Respond, Discover, Connect, Create
Libby Byrne


You are an artist! It’s not about an image or a finished product. It’s about acknowledging the layers: the depth of who you are, within your process. (Sarah Pirrie)


In 2001 I heard my teacher offer this response to a student who was asking the teacher to determine if her drawing was finished. The teacher was challenging the student to have the courage to make this decision from the depth of her process rather than relying on the external reference point of the teacher’s authority.  It was a challenge that highlighted the layers of responsibility that artist’s negotiate each day within their studio practice.

The imaginative and intellectual work undertaken by artists is a form of research capable of creating knowledge that can help us understand the world we live in and how we learn to make sense of it.[1] Reflexive studio practice is a qualitative method of inquiry employed by artists to systematically consider and explore a question that has captured their attention. The artist is engaged with multiple levels of experience, welcoming seemingly disparate ideas into the practice and requiring them to wait until the ways in which they are connected become evident. This form of inquiry typically involves the production of a cohesive body of artwork and an accompanying exegesis that is primarily in written form.[2] The success of the art-making practice is often illuminated by the degree to which the process sheds new light upon the questions that have been posed and explored.

In the pages that follow you can track some of the research that I have been conducting in the studio over recent years.

[1] Graeme Sullivan, Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts  (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005). xi.

[2] Cora Marshall, “A Research Design for Studio-Based Research in Art,” Teaching Artist Journal 8, no. 2 (2010). 77-87.


Untitled, 2014

Mystery, Becoming, Identity and Desire, 2015

Everything is Breath, 2015

An Ordinary Gift, 2017-2018

How we see each other, 2019

Living and healing in faith communities, 2019

Drawing in church and drawing in to joy 2019

Who is an artist anyway? 2020

Sink like a stone 2019-20