“In 2013 My husband Michael, a Vietnam Veteran, fell down our stairs and had massive head injuries. He had bleeding on the brain and a huge crack in his skull. He was rushed to Hospital in Melbourne, and they found he was only 3mm from severing his spine. He was in the hospital for many weeks and was incoherent for the first few weeks. It was frightening. I stayed by his side as I was so worried that he would rip off the neck brace in his incoherent state.

While this was all going on, I was notified by a very prestigious Gallery in Sydney that one of my paintings had been selected as a finalist in a National Portrait Prize.

I was pleased about that, but at the same time even though I had been striving to get into the show for ages, it suddenly meant nothing compared with what I was facing with Michael because at that stage nobody knew how much brain damage was permanent.

Working towards our dreams can take time, so it’s also important to enjoy the journey along the way. Each small step is one step closer on the journey to becoming a better artist, so it is important to keep working and also to celebrate every little step forward.

One of the best things I enjoy about my work as a portrait artist, which is a privilege and a pleasure, is meeting the people who cross my path in this creative life. I feel so lucky to do the work I do.”