2018 Art Reflecting

1F663808-A5F7-42A3-AEB4-60570D0E91F1Some Art happenings I’ve been grateful for this year:

*So very grateful just to be able to make art.

*Starting my #Fridayflora instagram project, where I do a 20 x 20 flower painting every week for a year. I am currently up to painting number 34 and it has been a really great way to keep my art practice on track in a fairly transitory year. These are posted every Friday around Midday and also can be seen here on my website.

*Moving into a funky container studio at M-arts. (Murwillumbah) This has been a great base while I’ve been housesitting and travelling a bit this year. It’s such a blessing to have a space to work, and also to be around other inspiring fabulous creatives. This has allowed me to work on some bigger paintings as well as the 20 x 20s. It’s also part of quite a big step in being more confident with my art practice.

*Getting more confident with my art practice and putting it out there! (This deserves it own paragraph) Having more confidence – in life and in art and everything really – was what I really focused on this year and it has paid off, though I’ll probably always have to work at it. I didn’t truly realise this was a major issue for me until I went to a councillor about work burn out, so I am grateful to her for pointing this out. (And I did develop the confidence to leave my job!)

*Exhibition of 4 local artists upstairs at M-arts in October. Having my own room made it feel like a solo exhibition, and it was good for me to show what I’ve been up to so locally. I was really proud of this exhibition, and got lots of great feedback.

*Organising the Contemporary Botanical Art exhibition at The Botanical Bazaar festival, it was a lot of work, but I think it looked fabulous and was a lovely day out with other local nature inspired artists and friends.

*Group exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ downstairs at M-arts (On at the moment over summer.)

*Getting some work into Gallery 7 in Byron Bay. Feel very honoured and lucky to have work alongside Andrew’s amazing paintings.

*Seeing some great Art exhibitions. Where would we be without art! No 1 was definitely the Patricia Piccinini retrospective at Goma. I also loved the Catriona Pollard exhibition at the Sturt Art and Craft centre in Mittagong – For beautiful, minimal nature based art and such an ideallic magical venue (complete with Autumn leaves everywhere in April) Locally my favourite was Public/private at the Tweed regional gallery by Phil Barron. Beautifully crafted heart warming interiors, etc. The Carolyn Delzoppo exhibition on at the moment is also brilliant. And I just remembered the Hobie Porter exhibition at Lismore regional gallery. Just stunning. I wish I had better words to describe these shows!

*Favourite Art books read this year. Decolonising Nature by TJ Demos for reminding me of some of my favourite eco art from the 60’s and an account of current art in this area. Agnes Martin. Her life and Art by Nancy Princenthal. Painting more Painting. An Acca publication/exhibition catalogue with some excellent essays about contemporary painting.

*Favourite Art Docos – Both on Iview. Revisiting the Field. I just loved this so much. Lovely intelligent eccentric older artists having there work celebrated. So sorry I missed the exhibition, but the doco was great. I was also tremendously inspired by the Fabulous creatures documentaries and the celebration of unbridled creativity, reimagining nature.

Have a fabulous, creative 2019!

Botanical Bazaar – Exhibition Sept. 16 2018

Botanical Bazaar Image collage.jpgThis September I will be putting together an exhibition of Contemporary Botanical Art for the Botanical Bazaar Event on the Gold Coast. You can read more about the exhibition and the Artists involved here.

Contemporary botanical art, for this exhibition, is defined as art that responds to the botanical and natural world or peoples interactions with it.

It may be inspired by and respond to traditional botanical art, but may also include more Contemporary artistic techniques and concepts.

It may or may not be interested in traditional concerns of botanical artists . A scientific representational approach may be taken, but other approaches may also be embraced. Contemporary art or conceptual approaches may be explored. Modern art may be admired and extended upon (especially the Still Life tradition). Ecological perpectives may underline some of the work. Nature may just be represented or it could be considered as co-artist.

Postcard Show – Case Mullumbimby

I was really happy with these small works I did for the Postcard Show in Mullum. I did these quite quickly after a week or so of painting more detailed Grevilleas. It was actually at the end of an 8 hour painting session, where I was was able to ‘let go’ entirely. Though I know I would not have had nearly the same result without having painted the Grevilleas more realistically beforehand.

