St George, Queensland resident Kirra Moore cannot remember a time when she was not dabbling in paint or drawing in some form. For Kirra, a sketch book remains always handy and she continues to express her creativity, squeezing in time around busy family life. Kirra was three months short of finishing her senior year of high school in Brisbane when her mother, Penny Kilroy, had a tragic accident, leaving her wheelchair bound. Despite a yearning to study fine art, Kirra moved west to be closer to her mother. “It was a really challenging time and we needed to be together,” says Kirra, whose sister, Bridget Nicol, also lives in St George.
After marrying Scott (who hails from the district), the couple moved near Dalby to develop a farming property, but returned to the area after five years. Kirra and Scott now have three children, Charlie (7), Ella (5) and Maverick (2). “We love it here; schooling is going well and the kids enjoy having cousins and family close by.” With Scott continuing to work a contract spraying business (in and around St George) and on their property in Dalby, life is busy.
Kirra escapes to her light-filled studio during Maverick’s daytime sleep. Of an evening when all the children are tucked up in bed, Kirra can often be found painting in front of the television. “I find painting can be almost meditative. For the time I am creating — there is no housework, no lunches to be made; I can escape for that moment, until I stop and realise there is in fact a load of washing waiting to be done.”
The popularity of social media has had a significant and positive effect on Kirra’s journey as an artist. “In the past it would have been necessary to visit galleries and get yourself represented. I am very critical of my work and didn’t have the confidence to go through with this process. I was encouraged to put some of work on Instagram and Facebook and the interest has been amazing.” She is now struggling to keep up with demand.
The creation of the local handmade cooperative, Handmade St George, has also resulted in strong interest in Kirra’s signature florals on blue and white vases and large canvases of horses and cattle adorned with floral crowns. Kirra recently created her own personal challenge of painting 30 works in 30 days after seeing a similar idea online. “I had to give myself an extension as I didn’t factor in school holidays and it became very challenging to meet this deadline.”
The body of work was shown in a local exhibition, The Potter and the Painter, held in December last year, at Handmade St George. Kirra collaborated with local ceramist Annette Brimblecombe, who featured blue and white ceramic vessels alongside Kirra’s beautiful floral artworks. With plenty of zest to continue down the creative pathway, Kirra has a longer term goal of offering painting workshops at her studio. “We have so much talent and creative energy in our community — it is a fun time to be involved in the arts.”