Regina Hyland

Morning coffee (Don't talk to me)

Morning coffee (Don’t talk to me) is about those quiet moments before you begin your day; when it is just you, as you are – no interruptions or influences from the rest of the world (if you’re lucky). My husband holds this space fast; it is his to be who he is, no human exceptions. This is a painting of him with his beloved dog, Zeus. Portraiture plays an important role in my practice, with a heavy focus on realism. In consideration of the theme ‘Essence,’ I pared this back and used only what was necessary to convey my subject, exploring the essential colour, line and shape of ‘him’.

2023 Exhibition Painting
Highly Commended - Works on Paper

Lisa Stiller

The essence of the bush: Living in Australia

The essence of the Australian bush is something very special. The richness of the precious metals used in the foiling of the gum leaves reflects the richness of the Australian Bush. There is beauty in the damaged and deteriorating leaves. I want to invoke the viewer to feel transported to the bush, and feel the heat, smell the eucalyptus trees, hear the insects and the birds calling. The essence of being Australian is very much connected to the Bush, and therefore the simple Gum leaf tugs at the heart of what makes us feel at home.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Sarah Davis

That dog, this dog

That dog, this dog is an intimate, reflective piece exploring the very essence of my attachment to the dogs in my life. Since being diagnosed with PTSD after leaving a very violent relationship, I have struggled to sleep at night without episodes of paranoia. I was never one to allow animals to sleep in my bed, but while staying at a friend’s place, I had no choice. The security I felt with a dog at the end of my bed, facing the door, was something I wasn’t expecting and yet, it has become a major part of my recovery. The poem in the piece expresses how these dogs are my security blanket.

2023 Exhibition 3D

Samantha Wearing

Little things

I have reflected the theme ‘Essence’ within my work, focusing on a specific area, ‘the essence of life’. With this area I decided to paint based around nature and how the smallest things can have the greatest impact. Bees are one of many creatures around the world that work to maintain balance. Thus, the essence of life is being who you truly are, working to support ourselves and what is around us. I am demonstrating that even the smallest act creates a chain of reaction.

2023 Exhibition Painting
1st Youth Merit Award

Hallie Vickers

Essence of me

I’ve conveyed essence through my artwork by showing my own essence. My artwork was created with the intent to show everything that makes me, and what makes my essence special and different. With the core of the piece, I was influenced by the perception of my family and how they view me. Through that I have portrayed my essence in a ball of bright light. Symbolic elements frame my self-portrait that all represent key elements, interests, and the ‘essence’ of me.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Patricia Hinz

Moss, lichen and crumbling rocks

For me the subject matter is often based on a spontaneous response to something catching my eye as the sunlight illuminates a small patch of bushland or a rocky outcrop, highlighting a corner I have walked past many times but failed to notice. This was the case with Moss, lichen and crumbling rocks. I used pigments collected from the area I intended to paint to stain my board before I started the painting to capture the ‘essence’ of this mini landscape.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Josephine Forster

Essence of hope

I have been the butterfly, although at the time I didn’t know it. I’ve found myself on a path of incredible healing and hope where previously I felt hopeless. I started this butterfly as a piece about transformation but realised when I came out of hospital that the butterfly had already transformed but was broken and in need of help. It was a picture of hope.

The true essence of hope is deeper than doing something. You stand with your arms out wide and hold that hope in your soul, that your angels will come, and it will get better.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Laura Heath


One afternoon while I was strolling past Chinaman’s Lagoon, I stopped to admire the blossoming water lilies. I was drawn to one specific lily that stood alone, perfectly highlighted by the warmth of the afternoon sun. I lined up my camera and pressed the shutter as a perfect pool of ripples formed beneath the flower, highlighting its petals as they combined to enlighten my visual senses. To me, this image catches the essence of the lagoon and the powerful effect that nature can have on the visual senses.

