In Tantra, the letters and corresponding sounds of the alphabet are considered to be infused with the power of the divine mother. In certain combinations, the matrikas (little mothers) are said to exert magical powers.
Drawing techniques which bypass conscious control allow us to access the power of the unconscious, perhaps even the supraconscious!
Hosted by Logical Unsanity Books and Miscellaneous Phantasmagoria, “Matrika” is an exhibition of literature inspired works on paper incorporating drawing techniques developed by the Surrealists.
Coinciding with the book warehouse open day, the works will be on show on Saturday 28 October.  You are invited to see the art, browse the book warehouse and sit and read as long as you like. A workshop exploring surrealist techniques will be held the following day.
 Matrika Works on Paper : 12 midday to 6pm
Saturday 28 October 2017
Entry: free
Drawing Workshop: 3 to 5pm
Sunday 29 October 2017
Cost: $20 per person.
Tea and coffee and some materials provided.
No previous drawing experience required. All welcome.
Please contact me for further information about the workshop and to reserve your place.

Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing

The human subject in states of spiritual exaltation, expansion and contraction continues to be the primary object of fascination in my work.

Selected as a finalist in the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing 2017, the derelict, filthy, in some places, worn bare figure in ‘Far from Self’ represents the contracted state of consciousness – alienation from Self. Orange and black thread divide the foreground of the picture plane drawing attention to the horizon line – a pictorial convention used to describe the notion of distance. The hulking figure move determinedly onwards.

The finalists’ exhibition runs from 4 to 26 August at Jugglers Art Space Inc.

From the Dionysian Monk to the Apollonian Saint – Archiving 1993 to 2002

Archiving my drawings from 1993 to 2002 provided an opportunity to review how my work developed in that period and to reflect on similarities and differences with my more recent work.

My first drawings at the Epicentre in 1993 were larger scale tonal drawings of a monk’s face.  A yellow turps wash underneath the charcoal attempts to describe the three main ellipses of brow, cheek and jaw. The shapes are simplified and quite crude, however the scale of the drawing, the  geometric triangular shapes and tonal contrast make for an interesting overall abstract design with some impact.

The next work ‘Birdman’ was most likely drawn in the following year. Still struggling with depicting the complexities of the human head, the drawing is patched where I had worn the paper through with reworking. Evidently I chose to leave the head unfinished at the time; a decision I don’t regret!

The final drawing depicting a saint after Raphael was drawn in 2002 and is a cleaner, more subtle interpretation of form. At the time, keeping the paper clean with large areas of whites flowing through the form was a high priority and this drawing achieves that.

As I was archiving, it was with some surprise I noted that my current preoccupation with drawing figures in states of spiritual exaltation, expansion and contraction dated back over 20 years. On another level, the gradual refinement of my drawing skills and style between 1993 to 2002 gave me reason to reflect on the quality of creative energy driving my practice over those years beginning with the Dionysian Monk and ending with the Apollonian Saint.

Dead People I’ve Had Crushes On

Drawings from the list of dead people I’ve had crushes on since the age of 10. (An exercise in drawing small.) 


Open Studio!

Open studio Sunday 28 May 2017 at 3pm. Come and meet the madman behind the drawings, have a cuppa (I have an urn!) and buy direct from the studio.

Status: Unknown

L – R “Cracked” Nicole Crosswell, “Breaking Point” Aden Sargeant, “May Your Suffering Ripen on Me” Leonie Chinn

Status: Unknown

A3 responses to the current state of the world.

OPENING NIGHT: 7-10pm Saturday 4 March 2017

Exhibition continues until Tuesday 14 March 2017 @ Jugglers Art Space Inc.

Go see how some people make sense of a crazy, mixed up world by confining their attention to A3 size rectangles!

May Your Suffering Ripen on Me -2017 – 297 x 420mm – Charcoal and chalk pastel on paper – SOLD

The Lean, Still Noble, Artist Makes Works of Great Sublimity Nourished by Extensive Self-Reflection – 2017 – Collage, ink, charcoal, acrylic on paper – 297 x 420mm


Roundabout the Gold Coast with Corpse Veronese

Visiting the Gold Coast provided an excellent opportunity to visit the studio of Corpse Veronese, having seen his exhibition From the Darkness in Brisbane in late 2016.

The collaborative drawing process was informed by a potentially serious incident where I lost control of my car, with Corpse as passenger, while on a roundabout outside of Marina Mirage.

Corpse remained eerily calm while spinning out of control towards a grove of palm trees, attesting, I believe, to the visionary artist’s familiarity with situations where the only appropriate response is surrender.

I look forward to collaborating again with Corpse in 2017. See more of Corpse Veronese’s postmortal psychedelia here.

Untitled Drawing with Undead Artist, Corpse Veronese

Down to the Water with the Lark Magazine

A poem has been written to one of my drawings and it’s not half as grim as you might expect. Down to the Water (and accompanying drawing) feature in the 2nd edition of The Lark Magazine.

