Artist of the Month - May 2017  

The Pittwater Artists on the Pittwater Artists Trail for 2017-2018

2017 Pittwater Artists Trail  

The Pittwater Artists Trail launches their year with a dynamic group exhibition at the Newport Community Centre. Come join us for opening night on Friday evening 9th June from 6-8pm. The exhibition continues daily 10-4  through to Monday 12th June 10-3pm.

This year’s exciting selection of artists introduces many new faces to the 2017 Trail, each inspired by the Pittwater environment, resources and community. Artistic expression among the group delivers diverse mediums that include metalsmithing, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, mosaics, illustration, painting, pastels, glass and mixed media.  

The June long weekend exhibition will introduce you to this wonderful scope of work that continues its commercial success among clients of local, metropolitan and outer Sydney regions. Opening night will feature live music and opportunities to meet the new and diverse artists as well as discover what some of the seasoned Trail artists have been up to.  

Tabitha Higgins, jeweller explains, “For me, the highlight of the Artist Trail is networking and sharing energy with many artists in our group exhibition. The launch exhibition for the new trail line up is an opportunity for visitors looking to discover local artists and to find a wide variety of unique and distinctive work that reflects this wonderful region”. 

The open-studio artist trail follows in October 2017 and March 2018 where visitors will be fascinated by the processes behind each artist’s creations and the evolution of their design and production with access to the artists most current works and developments available for sale. 
For more information on the 2017 Artist Trail and participating artists visit the website at

Watch out for new brochures which will be available from popular cafes, businesses and libraries along the northern beaches who help sponsor this project now in its seventh year.  

This month we run those on the Pittwater Artists Trail for 2017-2018 - some great old trail members and some brilliant new Artists across a diverse range of disciplines and mediums, along with samples of their works.

In Alphabetical order, your 2017 Pittwater Artist Trail creators are:

Claire Armstrong

Claire Armstrong lives and works from her studio in Avalon NSW. Trained in fine arts at Tafe, she has worked for over 30 years as a professional photographer in Sydney. She has also been involved in mixed media, design and portraiture. Her current works show a passion for the environment in oils or acrylic on wood and canvas. "My art allows me an outlet for my passionately held beliefs and connects me deeply with this country that I love."

20 Bellevue Ave
0447 431 214
9973 3496

Evan Armstrong

Evan Armstrong lives and works from a studio in Avalon. He studied drawing and design at Enmore Tafe. Evan has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize and has had his work hung in various cafe galleries on the Northern Beaches and North Shore. He believes in getting his work to the people and has used market stalls for a means to this end. His work is highly detailed and pulsating,they reflect his passion for nature that was earned when working as a zoo keeper in his early years.

20 Bellevue Ave
0421 840 268

Penel Bigg

Glass - glowing colours, fluid forms, beautiful beads, molten magic! Penel melts rods of glass in the flame of a large burner and then uses heat and gravity and a few special tools to create all manner of lovely things. From beads that will be made up into gorgeous jewellery, to intricately patterned perfume bottles, to fantastical creatures, every day in the studio is an adventure.

For over a decade Penel has been learning about glass, experimenting with a wide variety of techniques and slowly developing her own personal and very idiosyncratic style. Inspired by both the natural world and the world of her imagination she appreciates the serendipitous nature of molten glass, often letting the glass lead the dance rather than trying to impose her will on it.
Classes and workshops are held regularly at the studio.

Also open by appointment
11 Wesley Street
Elanora Heights

0422 437 812

Anemone atoll

Brenda Coleman

My main source of inspiration is the natural world, both flora and fauna are incorporated into my art. However colour and forms created by man also fire my imagination. 

I use precious metals (silver and gold) to create jewellery which may also include gem stones (both precious and semi-precious) and found objects.

I use many metalsmithing techniques, including shaping, forging, piercing, carving and lost wax casting to construct what I consider to be pieces of wearable art.