2023 Exhibition Photography
1st Place: Photography - digital, and new media art

Seth Gerke


My artwork cycles of continual evolution of weather conception, creation and collapse of individual water molecules. Tasteless H₂O droplets combine with sunlight that filter and enhance my orchestral composition immersing audiences into a dissolving audible focus with fluid visual foundations. By collecting, editing, and composing 100,000+ photographs, I capture microscopic vapor droplets, the extract and essence that combine to create thunderstorms in visually dramatic exhibitions of the Western Downs troposphere. Editing techniques sequence frames at 1/60th second creating a flowing time-lapse. My work presents a mesmerising compilation that liquefies time revealing the continual process of evaporation and condensation.

2023 Exhibition Photography and New Media Art
1st Place: Works on paper

Kristen Flynn

Self-portrait with grevillea - blue black

The most quintessential condition of life is that it is temporary. In my work, Self-portrait with grevillea- blue black, the grevillea’s stem mimics a spine-like structure running through my face showing my fanciful internals- hinting at the fact there is something more behind my exterior. My work is about coming to terms with my mortality and understanding there is no life without death. This self-portrait acts as a mirror; I can stand in front of the artwork, and I see my reflection, allowing myself to contemplate life’s essence of ephemerality.

2023 Exhibition Works on Paper
2nd Place: Photography - digital, and new media art

Katie Robertson

The boll of life

In a time of self-reflection, I wander, I sit, I capture. For once what was a memory, is now a moment seized. So here I sit, in a cotton field with my camera, overthinking and alone, capturing the sunset when this one boll stands out. Raw essence shining in the reflection of the cotton candy sunset of winter. Standing proud and tall in all its glory. What this one boll has achieved in six months is phenomenal. What it will become is limitless; just as in our life. Self-reflection. Clarity. Growth.

2023 Exhibition Photography
Highly Commended: Painting

Kerri Haslem


Reflections can have multiple meanings. It can be looking back on the past with a particular feeling, or it can be the essence of an object throwing its reflection, such as depicted in this painting. The light coming through the window cast the most beautiful reflection by passing through the glass object. This still life came about by accident. I was working on another set up and placed this jug on the bench. I turned around to see the most stunning light reflected through it and knew I had to capture it in oils.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Christopher Rigg


Blockage. The essential part of my art practice is timber. Usually long, curvaceous fine and smooth carvings. Blockage has taken my norm and turned it inside out. This structure is unlike any of my previous carvings in that it is a solid and stout chunk of timber that instead of drawing the viewers eye along the work, takes the viewer on a journey around and then through the heart of the piece. To the core, to the essence and beyond. The complex grain of the burl supports the chaos behind the thought processes of this work. Lines of varying colour are disrupted by the turbulence of the knots.

2023 Exhibition 3D

Tracy Ryan

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I visited Queenstown alongside a group of fellow photographers who spent the afternoon photographing sunset at Jack’s Point. During dinner, the discussion was that there was a good chance of an Aurora happening that evening. I returned to Jack’s Point and was lucky enough to find the Aurora was certainly evident through the lens of my camera. Light and composition are two elements of a good photo, but in this case, timing was the essence of capturing this magical moment.

2023 Exhibition Photography
Highly Commended - 3D

Guy Breay

The lighthouse

The passion and inspiration that I derive from creating unique and interesting pieces from natural, salvaged wood from our forest property known as The Stiks, is the very essence of almost all my wood sculpture. This piece was designed with an hourglass profile like a traditional European lighthouse that was built to withstand massive ocean waves. The centre was hollowed out to enable the light within to shine through the spiral lines of the sculpture and create shadows on the walls and ceiling. The retention of some rugged, natural sapwood provides contrast in texture and colour. 

2023 Exhibition 3D

Tiana Tramosljika

To be human

I choose to take a literal and metaphorical approach to my art. My use of a skull is to show the anatomy side of being human and taking the idea of being human with a ‘black and white’ view on the concept. The colourful side with the face is to show the emotions within being human, the use of sporadic colours emphasises that. The structure of humans and our emotional intelligence is what sets us apart from other species.

