Artist Interviews

2024 will bring more exciting interviews. 


Professionally trained Artist and Art Teacher Cheryl Willcox was born and raised in NSW Australia. She is a wife and mother of two who loves to explore, sketch, and paint her beautiful beachfront home and new places around the world.

Always creating and painting, she studied Art at Newcastle College of Advanced Education, graduating with a Bachelor of Education in Art.  In 1982 Cheryl began her career as a high school Visual Art Teacher.

A stint in China in 2000 gave Cheryl the space and time to reflect and become familiar with Art from another culture and how it is interwoven through all aspects of life and society.

On returning to Australia, with a reawakened love of its natural beauty; rugged, picturesque, clean, and eternal landscape, Cheryl decided, “This has to be painted! And cannot be taken for granted again!”

It would be another 10 years, after the children were launched into their post school possibilities, when time and space would be available for Cheryl to create Art.

Cheryl decided to seriously level-up her Art skills by enrolling in Watts Atelier Art School in the State of California, USA. The techniques she learned there leveraged both the old and modern “Masters”.

A space for her professional studio and workshops space was created recently when she and her husband renovated the bottom floor of their home. This was the beginning of her career as an exhibiting Artist and Art Mentor.


Combining knowledge from my design years and my Fine Art degree produce work that can be illustrative and impressionist with a love of mark making. I prefer intimate scenes rather than vast landscapes, looking for interesting light passages shapes, and tonal contrast. My work encompasses and explores my immediate environment and draws on my acutely honed skills of observation.

I paint in oils but mostly leave this medium to my larger Maritime subjects which have bright colours textures and stronger bold contours. Innovation and experimentation are high on my list of priorities when I am painting, and the process of discovery and change keeps my enthusiasm high. I have found that although I am not a mixed media artist, complimentary combinations of materials allow my work depth and energy. Soft Pastels play a large part in all my painting.

I am drawn to subjects that captivate my interest and nourish my spirit. Walking in the open landscape, in my garden, or along beaches watching the wild surf. In my eyes, all could be captured in paint or drawn in pastel.

The huge ships coming into port with their tugboats make wonderful subjects as they create moving architectural shapes and coloured images. There is an excitement and romance about these ships coming from faraway places and remembering my grandparents sailing away on the P&O liners in the 1960s. I photograph many of these subjects but there are only some that are committed to canvas or paper.

Mark making and gestural drawing as much as actual painting is what I love to do, that’s why Soft Pastel features in my work as it is primarily a drawing medium. Soft pastels bridge the gap between painting and drawing and I find the loose texture and brilliant colour qualities exciting. They are versatile and can be used on pre-sanded papers with underpainting and layering colours not unlike Oils. The different mark making qualities range from broad to fine linear strokes which gives them endless possibilities.

Geoffrey Breen

Background. Born in 1942 I’m a pre boomer and a still young 82. I live on a bush property
in Pokolbin NSW. I continue to be active with painting and outside work around the
Education I completed a full-time degree in Architecture at the University of NSW in 1967
and later completing post graduate degrees in Landscape design and Environmental
Planning at the same institute. A subsequent abortive attempt at an MBA Degree at
Macquarie University firmly established that my skills lay elsewhere.
Professional Career I’ve had a successful 40-year career in Architecture.
I retired at 70 in 2012. Preferred Painting Subjects, Media, and Format. My interests are eclectic. But subjects are generally chosen for ‘open’ and ‘volumetric’ structures typically involving a network of
elongated cast shadows.
Method of Working For small interior subjects I usually work from life where I can
observe and record my subject over a period of time. For large outdoor subjects my work is now (almost all) from memory or wholly conceptual – initiated by an idea that interests me. My experience as an architect has provided a solid grounding to visualise subjects from a variety of viewpoints.
Competition Entries No first prizes – just making the finalist shortlist and being judged
among a contemporary peer group is sufficient reward.
AGNSW PRIZES My first attempt at the Wynne Prize got me into the Salon des Refuses
I’ve entered the Wynne and Sulman Prizes several times since but without making the
GOSFORD PRIZE I’ve been a regular finalist in the annual Gosford art Prize.
MUSWELLBROOK PRIZE I was a regular finalist for several years – mostly paintings but
included one work on paper. Last year not so lucky.
KILGOUR PRIZE. I was a finalist in the Newcastle Art Gallery Kilgour prize in 2017. Ever
hopeful, I’m currently evaluating some preliminary concepts for entry to the next prize
when the extended gallery re opens.
NEWCASTLE CLUB PRIZE First time lucky. I was shortlisted as a 2023 finalist.
Pending: MPRG. I have lodged an entry for the 2024 National Works on Paper Prize I have lodged entries for the 2024 Wynne and Sulman Art Prizes.

Adrian Raysmith

In 1956 Adrian began an apprenticeship as a watchmaker in Newcastle.
This culminated in his skills and dedication being recognised and in 1964
was awarded the inaugural resident scholarship of the combined Australasian Horological Guild and Federation of Swiss Watchmakers. This was for twelve months study and work in the colleges and factories of Switzerland. On return to Australia in 1965 he presented a gold watch to the prime minister Robert Menzies which he made as part of the training in Switzerland.
Since retirement in 2012 Adrian has become totally dedicated to expressing his lifelong passion for visual art by taking lessons from experienced artists and constantly studying the knowledge and techniques of the masters. He enjoys working in the more classical styles of the traditionalists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Vermeer and Australians such as Roberts, Dobell, Streeton, impressionists Monet, Van Gogh, Russell and of course many others and a full range of subject material from landscape to portraiture.
” I hope I have some years left to continue this wonderful journey, it is a wonder of the imagination of the creative mind that no two paintings are the same, a visual expression of the thoughts of the artist”.