Jacob Cartwright, Guy Dowsett and Henna Kaikula performing ‘Reflections’ at La Rondine Gallery

September 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

Henna Kaikula, Jacob Cartwright and Guy Dowsett

Piano and clarinet burring insistently, drops of sweet notes like water tinkling in a bowl, a little bit sad, reflective, pensive.  Her body rises and falls like a pendulum, seductive with the same graceful fluidity of a cat, her contortions elevated to a beautiful dance, a body without boundaries.  The performance of music and contortion by Jacob Cartwright, Guy Dowsett and Henna Kaikula, at La Rondine Gallery a week ago, was one of those events that leave you breathless and profoundly delighted.  The gallery space is not huge and Henna needed a large amount of it.  Her audience squished in as much as they could to get as much of the performance that was allowed them.  It left us all as high as kites and the energy was abundant afterwards, with us all celebrating way into the night.

If you would like to see more of the performance click on the following link:

Jacob and Guy, composers and musicians

Henna Kaikula

Henna Kaikula

Henna Kaikula

Henna with photo by Jacob Cartwright in background, ‘Quarry Pond’


Jacob Cartwright, ‘Reflection’, a photography exhibition at La Rondine Gallery, Bagni di Lucca

August 26, 2012 § 5 Comments

Quarry Reflection 4

Water.  Reflections of strength and beauty, transparent layering of leaves and stone, transposed by light immersing itself in the thousand crystals of marble and lying in wait in the luminous pond below.  A feeling of quiet meditation in the whole exhibition. Jacob Cartwright has drawn inspiration for this series of photographs from his excursions walking through the marble mountains and disused quarries of Carrara and Pietrasanta.

Jacob and Jaqui

the doors are open

The opening

The opening night at La Rondine, on 24th August, was hot and full to the brim with art lovers and friends, sipping on prosecco.  It was an exhibition that constantly drew attention to itself, with guests engaging in the work, delighting in the painterly abstraction of stone and water despite it being the ‘first night’ when people are usually more happy to engage with one another.

Quarry reflection 5

Jacob’s photographs are large format and their subject benefits from the sense of space they create.  In ‘Quarry Reflection 2’, the work feels ‘inky’, like an abstract etching, luscious thick black lines criss crossing each other over soft dark grey and deep forest green, white dashes, alleviating the heaviness. ‘Quarry Pond’ is a truly beautiful work of just the reflection without its life mirror. This piece is full of light and the colour is delicious in its painterly turquoise greens and blues. All the works in the series feel special, but I especially enjoy the more undefined and elemental works that keep you uncertain of whether they are a photograph, a drawing, a painting or an etching – it is only the art that matters.

Quarry pond

Thank you 2011

December 28, 2011 § 3 Comments


It has been an amazing year.  We have loved it.  We have been living in Hong Kong for the most part of it; Thailand for a month, Italy over the summer and autumn.  Our boys have accomplished great things, placing their feet firmly on their journey and our art has thrived and we have some great new collectors of our art work.

Lost in the Cosmos

Early this year, we were invited by the Yew Chung Education Foundation to be artists in residence at the Yew Chung Secondary Campus in Hong Kong and Beijing.  This foundation has been a real patron to us, enabling us to live and create abundantly throughout the year.  We have created some interesting projects there.  Michael had the opportunity to do his first mosaic,  2 metres X 2.5 metres for the entrance to the school, using beautiful traditional glass tiles, called smalti, to create ‘Lost in the Cosmos’.  He has also completed a large 5 metre triptych of ‘Setting free the Golden Carp’, a really lovely sunset on water painting.  Shona had the opportunity to create one of her ‘Harvest’ series and was able to donate the complete bronze edition to the school’s charity fund, called ‘Seeds of Hope’, for building schools in underprivileged areas in China.  She has also been asked to do a 2.2 metre sculpture portrait of the founder of the school, Madame Tsang, which she has begun.

Setting fre the Golden Carp

Some doors closed and others have opened.  After 8 or so years, representation of Shona with Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery in Hong Kong, finished this year as they made the decision to concentrate on Asian artists.  Meanwhile, DeeM, owned by Debra Little, interior designer, has opened a shop on Hollywood Rd in Hong Kong, featuring the work of Debra’s favourite artists, (Michael, Shona and Jacob included), her own designed furniture, ornaments and fixtures, as well as the furniture and lighting of really great designers of the last 50 years.  We are in great company and the exposure for us here has been wonderful already.

While we were in Italy this year, we did lots of work on our old properties and now have a gorgeous apartment and studio to rent on the river of Bagni di Lucca.  Our little mountain house in the village of Pieve di Monti di Villa, has a new roof and a new chimney and our studios are getting better and better.