Sow @ Mat 18

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For the Murwillumbah Art Trail this year, we put together a group show called SOW. Other local exhibiting artists were Jo Biles, Rebecca O’Connell, Tara Dyson-Holland and Robin Saunders.

My section of the exhibition
Work on wall by Robin Sanders. Weaving by Rebecca O’Connell

Installation in M-Arts Window

This fortnight (until the 19th of February) I have an installation in the window of the M-arts Precinct in Murwillumbah.

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The installation takes some of the works from my previous exhibition Nature Portraits and reconfigures them in a new place and new context. I was aiming to present the paintings in a way that would enhance the conceptual basis behind the work. My art practice is generally about exploring the intersections and relationships between humanity and nature.

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One of my favourite comments from the Nature Portraits exhibition was that in the beautiful white room with big old style windows it looked a bit like a Greenhouse. I was playing on that idea with this installation. The works are hung low and presented from the same vantage point we often view pot plants. The light is a fluro, but may have associations with a growing light. The fluro light, along with the industrial shelving, is also used to add something of the cultural and artificial to the space, and to contrast with the organic looking works.

The painting themselves are subdued but also busy and odd plantlike entities. They are a little bit like misfits trying to fit into their cultural environments. A little bit like how many of us might sometimes feel under the fluro at the office or in the supermarket.

The other reason to use the industrial shelf is that it is ‘cool’ and I like the way the yellowish metal sets of the blue grey paintings. Also the fluro light reminds me of every second installation I saw at art school in the early 2000’s. It’s a kind of symbol of a very formulative time in my art making history.

I hope people appreciate the installation in their own way. If you have any reflections or opinions about it do let me know!

Finalist – 30 x 30 Art Prize

Two recent works are currently hanging in the 30 x 30 Art Prize at Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. The works are beautifully framed by Still @ the centre in Byron. It’s well worth a visit to see the exhibition. There are some truly fabulous works on display.


Portentous 2017, 30×30, Oil on board $360 (inc Frame)
Counterbalance 2017, 30×30, Acrylic on Canvas $360 (Inc. Frame)

I must say I was really so chuffed to be hanging on the wall with some of my favourite artists including one of the winners Kat Shapiro Wood, which is the beautiful blue cloud on the pink background second from the left. (It really has to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to appreciate the subtleties and exquisite workmanship) There are other works in this image by Emma Walker, Zom Osborne, Robin Sweaney, Hilary Herrmann, James Guppy, Gatya Kelly, and John Santucci, amoung others.

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1000 Words

During my exhibition at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina, I was lucky enough to be involved in their 1000 Words program. This program aims develop students writing skills and art literacy through art discussions, creative writing and vocabulary enrichment.

I really loved what students wrote about my work. They were very kind and also very creative.

By Students from Broadwater Public School

One group wrote about my work ‘Flower Thought’ as a magical chair! So fabulous.


I am now quite inspired to make it into such an amazing chair!!!


Nature Portraits

October to November 2017 Solo Show NRCG in Ballina.


Here is the text for the exhibition:

Soft, coastal foliage. Knobbly, weathered beach trees. Cultivated mountainsides. Subtropical garden flora, native flowers and tangled jungle vines. These are amongst the natural elements that inspire the works in this exhibition.

Judy Oakenfull is a painter based in Murwillumbah, NSW.  Her art practice reflects on the local environment and her main conceptual focus is the relationship between nature and culture. The works in this exhibition are a personal response to, and celebration of, the nature surrounding us, but also consider broader cultural themes and questions about the human relationship with the natural world.

The works in Nature Portraits seek to interrupt ideas of nature as separate to us, via the use of irregular forms, colour, pattern and the imperfect process of painting and drawing. A hint of anthropomorphism is embraced. Straight lines are combined with curvy organic shapes. Things bulge and pop out and balance precariously. The vulnerability and oddness of both nature and human nature is celebrated. 

Images of Artwork are in more detail in Portfolio section under ‘Nature Portraits’