The case of the lost sock

9 January 2023

Some lose their marbles, some lose their socks. And some lose everything all at once. Let’s hope you always find what you are looking for.

Peace and harmony will be my priorities this year, not to mention a soupçon of battiness.

With the turn of the year came a change of direction in the way I operate. After years of living on the premises, and hanging the red OPEN flag out, I have finally seen the light and invested in a doorbell.

So, instead of opening the studio every Saturday and Sunday to the public at large, I will now open on demand. Please ring the bell if you would like a viewing, or, if I am not in, call me on +61 (0)419 103 960 and we can arrange a visit. I’m rarely far away.

And if this gives me more free time at home, well, I’ll be looking for the lost sock.


New Life

4 September 2022

When the world looks too overwhelming – as it often does these days – I take refuge in watching another world, a world far removed from politics, where nature is given a chance to win back its old, rightful place.

I am talking of videos about re-greening the desert. They are my go-to therapy. It is heart-warming to see how scientists and hands-on volunteers manage, against all the odds, to reverse the damage that has been done. Cajoling degraded land back to life is no mean feat.

Hence my latest painting, called ‘New Life in the Desert’. It aims to combine two vital things: willing humans and certain plant species – both have to be tough enough to do the job. In my mind I fused their intrepid life forms into one abstract whole.

New Life in the Desert

Oil on canvas, 71 cm X 102 cm

Re-greening projects are happening all over the world. Just thinking about this puts a pep in my step.


It Takes Effort to Get There

7 June 2022

It has been a while since my last newsletter… You could say that current world events have taken the ginger out of me. One of my sons is married to a Ukrainian, so it’s personal.

Have you ever watched a snail, stoically determined on its arduous path?

There was a time in my life when I equated stoicism with the stiff upper lip.

How wrong I was!

The ancient Stoics were not at all against showing their emotions – having emotions is perfectly human. However, they focused on self-mastery, on being in control of their response to any given situation. Theirs is a philosophy about what you will actually do in the practical, real world.

The Stoics, oil on canvas, 46cm X 56cm

The Stoics were striving, aiming high like these snails. They aspired to the cardinal virtues such as wisdom, justice, courage and moderation.

By the way, ‘cardinal’ has nothing to do with religion, as I first thought. It comes from the Latin cardo, or hinge. So everything hinges on these values.

When you read Seneca’s letters to his mother where he describes – from his exile on Corsica in the year A.D. 41 – how many humans have been displaced over the centuries, and how mass migration was not a new thing even then, you realise how little has changed over the past two thousand years.


Going Underground

24 September 2021

Double double, toil and trouble. There’s trouble wherever you look.

With the times being what they are, we can each respond according to our temperament. Some of the more benign options are:

* Bang your head against a wall

* Learn to ululate or yodel

* Crawl under a rock

* Let your mind go where devils fear to tread.

I was reading the news, the posts, the facts, the fiction, the fakes, the conspiracies… and was inspired by a story suggesting that Queen Elizabeth is really a lizard who dwells in the London sewers by night.

This old girl opted for a painterly solution – a nice cup of tea with the LIZARD PEOPLE.


LIZARD PEOPLE, Oil on canvas, 56 cm X 46 cm

You must admit, it’s one of the more peaceful responses.

May your life be blessed with a nice cup of tea.


The Call of the Wild

17 March 2021

Ta-da! The Castlemaine State Festival is almost upon us. Join in the fray from March 20 to April 4, 2021.

Studio Rapp will be open daily from 11am to 4pm, with a new exhibition, and release of an accompanying book of stories written by the artist.

are waiting for you.
hopping with excitement.

They can’t wait to make your esteemed acquaintance.

For your entertainment, an entire wall is covered with our star performers.

We are hanging the exhibition right now!

Will you heed the call of the wild…?


Am I Crooked?

4 March 2021

Exactly a year ago, my daughter flew back from overseas to help me with an exhibition of new work, called Our Beastly Friends.

That exhibition opened for one day – one day! And then we went into lockdown.

We moved the beastly friends out of the studio and into the long corridor of my home, so that we could all get better acquainted during the long dark winter.

But now, the bi-annual Castlemaine State Festival is almost upon us; and Our Beastly Friends are coming out of hiding, and are headed back for the studio walls.

Only this time, there’s a book to go with them!

Lockdown wasn’t entirely wasted time. In fact, for me, it provided the perfect pretext to escape into a fantasy land, and I wrote 16 playful interconnected stories to go with the paintings in the series.

Right now as I type, the book is being printed in Bendigo.

