Artist Journal

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First quarter 2022

"I’ve been contemplating the idea of connection while creating these artworks.
The idea of connection between each other but also connection within myself and to nature. As well as having a sense of a spiritual connection or a connection to something greater than myself"


Ventral Vagal Connection, 2022 (detail)
Please see post below for full artwork


"In the instance of this fragment of imagery, to me it represents the intention I had to go with my gut to explore something that felt so removed from my painting practice, which was the public space program, and even though I didn’t finish the course, it was an incredibly valuable experience, the value of which I think I am only just starting to work back into my painting practice."
2022-Jo Dyer-Ventral Vagas Connection-100x150cm_edited.jpg

Ventral Vagal Connection, 2022
Mixed media (Acrylic, collage, oil stick and chalk pastel) on canvas
150cm x 100cm
Framed in ash

"Connecting to nature by observing its details up close is a habitual act that I have unconsciously sought out since I was a child. I get lost in the vein-like details of a petal or a leaf; instilled with a sense of calm and wonder. My nervous system engages with plants in a state of safety and connection (ventral vagal).

The process of making this artwork, which references this connection, also facilitates this state within me. In turn, the finished artwork invites you, the viewer, to connect".


 - Jo Dyer 31st January 2022


Starting Over, 2022
Acrylic and oil stick on panel
30cm x 30cm

(Painted over a painting created a year ago)

This painting is a visual expression of my need to try and integrate unexpected and undesirable experiences into a revised understanding of the world and narrative about myself. This is necessary work, particularly as big, painful experiences threaten my sense of safety or derail plans I had invested in, plans that were tied to my identity and sense of self. 

The void at the centre of this painting in some way conceals the history of the work but it is not a pristine space. Starting over can feel like this.

 In my late thirties some stories I had hoped to tell about my life are no longer viable, leaving a void that is disorienting and uncomfortable. This space is not a vacuum however: embedded within it is the wisdom of my past experience. This is the alchemy of my suffering; giving context and meaning to what is now, and to whatever is next. 


Painful experiences will leave their trace, embedded in my life, whether I like it or not. I am too old to deny that pain is unavoidable and old enough to see the freedom in embracing imperfection. I see beauty in my willingness to try and integrate what I cannot change. 

Making art iterates the story of my ability to keep (re)interpreting my experiences and to keep revising my story as I heal, in the pursuit of something more poetic. 


- Jo Dyer 12th January 2022


Entanglement in Blue, 2021
Acrylic on canvas
91cm x 91cm


studio note: 5th January 2022

New studio @ SMAC

The studio (itself a work in progress!)
- finish moving

- paint wall
- put up shelves 

- virtual open studio?

Last quarter 2021
Collaboration with Studio Milligram for Christmas Collection 2021

inspiration for two artworks: 

COAST BANKSIA - for navy / coastal palette

GUM BLOSSOM - for red / neutral / earth palette

To me, the coast banksia represents my connection to my home town Newcastle and the gum blossom represents my time in Melbourne, the home town of my parents and my late father's connection to the Australian bush. These are two places that represent family and belonging to me which is what Christmas time means to me. 


Product images courtesy of Studio Milligram

Third quarter 2021
Solo show  | The Corner Store Gallery, Orange
Jo Dyer Collage 2021.JPG

Collage to pull together ideas and embed the process

Jo Dyer Botanical Extracts Artworks.JPG

This series of works explores the theme of belonging through the recurring motif of banksia integrifolia foliage, which is drawn, painted or scraped back into each artwork. Banksia integrifolia, or Coast Banksia is common along Newcastle’s coast and streets and the foliage of this plant is symbolic for me. I planted one of these trees on my birthday in Dad’s garden after he died. This is my sister’s garden now, so it’s where my nephews play.The familiarity of this iconic plant, and seeing it everyday in my neighbourhood, connects me to my own sense of belonging. Having a sense of belonging is something that I realise I actively need to cultivate for myself, and reconnecting to nature and making art are part of this active process for me.

2021-Jo Dyer-Cultivating Home-40x40cm.jpg