"Independent research soon after university in Australia, was made possible at King’s College, Cambridge in 1980, where access to the recently acquired Fry and Charleston gave the opportunity to know the Bloomsbury artists at first-hand, and with the help too, of Vanessa Bell’s daughter, Angelica Garnett at Charleston in Sussex.
Following up on an essay on Decadence written at Australian National University and friendship with Barry Humphries led to carrying out research on Pre-Raphaelite artist, Simeon Solomon at the V&A, (1982) under the guidance of the late Lionel Lambourne, with whom Studio International subsequently collaborated with on the V&A exhibition, High Art and Low Life: The Studio and the Arts of the 1890s (1993).
Being invited to write Drawing in Australia: Contemporary Images and Ideas in 1985, for Macmillan, Australia, (1986) was life-changing. William Kelly and I visited 60 artist studios in 8 weeks; Kelly wrote the Foreword.
Soon after, I wrote a monograph on Noel Counihan, (1986) a social realist artist in Melbourne, for whom I had been a studio assistant. Based on interviews, it was intended to reach a wide audience.
Soon after moving to Scotland and meeting Arthur Boyd with Jutta and Wolfgang Fischer, and after the tragic death of Peter Fuller, Arthur asked me to write his final monograph. I did so in tandem with a PhD at University of St Andrews where Martin Kemp was my supervisor; Bernard Smith in Australia was my external.
I wrote a number of essays and reviews for Studio International in the 1980s before publishing stopped after the death of the publisher. 14 years later when it was launched as an e.journal, my husband, editor Michael Spens entered a tough regime for cancer and I took over his duties (2000-13). Most writing projects since, sprang from the plethora of material encountered in that role, though since his passing I have written a visual memoir that interrogates 100 of my drawings, Catharsis: An Artist’s Journey Through Grief, that Bloomsbury, London intend to publish.
My research encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and writing: writing has always been an extension of my studio practice."