Words and photographs by Ingrid Bowen
Visiting Tricia Trinder at her home studio in Sydney's leafy northern suburbs is a fascinating experience, it's a little like entering an antiques emporium, art gallery and kindi farm all in one. Diminutive Tricia paints in the hubbub of the family home, where she is dwarfed by her four children, impressive art and curios collection, ever growing clutch of pets - including a Great Dane and bearded dragons! The vibe is upbeat and full of personality, slightly chaotic but very welcoming. Tricia's real escape lies at the bottom of a lush tropical garden - a studio cabin brimming with art materials and curios, evidence of a vigorous and evolving art practice which includes sensitive painting, lively life drawing and evocative encaustic works.
Tell us about your background.
After finishing school in Bristol (UK) I worked as an assistant to artist Armando Morales in Paris, which gave me a thorough foundation in painting techniques and mediums. Fast forward 30 years, a change in hemisphere, various career paths, four children and an ever growing menagerie of animals, my art practice has finally become my full time focus.
When and why did you start painting these striking, intimate animal portraits?
I’ve always had a fascination with the quirks and character that animals offer to enhance our daily lives. Whether it be dogs, cats, cows or sheep, there is always something curious or comical to notice. I started focusing on a simple palette of black and white last year, which I think graphically captures these moments.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I guess I like to think the way I paint these animals is in a light hearted way. I hope that people will recognise the stance or expression and it will bring a smile to their faces when they see them on the wall.
What inspires you?
All interesting (weird) looking animals inspire me. I have a Great Dane and he started my series of graphically painted dog portraits which I exhibited last year in Paddington. My inspiration for my cows started from my own experiences of the cattle we saw on our long walks at the family farm near Walcha. I started to paint some of them as I loved their soft noses and long eyelashes, plus the big round bellies, curved horns and bony haunches. They are really inquisitive creatures, and that can be seen as they stretch themselves over fences to get a better look at something, or tip their heads in a curious manner.
Your work and home life can be quite busy. How do you find the time and energy to keep up with your artistic practice?
Yes! With with 4 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 lizards, 3 rabbits and a travelling husband it can be pretty hectic. I have to prioritise things, with housework coming last! My family are very supportive and understand my commitment to my artmaking every day. I am the type of person who thrives on being busy, especially with activities that excite or inspire me. When I’m in the ‘zone’ I sometimes surprise myself with the time and energy that I can find in my day.
Tell us more about your studio space. Describe the atmosphere to our readers.
I’m lucky that I have a studio at the bottom of our garden, and its a great place to get lost in. With a large wisteria covered deck and plenty of natural light, its peaceful private and green. My dogs sleep out on the deck and keep me company whilst I’m there. My studio is full of collections from my travels over the years, and lot of interesting creative resources, it can get quite chaotic in there! As well as painting portraits, I’m also an encaustic artist. As this is a very messy process I’ve decided to dedicate my home studio purely to my encaustic work, and have recently taken a studio at the Eramboo Artist Environment in Terrey Hills for my portrait work. I’m hoping to focus and develop my portrait work there, and maybe then find time to clean the house!