Lyne Marshall


Lyne lives and works on a mountain range at Tallegalla, with her studio overlooking Minden Valley and the landscape that has come to influence her most. Although elements of nature invade her paintings, especially skies, these are far from realistic works. They are rather, imaginary landscapes that have many perspectives. For artworks to be authentic Lyne believes they need to have an altruistic purpose and slowly evolve. Finding this reason for creating she says requires some soul searching. “During my university art training, I was directed away from what my heart was saying. This may have been necessary to break the rigid mould I was in at the time, but until I found myself again, I was lost for many years”. Constant searching for answers finally paid off, but Lyne feels the journey is still unfolding.

Life for an artist is rewarding, but with many ups and downs and Lyne says she is always on the look out for the gems amongst the rubble. At an Art Fair in Shanghai in 2003, she stood in front of a painting by acclaimed contemporary artist, Zhou Changjiang. His painting projected something elusive and when she later visited his studio, she unexpectedly felt it again. She says of this encounter “I was put into a spin, something in that art came out and touched me and left me breathless and tearful. I didn’t know what it was! But I wanted it for my work.” It sent Lyne on a journey of discovery and her current paintings now have a spiritual, contemplative edge that exude life and energy, not unlike traditional Asian painting. Three visits to China, an artist exchange to Japan, and sharing her studio with visiting Japanese artists have contributed to this change.

However, many things mould artists, especially their history and culture. Living as a child on a then isolated island off the Queensland coast, Lyne developed a love for art and the environment. Not unlike Ian Fairweather, the well known artist who lived in the bush near her home, and her professional fisherman father, she also developed a connection with the sea. Her current lifestyle balances her early days as she lives again in relative isolation, without grid electricity and the bush as her backdrop.

Lyne’s studio is a short walk through the scrub from the house. The solitude, except for the friendly visiting carpet snake, allows the creative process to take full control and within an easy stroll there is a wealth of inspiration that changes moods with the light and weather cycles. Working in series, Lyne explores aspects of the earth’s structure, its seasons, and the forces that change the environment. The varied colours in natural objects make for a perfect palette and designs in nature offer never-ending inspiration. The repetition of shapes and symbols from her surroundings are reflected in her work but are also from memories embedded from past experiences.

The following poetic paragraph, written for her Sub Rosa exhibition, sums up Lyne’s painting philosophy; ‘Beneath the surface of all things lie numerous dimensions. Landscapes encompass many aspects and confirm the imprint of humanity. Feelings, emerging and floating in the atmosphere, are more than skin deep. They anchor themselves, from a bird’s eye view, into organic shapes, or fall away poetically into infinity’.

Looking below the surface is a metaphor Lyne uses to reflect on life. The sense of contemplation and calm in her paintings reflect her personal philosophy that art should have a healing aspect. Before becoming a full time painter, Lyne had a lengthy career in nursing. Painting is still about using her hands to heal. The spiritual component of her work is concerned with the psychological and sacred, incorporating her Christian beliefs, and an inner form of expression that is based on being honest and truthful.

Always on the lookout for triggers to creativity, Lyne finds one insight leads to many. Recently she was alerted to a book by author Lewis Hyde called The Gift. This book confirmed something that Lyne had discovered previously but had not always been able to articulate.

The ability to paint, write, act, sing, etc is a gift that should not be denied or taken for granted. But Lyne feels it is more than that. While it is necessary and desirable for artists to make a living and receive money for their work, Lyne says “To lose sight of what we have and can give to others, will cause our gift to shrivel up and become gaunt and mean”.

She goes on to say that there will always be times when the need to paint, perform, or write is overshadowed by other people’s needs and we are pressured to meet their expectations. However true growth and satisfaction only comes from reaching out to the new and untried, and being dissatisfied with some output is part of the process. “Keeping foremost the gift part of what we do allows us to touch an audience who can tell when something is authentic. It can reduce them to tears because it touches their hearts as only gifts do.”

Previously Lyne has worked with printmaking and sculpture and her mediums have been varied. Now her focus is on acrylic painting on stretched canvas frames which she makes herself. The painting process is not structured or planned to any degree but involves random mark making that takes on its own purpose and completion. These unconscious moves often can’t be replicated. Beginning a new series can have quite a lead in time and, until the creative door opens, many works are painted over. Lyne sees this process as practice not unlike the musician who is working towards a performance. The pace is fast and when the ‘real’ work surfaces it has a freshness and sensitivity that for her could not have occurred in any other way.

Her paintings are definitely a visual experience. They draw you in, but it is to a place of peace and harmony. The mark making is uniquely hers, randomly placed, yet able to move the eye in a way that finds new and different meanings with each viewing. She states her paintings are miniature environments that allow the viewer to focus on their feelings, and are not about what is accepted or expected in the art world. In following her own vision, she has created a strong foundation that can stand up to the deadlines and pressure of constant exhibiting.

Since completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Southern Queensland in 1994 and later a Graduate Diploma in Further Education, Lyne has exhibited nationally and in China, Japan and the USA. Her paintings are in private and corporate collections around the world and in 2007, she won both the Stockland Art Award, and the AMRO Morgan’s Flying Arts Regional Award. Her book “Gleaner or Gladiator: the struggle to create” is a result of over 5 years research and is a personal narrative of her struggle to step into the creative flow. The purpose of this book, Lyne says, is to reach out to others who need inspiration and the confidence to be creative and follow their hearts. The book showcases Lyne’s paintings from 2005 to 2007. She has over 16 solo exhibitions behind her, and is currently painting for coming exhibitions, including Art Art Brisbane late May and Art Sydney in October 2008. She is also researching a new book enlarging on the spiritual aspects of creating.

To view more of Lyne’s work, please visit

Read the full article in the Artist Profile in Vol 2 Issue 23