I had it typeset by a man locally. He giggled and guffawed as he worked. His verdict? “It has real quirk.”

When I went to check the colour proofs at the printer’s in Bendigo, the staff were chuckling. And now the printer insists on finishing the job early and delivering the boxes himself!

Meantime my daughter, Cat, added some visual flourishes to the cover art. Including the author photo.



She seems to think there’s something skew whiff in the way I see the world.

I say to her, “life doesn’t make sense without nonsense!”

Our Beastly Friends, the book and the exhibition, in one neat package, will be available for your perusal every day through the Castlemaine State Festival, March 20 to April 4, 11am to 4pm.

If you’re in a beastly mood and in need of cheering up, come meet all the colourful characters – all 16 of them – and join the larks.



The Juggler in Love

8 February 2021

Do you need Valentine’s Day to give you permission to express your love, be that to a man, woman, cat or dog?

Maybe so, if you may be repressed. But repressed is so old hat. Be bold. Tell your two-legged heart throb every day how much you love him or her, by giving the gift that keeps giving.

Because if it hangs on the wall, it’s a daily reminder.


And the good news?

ALL, and by that I mean the entire range of signed poster prints, is currently half price.

Normally $120, they are only $60 AUD. For a limited time only, buy two for the price of one!

You can see the full range of print images here.

Send me an email at to place your order.

You can tell something’s gone to my head, and it’s not the love for a man – but love for all of you, my lovely subscribers.


Keeping your Distance

By: Katharina Rapp, 7 January 2021

Happy New Year! May things lighten up for all of us as the months go by.

Today’s painting, The Old Game, is not meant to be politically correct. It arrived in your inbox to give you a little smile, however rueful—especially if there has been no playful chasing about town in your life.

With so many of us cooped up on our own, we can at least escape into our imagination, with dreams of romantic trysts… or narrow escapes… which are a much safer bet than the real thing, anyway.

May you be pursued by happy memories only.



All Wound Up

By: Katharina Rapp, 19 November 2020

We are lucky here in Victoria. Spring has sprung, and our Covid cases have dwindled down to zero. Let’s hope the trend continues.

With this new optimism comes the re-opening of my showroom, Studio Rapp.

To turbo-charge the occasion, there is a SALE on. Selected works are offered with a 50% discount. Yes, HALF the usual price. If you can’t travel overseas for the foreseeable future, then why not embellish your house with a goodly dose of escapism?

This image certainly reflects my urge to spring back into life!


Gone Fishing

By: Katharina Rapp, 31 May 2020

Did you miss me and the Rapp brand of quirkiness?

The thing is, my new exhibition Our Beastly Friends was barely open in early March when it had to close again, due to the coronavirus.

Since then, things have been very quiet around here. The studio door has been firmly locked to the public—and will remain so until the end of June.

The collective fog is lifting slowly, and yet many of us can only dream of getting away.

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s little morsel of escapism. An image of social distancing with a difference…

If you need a change of scenery, why not order the painting? It could land on your doorstep, to be hung where it catches your eye…

It could be your escape on a wall.



A Beastly Show in Castlemaine

2 March 2020

At Studio Rapp, in the historic centre of Castlemaine, a mad-as-an-emu-on-her-washing-day exhibition will run from March 7 to 31, 2020.


OUR BEASTLY FRIENDS, a collection of 16 animal characters, will amuse and delight those who have not quite grown up yet, just like its creator Katharina Rapp. No longer a spring chicken, she follows her itch to escape from everyday reality into one of whimsy and humour.


Enid Emu’s Washing Day


OUR BEASTLY FRIENDS will eventually appear in book form, together with a short story to go with each of the images. Now is the time to look at the original paintings before they sell, only to vanish into some human hoarder’s selfish black hole, never to be seen again.


Studio Rapp
50 Hargraves St, Castlemaine (right in the historic heart of the town)
11am-4pm, every day from March 7-31, 2020.

Bring your friends!


Do You Believe in Magic?

21 December 2019

The world has gone crazy, and in the face of that, I’ve decided to rebel.

Not so much by protesting in the streets and getting arrested in a glamorous red coat, à la Jane Fonda – though I’m all for that, especially in the name of preserving our natural world – but more in the form of magic.

Our souls crave a sense of magic, yet we are in danger of losing that precious spark altogether, are we not?

The painting below forms part of my latest series, called Our Beastly Friends.



Will you pull some magic out of the hat in 2020?

Will you be a little bit naughty, or a little bit nice? Or a little bit of both?

Our Beastly Friends will be on show at Studio Rapp at 50 Hargraves St, Castlemaine during March 2020, coinciding with the Arts Open event.