Over the year, Shona had the good fortune to have two of her sculptures placed in public collections in Regional Galleries in Victoria, Australia, with a third sculpture pending, through the generosity of a private collector of her work.



In the meantime, Jacob and Jaquelene have been living their dream in Bagni di Lucca, Italy, with Jacob writing lots of music and working with new music collectives in Europe.  Together, they have been learning the ancient art of working a traditional olive farm in the hills overlooking Lucca.  Jaquelene has continued with her internet and bookshop, Jaquelines, and in their spare time they have clambered over the mountains with Jake taking beautiful photos of the area, which he is now selling in Hong Kong.

In the clouds

Quarry series

After his Tuscan retreat, carving marble in the mountains, Sollai found work in the huge mechanism of the back stage manoeuvres of the production, Zaia, of Cirque du Soleil in Macau.   While thus engaged he became very distracted by a lovely young trampolene artist, Danika, who is now his sweetheart.  Sollai lives in a wee little Portuguese cottage in the heart of old Taipa, the tiny old space strewn with Sollai’s paintings and drawings, paints and tools for sculpture. Danika is teaching him circus tricks so the two of them can perform together.



It has been a very lucky year for us all.  We are surrounded by great and lovely friends and family wherever we have gone in the world. We have all thrived in our working life.   We have great good health and we are all growing into an even better year next year.  We wish you in the year 2012, fortune and happiness and abundant growth.

Lots of love to you all,

Shona and Michael

Merry Christmas

December 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

A Bohemian Collective at San Rocco in Benabbio, Bagni di Lucca

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

Jason, Al Maranca and Jake

This area is really interesting culturally.  There are people starting to gather here with their marvellous gifts, proffering events that are supporting contemporary musicians and singers and acrobatic performances and visual artists and writers who are all possibly great.  Bagni di Lucca is attracting not just artists but also sponsors and patrons and lovers of the arts.

Guy Dowsett and Jake Cartwright began the Bucket of Sound collective

Jake, our eldest son and married to Jaqueline, is part of several collectives of young musicians and performers. One of the groups was formed recently here in Benabbio, a village above Bagni di Lucca in a spectacular old villa, San Rocco.  The collective is sponsored by Jason Beacon and it has been gathering musicians from the south of Italy; opera singers from Australia; guitarists from England and Australia; Jake is here too, himself a composer, musician and music producer, and of course many more talents are arriving daily.  In one of the attic rooms of the villa, Jake and Jason have begun to build a private recording studio.  A big sparse room of uneven walls and varying lengths and heights, and, untouched by the busy mayhem below, the studio has become a sanctuary to these delightful souls who are industriously creating music and albums to accompany the events that take place in the vast drawing room below.  This collective in these beautiful surroundings in this rambling house full of eclectic and eccentric visitors, has a bohemian quality that one rarely finds and is truly lucky to have.

San Rocco

Kasia and Jason

Kasia and Jason of San Rocco

Last weekend we attended one of these cultural events, hosted by Jason and his lovely partner, Kasia, and Aengus (the resident artist).  For 10 euros we had pasta and wine and one of the loveliest evenings of music we had had for a long time.   Al Maranca was the feature of the night, accompanied for several of the songs by Jason with song and guitar and Jake on clarinet.  A musician from down near Naples, Maranca’s music is influenced by the south and sounds really middle eastern, we even picked up hints of Pakistani music.  He was really a one man band, flipping from instrument to instrument as he wanted them, setting up beats on his recorder and getting instant sound playback as he wove a magical layout of tones and amplification.  The evening finished with wild exuberant dancing, Jake and Al jamming together, in a wonderful tease of lilting melody and drumming beat.  The floors were trembling.

Al Maranca

The next day we were back again to partake in more festivities.  San Rocco had put on an exhibition of photos and old film footage from the local people showing the history of the area.  It was such a hit with people coming from far and wide, nostalgic as they remembered.  Jaqueline had set up a store of local books in one of the rooms and Aengus had an exhibition of his paintings and drawings.  Aengus is an accomplished realist artist and lots of his talent is found in the seccos, (paintings on dry plaster walls rather than painting on fresh plaster walls – frescos), throughout the villa, giving elegant fantasy to, especially, the bedrooms.  On this day, we discovered Jason to be a writer and were really delighted to be able to buy his book, just published, ‘The President, The Terrorist & The Torturer’ – sounds ghoulish, but we are told it is metaphysical and allegorical.  So we look forward to some time in the evenings up in our little mountain house in Pieve, with peace and tranquility to peruse this other artistic element from one more of the creative people of Bagni di Lucca.

Aengus Dewar's secco, painting on the wall

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