The Lark is an independently published magazine for children featuring regular segments on the history of story telling, introductions to authors from the past, a fun look at the practices of philosophical enquiry, as well as mythology, songs, spoken word, riddles and plays.

Editor and author of The Lark Magazine, Anna O’Faolan and I have a history of creative collaboration in film, playwriting and dramatic performance, beginning in Byron Bay in the early 1990s. (Anna and her daughters also feature in drawings from my Whian Whian series.)

In addition to featuring work by grown ups the Lark invites young readers to submit their own artwork, poems or stories. To find out where you can pick up a copy or to learn more about how to submit visit the Lark online.

Anna O’Faolan and I in our intensely moody/dreamy younger years.

Jugglers X Show

Not a strip show, the X Show is an annual celebration of the work of Jugglers Artspace artists in residence, staff, volunteers, board, friends and family, including me!

Aaron Micallef & Jo Bone | Aaron Veryard | Adam Buchanan | BoHDi | Carmel McGregor | Dominique Chen | Giuseppe Filardo | Guy Lobwein | John Fitz-Walter | Jon Weber | Kat Elizabeth Donald | Kathryn McGovern | Leonie Chinn | Marissa Lindquist | Moozhan Kheiri | Peter Breen | Pippa Lynott | Phil Sheen | Paul Harris | Rachel Apelt | Stella Sui | Steven Falco | Xandolino

Sat 17th – Wed 28th September 2016

Around the World with Nitram Charcoal

I was honoured to have two of my drawings selected to represent Australia in Nitram Fine Art Charcoal’s curated collection of drawing artists from around the world. See the full collection here:

Review by Amanda Brachio of Drawing Breath

Drawing: a medium, a process, a symbol

September 23, 2016

As you squeeze through the narrow walls leading up to the exhibition, your eyes cannot escape the two large monochromatic portraits, strung rather closely to the viewer’s space. The thick, glossy contours of paint intensify their commanding presence, yet both figures appear to exist in complete tranquility. Draw the Breath as from a Well (2015) and The Heart is the Hub of All Sacred Places (2015) attest to Brisbane-based artist, Leonie Chinn’s art making as a “devotional practice”.[1] Here, Chinn ventilates the teachings of Indian guru, Bhagawan Nityananda, who examined breathing as a scientific process. Nityananda, the figure in the latter painting, suggested we inhale breath like we would draw water from a well, free of the impurities we previously exhaled.[2] This notion of ‘drawing’ is infused throughout ‘Drawing Breath’, Chinn’s first solo exhibition, following her return to her practice in 2014 after an almost ten-year long break.[3] Through a series of large scale, figurative drawings, Chinn depicts the human body in varying states of growth, contraction and adulation.

Stark white walls form the base for the exhibition space, gradually fading into the background as your gaze fixates on the layers of charcoal and chalk, in the surrounding artworks. There is a perpetual oscillation between light and dark, each stroke of charcoal working in contradistinction with the white walls and the substantial use of white in the drawings themselves. Entering the main gallery room is initially overwhelming, with a series of smaller drawings placed close together, similar to a salon hang. It’s when you progress further into the space that the artworks increase in distance and scale, allowing for a more intimate exploration of each individual image.  It is immediately evident that Chinn perceives drawing “as a process of revealing levels of consciousness beyond/beneath conscious awareness.”[4] She is also largely fascinated by the use of drawing as a symbolic metaphor, literally ‘drawing’ inspiration and ideas from the artwork itself.[5]

Furthermore, Chinn views the process of ‘drawing’ as a means of absorbing influence and information from her artistic predecessors, a means of perceiving their historical translation over time.[6] Quite often, there seems to be a chasm between reconciling the visual past with the literary present and Drawing Near – after Leonardo’s Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (2015), amongst others, is exemplary of Chinn’s effort to overcome this and observe the evolution of art through the lens of art itself.[7] Combining charcoal and chalk pastel, Chinn reimagines a famous sketch by Leonardo da Vinci himself, paying homage to the great masters whilst imbuing her own sense of stylistics. The most arresting factor of Leonardo’s original drawing was the placement of the figures, in a way that appeared as though were in unity, and not three separate constituents. Here, Chinn has capitalized on this technique, manipulating tone, form and colour to mould the three figures into one, organic mass. Taking it a step further, Chinn has placed no discernible emphasis on any of the figure’s faces, obscuring the boundaries of their form even more. In fact, the infant is so deeply embedded within the shadows of excess drapery, that he is almost difficult to distinguish. Emerging as if from within each other, these dark figures ‘draw’ influence from their forerunners, yet stand apart as their own distinctive composition.

