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Perched high in the mountain range of Noosa’s hinterland, with spectacular views towards the coast, Tracey’s studio is her natural habitat and a perfect place to find out how her art career began, what inspires her works and how this fun loving adventurer spends her leisure time away from the easel. Meeting Tracey for the first time is like taking in a deep breath of fresh air – she is full of life and her quirky personality is contagious. Stepping into her studio, I am surrounded by colour and uplifted by striking images in every direction; across the walls and laid out on the benches, her effervescence permeating through canvases. Lions, giraffes, cows and elephants jump out before me, each with sparkling, playful eyes, and its own brand of animated charm. Tracey’s distinctive paintings are a celebration of life and reflect her simple mission “to create joy”. Her creations fall somewhere within the genres of impressionism and abstract action expressionism and she uses acrylic on canvas to bring her animals to life. No two of Tracey’s original works are the same; each painting is created with injections of colour and abstract textures.

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Using thick splashes of bright acrylic paint, together with an irregular application of hessian and resin, she builds intriguing textures that breathe energy, depth and character into her subjects. When asked about the use of colour in her paintings, Tracey says, “It’s just a feeling, it can’t be taught, nor can it be copied exactly.” Although Tracey’s passion for art began as far back as she can remember, remarkably she has not had one single lesson. “I don’t think what I do is extraordinary,” she says. “Anybody can pick up a pen and write and anybody can draw.” I ask what advice Tracey would give to an aspiring artist: “Go and get a real job first – get some life experience,” she says. “Focus on being the best you can be, and don’t live out of fear.” Tracey’s pieces have gained inter-national recognition since her first solo exhibition sold out in 1999. However, when she is not working a brush and canvas at her studio, Tracey is embracing her passion for yoga and travel, both of which are inspirations for her work. Tracey’s new kaleidoscopic style evolved after returning from a three-month yoga training course in Bali is 2010. She and her partner Kim are both devoted yogis and raw food enthusiasts. “I think after getting into this yoga, hippy, mung bean lifestyle, I have come to learn a lot more about intention, so when I paint, my intention, from the bottom of my feet to the tip of my tongue and everything in between, is to create joy … I just love it; I get off on it, and watching people smile – I think that intention is what can make a difference.”

Words by Sophie Lucas | Images by Cherie Harmony