Jacqualine Breakspear
Jacqualine Breakspear

Artist Statement

I am a Sydney based artist painting across all genres with a focus on the joy of expression and colour which comes from the richness of oils. My current series of bathers at Sydney beaches is inspired by the abandon, joy, freedom and connection with nature people experience when in the ocean. For this series I spent hours observing people in the water capturing their spontaneous responses to the ocean and each other unaware they were being observed. My work seeks to capture the seduction, mystery and delight we feel when truly embracing nature. My purpose is to convey the unifying joy of the sea, its movement and unpredictability and how that strips away social status, artifice,body type,sex and racial background leaving the essence of a moment in time.

My fascination with observing human interactions with and in the environment is informed by my earlier adventures as a landscape architect and postgraduate research on hill tribes and opium in remote north western Thailand and travels in northern Burma. I was also privileged to spend a number of years travelling and working with Aboriginal communities in Cape York.

I use ‘plein air’ sketches and photos to develop gauche studies and collages in my studio before painting on canvas. My love of light and colour led me away from a background in classical training to the French Impressionists, Expressionists and colourists. This current series incorporates these influences and the study tours I have undertaken in Rome and Paris. More recently I have been inspired by contemporary painting techniques and master colourists who do not belong to any particular movement but whose work brings to life an expression of individuality and lack of inhibition which resounds in my study of Sydney beaches.

Jacqualine’s work is held in private collections in Sydney and around Australia.


Bondi Summer

Bondi Summer is an exploration of colour, the human figure, and Australian beach culture. With Danish mariners and yachtsmen as ancestors, the love of water is a strong family connection for Jacqualine. She captures everyday moments of people from all walks of life, as they swim, surf, sunbathe and relax at the beach.

Jacqualine’s classical training of the human form has enabled her to effortlessly depict the way that light falls on both the contours of the human body, and the water. She creates depth by expressing the relationship between figures in space, and human interactions in the beach environment. Movement and spontaneity is captured through an emotive, expressive and gestural approach.

Jacqualine recently undertook an artist’s residency in South Australia, mentored by Jo Bertini, one of Australia’s greatest colourists and expressive artists. Jacqualine studied a diverse palette to express the unique Australian light at different times of the day.


Fresh Water Bathers 

“When you’re surfing you’re not thinking about where you parked the car or what you’re going to do when you grow up or what you’re going to buy when you’ve lots of money. You know you’re just there. You’re in the moment. And I think in a contemporary world that’s a rare privilege” – Tim Winton

When I was a child, nearly every Sunday in summer my mother, a single mother with 4 children, would pack my brother and I into our Ford Cortina and drive the one hour trip across from our rental house in what was then Sydney’s Western Suburbs to the beach.

When we got there we’d run straight out into the sea. The two of us would swim right out to the back beyond the breakers and wait for the big sets to come in. Our aim was to catch the biggest breakers  and brag about how badly we got dumped. I also loved to throw myself up over the top of the huge rollers and feel myself fall back down through the air into the water.

We’d stay out there all day only coming in for food and when we saw Mum wildly gesticulating from the shore in the late afternoon.

The ocean was a place of escape and adventure for me.

It is still that, but now as an artist I can’t help myself from a keen observation of everyone else. I like to swim and then I like to watch. I like to marvel at all the different body types and as an artist I find beauty in them all. I like to wonder what people are talking about and I love to watch how they react to the water and the waves.

This series explores the joy, abandon and connection I feel with the ocean and with everyone else who is there in the moment.

My painting’s are developed from life observation, gouache sketches and of course photographs. I use my classical training in anatomy, the human figure and life drawing to subtly model the human form from the light source. The art of form drawing comes from the Old Masters of the Renaissance and a deep understanding of the human figure. It is important to me as an artist as I don’t want to produce a flat tonal reproduction of a photograph. I want to produce a painting that is alive with movement, life and the artist’s expression.

– Jacqualine Breakspear, June 2016



B Landscape Arch University of Canberra

Canberra School of Art (electives)

Masters of Env. Science Macquarie University

2007-2010 Julian Ashton Art School Sydney

2004- 2008 National Art School (part time studies under Lucy Culliton, Kim Spooner)

2015-2016 Workshop Arts Centre    Studied under Jo Bertini


Selected Exhibitions

2010 Julian Ashton Art School Annual Exhibition

2014 –2016 Artists of Mosman, Mosman Art Gallery

2015 Workshop Arts Centre

2015 Gallery 307 Group Exhibition

2016  ‘Fresh Water Bathers’ at Art2Muse Gallery (solo exhibition)


2017 ‘Bondi Summer’ at Art2Muse Gallery (solo exhibition)


Private collections in Sydney and around Australia

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