2023 Exhibition Photography and New Media Art

Bill Perry

Bargue Study

Robert Hale a famous instructor of Artistic Anatomy at the Art Students League of New York once said the human body was the most complex object in the Universe. The essence of humanity is represented in art by the figure. The restoration of appearances in art reached its pinnacle in the Classical Realism of the 19th century. Charles Bargue, in the 1860’s France, devised an influential drawing course for mastering the figure, Cours de Dessin. This figure drawing is a study of one of his lithographs distilling the basic essence of the human body into a simple outline.

2023 Exhibition Works on Paper

Lillian Stiller

The flower shop

The flower shop is a depiction of an imaginary place in representation of the optimistic essence of my future. It has always been a lingering dream of mine to someday own my own floristry business, which is abstractly illustrated in my work. The fresh perfuming essence flowing from the flowers in this painting provides a sense of surrealistic peace. The audience can be encapsulated by the dreamlike qualities which evolve from a personal context to me.

2023 Exhibition Painting

Jayne Rohrlach


Humans discovered the useful properties of clay 14,000 BCE or earlier.

Hand building is probably the earliest forming method, firing clay added new possibilities in developing the clay and surface decorations added yet another dimension.

To extract something so raw and natural from the earth and feel it with your hands involves physical work through the act of modelling, and observing the process is mentally challenging and satisfying. To be able to explore endless possibilities, experiment, and push boundaries with something so raw, and create something unique awakens one’s consciousness.

2023 Exhibition 3D
Highly Commended - Works on Paper

Meg Noack

The essence of identity: Who do you think you are?

The essence of human identity lies buried within family stories of love and loss, belonging and comfort. A closer study of family narratives often reveals additional adventurous yarns of hardships, pain and quiet heroism. But it is portraits of ancestors that hold a particular fascination. It is as if they stare back at us to shape us and challenge us: “Welcome to the world, child.” “Welcome to the family, bride.” “We share your pain. We have lost deeply-loved family members too.” If only they could talk now. What stories would they share? What secrets would be revealed?

2023 Exhibition Works on Paper
2nd Place: 3D Works

Kylie Bourne

Me, myself and I

The essence of me, the artist!  In exploring portraiture for the first time, this piece has challenged my creative practice; experimenting and using new, further refined techniques. Mosaics by their very nature (in particular portraiture), force the process of deconstruction at the very beginning of creation; exploring facial lines, tones and features. Followed by a process of reconstruction and use of additional elements (stuff) that embody the subject.

My essence (stuff)- bright, colourful, garden (seeds), mosaics (cutting tool), socialising (broken gin bottle pieces) and signature hot pink glasses.

2023 Exhibition 3D
1st Place: 3D Works

Kay Vidler


These two pots represent the essence of friendship. Despite their unique shapes, both pots share the same fundamental core values. Just like true friends, they exhibit compatibility, trust, and respect, irrespective of outward appearances. Deep down, we connect with our friends in a spiritual way. The raku firing technique used on these pots highlights the beautiful crackle, symbolising that we all have surface cracks. However, friendship triumphs over these imperfections, with the vertical ribs symbolising the strength that lies beneath.

2023 Exhibition 3D

Steve Cant

Towering perseverance

This sculpture consists of a wire tree delicately perched atop a towering rock face chiselled from a single piece of Camphor Laurel symbolizing the indomitable spirit of nature’s perseverance as it grips the rocky surface with a sense of resilience and determination. It serves as a reminder that even in the most challenging environments, life finds a way to grow, inspiring us to embrace our own inner strength and face life’s obstacles with unwavering resolve. Towering perseverance reflects upon the enduring power and beauty found in the essence of nature’s unyielding spirit. 

2023 Exhibition 3D