from the top at a viewing platform only 100mtrs from the carpark, or take the walk through the breathtaking rainforest to the bottom of the falls"

Broken Head Nature Reserve

"Located only 10 minutes south of Byron Bay and 5 minutes south of Suffolk Park, Broken Head Nature Reserve is a stretch of littoral rainforest, where the forest meets the sea, the short walk from the carpark to the headland is one of my favourite and most picturesque walking tracks on the north coast of NSW."

Sunrise at Tallows

"The beautiful stretch of beach in between Cape Byron and Broken Head, Tallow Beach is home to me. I grew up living within 500mtrs of this beach and it holds a very special place in my heart. Most mornings if i'm not walking the lighthouse track, you'll find me walking along Tallow Beach capturing the sunrise."


Congratulations to Robyn Sweaney - Winner of the 2016 Border Art Prize

Robyn Sweaney, featured in the current issue of BAM, has been awarded the 2016 Border Art Prize at the Tweed Regional Gallery.

The winning artwork is Oasis, acrylic on linen, 2015 (pictured), of which acclaimed artist and judge Euan MacLeod said, "This beautifully painted work shows an ordered vision which on continued viewing becomes unsettling".

The 2016 Border Art Prize will be on exhibition at the Tweed Regional Gallery from Friday May 6 to Sunday July 10, 2016. The annual Border Art Prize is shared between Tweed Regional Gallery and Gold Coast City Art Gallery as a joint initiative to support the endeavours of artists living and working in the NSW North Coast and South Eastern Queensland. Artists living within the Tweed Shire, Gold Coast City, Scenic Rim, Ballina, Byron and Kyogle Shires and Lismore, Logan and Redland City Council areas are eligible to enter.

You can read our feature on Robyn in our first issue (out now!) or by clicking here.

Artist Profile - Glenn Mossop

   Originally from South Africa, as a young teenager Glenn Mossop and his family sailed the world in a yacht built by his father. They spent time in many countries, meeting people from different cultures, sparking his fascination with the human face and form. Now residing in New Brighton, he credits his love of portraiture to this early travel. 

“The human gaze has always intrigued me. I love the paradox of the mystery and the connection in the windows of the soul. The mystery of the thoughts behind the eyes; our thoughts are really the last thing we have to ourselves. And then the shock of adrenaline we all get from gazing into someone’s eyes and finding a very knowing connection there. Capturing that moment is, for me, the true beauty of the portrait.”

Glenn is currently working on new pieces for his ‘Mossop’ Studio & Gallery in New Brighton, NSW; A creative space for local artists and art lovers alike to be inspired. 

For more on Glenn's work and details for the gallery opening, visit