11 Wesley Street
Elanora Heights
0412 525 052

Debi Dassonville 

11 Wesley Street
Elanora Heights
0447 021 800

Coco Elder

Coco’s practice draws on the Australian bush, primarily from the local surrounds of Ku-ring-gai National Park.  She focuses on either the macro or micro perspective, often zooming in on botanical forms, or vistas of escarpments, to reveal a journey of geological formations and flora, via details that deal with the intricate texture and essence of place. By using an engraving tool to incise into her oil paints, the raw board or primed surface is revealed as a rhythmical contrast. Via this process, she is able to bridge both drawing and painting practice. The spirit of place unfolds.

"By carving back through the surface, I’m able to create another layer, one that is more playful, and a gestural expression of the form and place." This form of sgraffito is also applied to her simple slab forms in creating her ceramic vessels.

35 Chisholm Avenue
0421 359 241

Nada Herman

Nada grew up in an artistic family with a famous grandfather Sali Herman and well-known artist father Ted Herman. At one stage all three generations painted in the one studio at Avalon.

Nada has developed her own dynamic style over the years, using loads of paint, thick brushes and a palette knife. She especially enjoys using large canvases and her favorites subjects are beach scenes, still lives, nudes, cityscapes and marine life. Her paintings create a sense of joy and energy to their viewers.  

Nada believes everything is alive with energy whether it be a humble piece of fruit or single flower. Collectors can now admire her works throughout the world. Nada is a prolific painter whom has become very popular for her unique painterly quality.

62 Chisholm Avenue
0414 849 580

Tabitha Higgins

I am most happy in my workshop  creating one off pieces.  What a dream!  I have managed to organise my work so that I spend my day doing something that I love.  I enjoy the process of working with my clients helping bring to life an idea they have the seeds of.  Jewellery can be very meaningful and significant and the personal nature of it is important to me.

Another wonderful aspect of my work is that the pieces I create will (hopefully!) outlast me and could even be around long after I am forgotten.  It is inspiring to think I am  making something that will continue to bring pleasure to its wearers for many years to come.

1/40 Avalon Parade
0433 431 976


From Tabitha's Hidden Treasures range

Mark Kingston

Mark Kingston is one of Australia’s most talented realist oil painters. His attention to detail, exquisite painting technique and love of colour has made his work popular with art collectors and the general public. With over 40 successful group and solo shows across Australia, Mark has an expert knowledge of the fine art market and has developed excellent relationships with clients, as evident on his testimonials page. His paintings have been recognised by such corporate collections as the Roche Group who have invested in several paintings.

Mark's works showcase the beauty of lush landscapes, sweeping skies and beautiful beaches, capturing the atmospheric nature of sunsets and cloudscapes. Other works capture the intricate folds and soft textures of stunning flowers. His realistic technique allows you to marvel at the subtle details of the everyday world.

Mark’s work has been featured in ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, ‘The Sun Herald’ and ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspapers. His work has repeatedly been showcased on the cover of and as a feature article in the ‘Australian Artist Magazine’. He has also had articles written about his work in ‘Belle Magazine’, ‘Australian Road Rider Magazine’, ‘Peninsula Magazine’ and ’24 Hours Magazine’.

Mark has been chosen as a finalist in an impressive list of prestigious art prizes, including the Mortimer Art Prize (2010, 2009), Hills Grammar Art Award (2008) and the ANL Maritime Art Prize (2005). In 2001 he was chosen as one of the ten finalists to be exhibited on the Museum of Contemporary Arts online gallery as part of the ‘Noise Festival’.

Mark was born in Sydney and studied art in both Australia and the USA. He started his studies at Sydney University completing a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in 1999. He was then offered a chance to work with a successful US based Realist Artist James Gucwa. James exhibited in blue chip galleries in New York and California.  In 2004 Mark went on to complete a Master of Art degree at the University of New South Wales.