The recurring motif of the ‘Mother’ is another central component of the exhibition, with numerous images of the Mother figure dispersed throughout the gallery. Bliss Permeated Mother (2015), a portrait of Indian saint, Anandamayi Ma, in a state of peaceful union with the divine, is one such example. The saint’s name alone roughly translates to ‘joy-permeated’, a concept that is echoed throughout the composition. The slight tilt of her head, the sharp curve of her jaw and the soft flow of her hair operate as tools to reveal the intimacy of this particular scene. Smoothing charcoal onto the surface of the paper, Chinn portrays a figure who exudes the serenity and delight often associated with the saint herself. Not unlike the expression of Saint Teresa in Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Ecstacy of St Teresa (mid 17th century), Anandamayi Ma’s face remains the primary focus, while the rest of her body is enveloped under the sheets of charcoal clothing (a sari) that she adorns.

Though comparatively muted in terms of tonal gestures, At the Feet of the Mother (2015) is nonetheless an important inclusion, mildly introducing the viewer to the themes of the exhibition as they walk up the stairs, looking up to this colossal figure of the ‘Mother’. It is almost as if both figures, hung on either side of a joining wall, are the same person. Upon closer inspection however, you begin to see the minute differences between the two and notice that here, the emphasis is placed on the figure’s overall, divine-like form. As suggested by the title and the didactic information, we are meant to view this figure as an embodiment of the deific nature of the mother; therefore, finding heaven at the mother’s feet. Instinctually, you think about the relationship you share with your own mother. It is an immediate, visceral and, in my experience, poignant reaction.

At the Feet of the Mother is one of the few paintings exhibited in this largely drawing dominated exhibition, but is by no means the most different. Sadhu (2015) is, by far, the most radically distinctive in comparison to the wider selection of artworks displayed here. Except for his heavy, piercing eyes, splashes of red and blue chalk, that suggest facial painting, shroud the old man’s face in this drawing. These fierce and abrasive strokes of pigment stretch beyond his face and continue to smear the rest of the paper. Thin, white lines frame the silhouette of the figure’s hair down to his long beard, as his otherwise grey body recedes to the background. Consequently, Chinn’s placement of this work amid the generally monochromatic palette present in ‘Drawing Breath’, sparks an interesting dialogue, entrenched in the practice and parameters of drawing.

Over time, drawing has progressively developed as an independent medium in itself and Chinn’s artistic practice is no exception to this pattern. Her body of work embodies the process of drawing in both literal and metaphorical terms, converting the preliminary sketch into the final piece. Raising what is typically coined as the ‘ordinary’ to the extraordinary.

– A review by Amanda Brachio


[1] “About the Artist,” Leonie Chinn, accessed September 16, 2016,

[2] Bhagawan Nityananda, Voice of the Self, trans. M.P. Pandit (Madras: P. Ramanath Pai Press, 1962).

[3] “Drawing Breath: Leonie Chinn,” Jugglers Art Space Inc, accessed September 16, 2016,

[4] “About the Artist,” Leonie Chinn, accessed September 16, 2016,

[5] Leonie Chinn (artist) in discussion with Amanda Brachio, September 2016.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.


Drawing Breath – Solo Exhibition

I am excited to announce my first solo exhibition of drawings, paintings and prints will be at Jugglers Art Space from 15 to 28 September 2016.

The exhibition is called “Drawing Breath” which has significance to me on a number of levels.

Firstly it makes reference to drawing and art making in general as a meditative and devotional practice. In the same way that focussing on the breath can lead to meditative states of consciousness, drawing too can be an exercise in mindfulness and in some cases, can allow us to access levels of consciousness and realms of knowledge which would otherwise remain inaccessible. This is particularly the case when making art is approached as a devotional practice.

The second level of significance is one more personal to me and relates to my return to making art in early 2014 after a hiatus of approximately 10 years. My return to drawing was a time when I became more attuned to the subtle movement of energy within myself and my environment. This was accompanied by an outpouring of creative energy and a feeling that I was returning to myself. Drawing has become a way of expressing some of the increased energetic sensitivity and in this way has become almost as necessary to my well-being as drawing breath.

Finally, drawing breath has the connotation of resurfacing. After a two and a half year period of intense creative activity and introspection (or as introspective as one can be when the mother of two young children) I recently made the step of connecting (in real life) with other artists locally through Jugglers Art Space Inc. in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Jugglers is an artist run organisation with a broad range of programs and services advocating for, exposing and celebrating Brisbane art and providing a vehicle for cultural and spiritual inquiry. I cannot speak highly enough of all they do for local artists and the community and thank them for this opportunity to show my work.

Drawing Breath 

Drawings, paintings and prints by Brisbane artist, Leonie Chinn

 Opening night: 6pm Friday 16 September 2016

Exhibition runs from 15 to 28 September 2016

(Gallery open 10am to 4pm daily)

Jugglers Art Space Inc.

103 Brunswick Street

Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

The human subject, in states of spiritual exaltation, expansion and contraction, is the primary object of fascination in these larger scale drawings and paintings.

Combining elements of gestural, tonal and figure describing contour drawing, the works explore art making as a devotional practice, expressed through the metaphors of drawing breath and drawing near.