Fuel For Painting – A Teacher-Artist Profile
Term: 1 Year: 2022
2021 National Teacher Artist Prize Winner Roxanne Lillis. For Roxanne Lillis, the smell of oil paint transports her back to being 11 years old and receiving her first set of paints. The excitement this teleportation causes is everywhere to see when looking at her work.
With a teaching career that has spanned 22 years and included roles as Visual Arts Teacher, Creative and Performing Arts, Language Coordinator and student teacher mentor. Roxanne Lillis is now painting like the wind blows. And anyone that knows or has met her can attest to her passion and energy for filling life’s every moment.
After finishing school, Roxanne spent three years building her working methods and finetuning her skills at the renowned Julian Ashton Art School at the Rocks in Sydney, before going on to complete her Master of Art at the university of New South Wales. All this hard work and devotion to her own artistic enquiry infects Roxanne’s classrooms. She teaches artistic practise through her passion for conveying meaning through materials, and she teaches enquiry through a ‘want’ to discover what is behind the “top layer of paint”. For Roxanne, making and teaching art goes hand in hand – and her own strong art practice has given her the ability to connect with and inspire her school students and teachers alike.
18 months before winning the inaugural National Teacher-Artist Prize, Roxanne and her husband lost their home in the devastating bush fires that swept through New South Wales. It was the 21st of September 2019 (her birthday of all days). To make sense of the world again, it wasn’t long before Roxanne reached for her brushes – using the destructive event to fuel her work and remedy the post-traumatic stress. But rather than creating sad, ponderous paintings full of despair – the work sprang to life with spontaneity and intuition – triumphant.
“Roxanne Lillis’s “Phoenix Rising #3” is a powerful, dynamic painting, the pictorial space resolved by both kinetic mark making and confident colour-blocking. Bravo, to a very worthy winner!”
Del Kathryn Barton.
Prolific in her output since the event, Roxanne says winning the National Teacher-Artist Prize has given her the fuel to do more. Currently creating her third body of work in 12 months, Roxanne is in full swing on her second solo show. This is a thrilling outcome for this committed and passionate teacher-artist. Stand back and look everyone, Roxanne Lillis is painting!
As the inaugural winner of the National Teacher-Artist Prize in 2021, Roxanne Lillis won $10,000 Cash and $10,000 worth of art materials from Zart for her students. As part of the prize, she has a solo show in Melbourne in early 2022 at The Lennox in Richmond – generously donated by Lennox Gallery Director Helen Bogdan. This year she returns as judge.