4 Plateau Road
0415 353 456

Symphony of the currents

Water Lily

Helen Mackay

Having spent almost half of my life here in Sydney, I feel that this is my home, and that I am now a visitor when I go back. When travelling to England, it is almost as if I have a passport to travel back in time, back to the world of my past, and of the English history that I learned as child. Of Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Lord Burghley. This is manifested in the body of work as I have been studying the depictions of women in the 15th and 16th century, painted to show their position in society and their wealth. The focus on jewelry and fabric acts as a catalogue of power and position, whilst constraining and restricting them both physically and emotionally. They are still viewed as objects to further family ambition and alliances. The work is on lino, either cut or etched, with a very different result.

By contrast, in my life here, I have focused on the natural world and the fragility of the environment where I live, in Avalon. I have a small domestic life and I look at the animals and objects that resonate with me. I am producing a series of images that portray the local birds, the seagulls and crested terns on the beach where they are earthbound, the magpies as they strut impressively along the handrail of my deck and the cockatoo with its extraordinary crest and playful nature, and its bizarre and eccentric flight as it jerks its way through the bush and drops in on the veranda. My cats that are endlessly sculptural and create a series of fluid forms, and their response to this arcadia, and the incessant mocking of the cockatoo. These images are either lithographs or etchings. The birds are such an important part of this environment, and although they may be considered commonplace, to me they are extraordinary, they are the 99%. This precious delicate equation that I see every day, and its sum is happiness. 

Also open by appointment
103 Central Road
0402 327 570

From Helen's Birds series
From Helen's Landscapes series - Fences and boundaries - oil on canvas 90 cm x 120 cm

Vicki Ratcliff

My current works reflect my love for the abundant natural beauty of my home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  

I am constantly inspired by the illuminating morning light and the magical play of light on water that allows us to see reflections of the world above or glimpse into the depths of what lies beneath.

There are wonderful characters that share the mornings with me at Mona Vale rock pool.  Their warmth and strength, their love of life, camaraderie and age defying beauty are a constant reminder of the connection we have to the sea and each other.

I am drawn to respond to this through painting in watercolour and in oil. There is a delicacy and luminosity that only watercolour can bring but I am equally passionate about the energy and flow of painting with oils.

66 Rednal Street
Mona Vale
0423 916 806 

Kay Runcie

Over an 18 year span, Interior Designer and Visual Artist Kay Runcie has explored a number of art disciplines. Following several years living in the United States, starting her journey with clay, Kay has continued to grow with ceramics sculpture and mosaic.  Kay’s colour and design background allows her to work and understand the common elements and principals of design when creating her bodies of work and is inspired by a broad range of curiosities.

Within Kay’s scope, she has also been involved in teaching, writing course material, community based projects, facilitating workshops and team leading. Currently in a final year of ceramics study, Kay is constantly researching and testing in order to express her own voice. Kay believes that opportunities should be taken and embraces challenges as a form of life-long learning and to understand personal strengths.

17 Yachtsmans Paradise
0416 240 556
Lotus-pod Sculpture                                                                                                  Saggar poppies Grouping-of-3

Ron Tuck

Ron was born in British Columbia, Canada and his art reflects his memories of those natural surroundings and the beauty of his current home in Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches. Whale tails and polar bears dominate his current series of raku fired sculptures. The first whale tail sculpture, Migaloo, was one of twenty-five pieces accepted for entry into the 2016 Warringah Art Prize for Small Sculpture and was also the People’s Second Choice in the 2016 Newport Sculpture Trail.

The naked raku technique is a firing method starting with coarse white clay followed by a bisque firing, second firing in a reduction environment. The random charcoal lines result from cracking of the glaze which is removed after firing. “Clay is a natural medium and I enjoy the feeling of working with a material dug from the earth. It doesn’t get more natural than that. With the naked raku method, the sculptures smell like they have been in fire and are actually etched with smoke from the final firing. 

