Tranquil places to hang idyllwild – Robyn McMullan

Our current Dragon’s Lair Gallery artist is Robyn McMullan. Robyn is from the small southern city of Dunedin in New Zealand and moved to Sydney 2001. The core inspiration in her artwork is nature, and many of her works depict the connection to land and spirit. Robyn forms instinctual mark making in a process of abstraction that draws heavily on nature, but also on the impact of humans and the way in which we use public spaces. Many symbols are embedded within McMullan’s pieces, particularly relating to the ghosts and memories held by the land and its people.


Image credit: Robyn McMullan, 2020.

Robyn recently took some time to answer some questions about her techniques and art practice.

Can you give us an insight into your artistic process? Is your work pre-planned or created intuitively? How long does each work take to complete?

Overall there is a plan to create a sense of place. This is the only limitation though, I work in multiple mediums, sometimes combined on the substrate, it’s mostly intuitive. Generally, I’ll do a layer to multiple pieces in a series and look back over them over a matter of weeks.

I’m not the start to finish type.

Can you explain your technique; how you manipulate the medium?

Whilst I have an idea of how each piece is to develop they often change as they are worked back and forth making marks responding to those marks until the feeling sought after has been expressed.

Do you keep some kind of ongoing drawing book or diary? Or a collection of images or photographs for inspiration?

I have multiple visual journals, which are mostly chronological, but I do go back to ideas and details from years ago to find parallels. I’ve found it useful to have separate notebooks to jot down ideas rather than making them in the visual diaries, though I do make notes of poetry and quotes in my sketchbooks.

 I document possibly too much by photography (and probably should edit more off my phone).


Image credit: Robyn McMullan, 2020.

Who are your favourite artists? Who do you draw inspiration from?

I try not to have favourites (insert wink, but I don’t normally do that either) but Goya, Miro, Cy Twombly, Susan Rothenburg, Mark Rothko, Ralph Hotere, France Hodgkins, Fiona Hall, William Kentridge to name a few.

Robyn’s exhibition Tranquil Places to Hang Idyllwild will be on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 8 February – 1 June 2020.

Enso calligraphy workshop with Robyn McMullan

Join artist Robyn McMullan and discover ways to bring mindfulness to your painting practice through the exploration of ‘enso’ circle drawing. Experience a thoughtful, meditative encounter with paper, brush and ink. Alongside the workshop, take the opportunity to view McMullan’s Tranquil places to hang idyllwild exhibition in its final weekend on display in the Dragon’s Lair Gallery.

Saturday 29 February 2020, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Cost: $5.50 | Bookings essential


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