As an artist, painting a portrait is an intuitive collaboration between myself and the sitter. Through observation and conversation, I strive to capture the unique essence of the person on the canvas.

The sitter’s input influences the choice of title, placement, posture, vibrancy, contrast, colours, mood, surrounds, patterns and how the painting is executed.  My intention is to create a work that truly represents the sitter’s personality, character, and sensitivities beyond the likeness. 

To Connect the Dots


As a well-read intellectual, Dr David Straton approaches life with a curious and analytical mind. He is always seeking new knowledge and perspectives and connects through sharing of his insights with people 

The intricate network of lines in the painting hints at synapses in the brain and symbolises David‘s quest for knowledge and his deep exploration of the complexities of the world, people and the mind, as well as at his profession as a psychiatrist. 

Dave is an avid photographer. His direct gaze in the portrait reflects his quiet and innate ability to observe the world around him. The camera refers to his love for capturing moments with a sensitive and perceptive eye.

Dare to Claim the Sky

Pastel and Collage

“Dare to Claim the Sky” expresses the essence of Steve Davis’ lifelong passion for nature conservation. The portrait depicts Steve absorbed in awe, observing and surveying the beauty of the natural world.

Nature is under Steve’s skin, in the painting symbolised by the intricate texture pattern of leaves and flowers all over his body. The soul connection to nature is reflected in the shadow of leaves cast upon his body in the painting. His deep concern for the degradation of the environment has driven him to take a stand, and make activism and conservation a priority in his life. 

 “Dare to Claim the Sky” is a call to action. It encourages us to be amazed by the beauty of nature and to consider the impact our actions have on the world around us. The painting invites us to be bold, to dare to speak out, and to protect the environment for future generations. It is a testament to the power of one person’s commitment and the difference we can all make when we stand up for what we believe in.

Kind Regards

Pastel on Fabriano paper

‘Kind Regards’, a self portrait by Petronella M van Leusden. 

Looking at yourself in a mirror for an extensive time can be confronting. This artwork showcases the artist’s reflection as she observes herself, painting herself wearing glasses and mirroring her own aging. 

Starting on a black paper, this work was a journey of vulnerability and acceptance. It slowly transformed into a softer and less contrasting image, adding lighter hues to the background. The lace and silk clothing added a touch of sensitivity and sensuality to the image.

The vague tulip imprints in the background represent the artist’s Dutch heritage, while the light shining through the gum nut flowers symbolises the longer life lived in Australia, full of hope and light for the future. 

The artist holds a pastel stick in her hand,  highlighting the artist’s love for the pastel medium with which the painting is made. This piece was an exercise in giving a ‘kind regards’ to oneself

See more portaits….