Ron rakuing

There is also an unplanned aspect to the process in which some of the outcome are left to fate. Although I have an end in mind, it’s somewhat uncertain…I don’t really know what the end result will be. 

I have focused on whales and polar bears because they are symbols of man’s effect on the environment - both are sea creatures that are under pressure from man. By using the naked raku technique, which requires multiple firings and open flame, I am trying to capture a water creature under pressure from man – it seems right.” 

17 Yachtsmans Paradise
0433 396 266


Polar bear Family

Fiona Verity

I am constantly looking for fresh adventures, and new ways to express them in a painting. Blessed to live within walking distance from the sea I record my contact with the natural world everyday with my dog Sunny. Drawing daily from life is an obsessive and crucial aspect of my art practice. This regular dose and connection with nature, provides a constant source of imagery and inspirations. On my creative journey I need to push my materials and experiment with how to translate the essence of a scene onto paper, board or canvas. By drawing ‘en plein air’ I am able to record that moment, responding to the landscape, creating my own interpretation of the view that I see and feel.

Upon taking these drawings into the studio the magic really begins. The landscapes evolve when I draw from the drawing working them into lush layered oil paintings on board. Through these colourful artworks you are taken to a place to connect with all of nature’s positivity and healing.

Recent artworks have been inspired by my explorations on the rock platforms and coastal waters around Australia. These new artworks are a combination of visited places from the present and experiences from my past. Responding to these textured lands through the exploration of colour shape and light.

In this fast paced modern world, we are losing our connection with the natural world, when being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature it has been proven to reduce anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. My landscape paintings recreate that connection with nature, a joyous one that heals, soothes and restores. My landscapes are escapes into a quiet world where reality dissolves and you can live in the moment. You can almost feel the sun on your back and taste the salt from the sea.

22 Trevor Road
0417 464 475

Be Calm

Halfway Rock

Takako Warton

Takako works from her home in Newport. She studied Japanese painting, oil painting, water color, pottery, sculpture, and silkscreen printing at Takasaki art college in Japan. Takako's real passion since moving to the Northern Beaches has become acrylic paints, which matches her experiences of both her Japanese culture and the colorful vibrant life of her new home on the beaches. 

"To pick up a camera and record what I feel is a blessing. Living and working in such a beautifully natural environment, my inspiration comes from all directions. I am attracted to the diversity and energy that surrounds me."

66 Rednal Street
Mona Vale
0450 480 408

Katarina Wells

Katarina's aim is to express a sense of balance and harmony through her work. She hand builds her pieces over a period of a few days, to allow the clay to stiffen sufficiently, before adding more coils. This slow process fosters an organic growth, allows for time to step back and observe where a piece intends to go.

Terra Sigillata, a natural finish containing very fine clay particles, provides a sensual, tactile surface for much of her work. For many of her outdoor sculptures Katarina uses iron and copper finishes, relishing the rich patinas that develop when exposed to the elements. Inspiration is found in the natural world - the colours and textures of rocks, seedpods, wasp's nests or shark eggs found on the beach.

Katarina grew up in Austria and moved to Australia in her early twenties. In 2000 she completed a studio ceramics course at Brookvale TAFE. She has been exhibiting her work since 2007.

55 Hudson Parade, Clareville
0406 792 836

Nicola Woodcock

Nicola draws inspiration from the Northern Beaches landscape. Working “en plein air” on the beaches and in the bush surrounding her Terrey Hills home she often chooses oil pastels for their ease of portability for outdoor painting. Nicola finds that the relatively crude nature of the medium helps to focus on simple line and colour and promotes a use of decisive, gestural marks.  Her still life pieces are usually ‘finds’ from her neighbours’ gardens or from local reserves, finding joy in the shapes and colours of the Australian native flora around her.

Nicola moved to Sydney from the UK in 2010 and was a finalist in the Warringah Art Prize 2016.

55 Hudson Parade
0468 567 905

Banskia blue bottle

Tall Glass Banskia