Hitting the Right Note

12 November 2019

Let me tell you how my latest painting came about.

It happened in Woop Woop.

All creatures great and small – cows, horses, donkeys, geese, goats and sheep – gathered for a meeting in the farm shed. Big Bull was to announce the week’s news.

As usual, he stood on the shearing platform, waiting until the congregation below him stopped being so unruly. Then came the bombshell: there was to be a musical event the following Saturday, and what’s more, the evening’s program included a choral competition.

The horses neighed with excitement, scraping their hooves on the straw-covered floor. The cows were beside themselves, swishing their tails. They would give it their best shot – or was it their best moo? The geese ran amok, honking.

In the days that followed, all of them practised and practised in their various paddocks. The cacophony!

The big day arrived. Big Bull acted as the conductor in front of a sextet of cows. It was their first round, a warming-up of the vocal cords.

Do re mi fa so la ti do.

Nobody had given much thought to the sheep. So the surprise was great when a sheepish trio made their way up on the platform. And the surprise was even greater when instead of do re mi fa so… gentle reader, take a look at the image. There is always the one.


Suffice it to say, the cows laughed so much, they let fly a heap of steaming fresh dung. The geese farted green missiles with glee, and the horses in their merriment showed their grass-stained teeth.

There was no real competition. The sheep won.

And their prize? They were allowed to choose. They went for a sensitive, empathetic sheepdog.



The End of Opera Season

16 October 2019

The end of winter is behind us here in Australia, and so, sadly, is the opera season.

Are you ready to let it go?

If you have sobbed your way through Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, or wallowed in the electrifying sensuality of Bizet’s Carmen, you will be sad that these good things have to come to an end.

But fear not. A little bird just told me that a new operatic recital company has been launched in Catmandoo, to console those who suffer the ‘hungry gap’ between seasons.

It works under the mischievous moniker of THE FAT CAT SINGS. On offer are arias exclusively from the works by Richard Wagner.

The program notes promise such delicacies as

Ye Gods, Eat Your Hearts Out 
The Ride of the Catyries
The Bridal Chorus for Three (a feline ménage à trois)

and many more…

How could you, or any hungry culture vulture, resist?


Oil on canvas
56 cm x 71 cm


Please note that THE FAT CAT SINGS forms part of my new series of 16 animal characters, called Our Beastly Friends. Once the series is complete in March 2020, there will be a special launch at Studio Rapp, with lots of beastly fanfare.

May you never strike a wrong note, be that under the shower or when stepping barefoot on top of a drawing pin.



A Nice Smile Says It All

6 September 2019

Are your teeth in perfect alignment?

If so, we can help you stop feeling like a boring magazine model.

Thank goodness, times they are a-changing. We are now in the Age of Heightened Individuality.

Dr Crocodontist is a superbly trained specialist. He will take one look at your ivories and pull you (ouch) out of your misery. No longer will you need to feel like a cookie-cutter zombie.

Our unorthodox orthodontist will be only too pleased to give you that refreshingly natural look.

So don’t hesitate. Your smile is your visiting card, as they say.


Dr. Crocodontist

oil on canvas

56 cm x 71 cm


You may have guessed that this image forms part of my growing new series called Our Beastly Friends, exploring the commonality between humans and the animal kingdom.

Have you ever thought about it? Crocodiles can get toothaches, just like we do. You can tell by their tears.

Steering you away from a life that’s all too straight and narrow! Katharina




If You Were a Mouse

30 July 2019

Here in Australia, it’s cold outside.

If you were a mouse, what would you do?

Would you not throw caution to the wind and move into the nearest, the most luxuriously appointed designer mansion?

This is exactly what Sir Reginald Rootlemouse decided to do.

As you can tell, he is not your average little mouse. He has won some of the highest distinctions his kind can possibly aspire to. Thanks to his wit, his valour, he has been showered with innumerable gifts and medals.

He doesn’t bother to wear his medals. He’d find them too pretentious. But he is extremely proud of his most treasured possession—the envy of every other male mouse in the country—and there are many:

His Codpiece d’Honneur.

He wears it all the time. It attracts the ladies’ attention.

No wonder your luxury pad might soon be overrun by teeny little mouslets.


Sir Reginald Rootlemouse
oil on canvas, 56cm x 71cm


Please note that Sir Reginal Rootlemouse forms part of a gang of 16 animal characters – my new series – some yet to be painted. Once the collection is complete, there will be a special exhibition launch at Studio Rapp, with lots of beastly fanfare.


The Importance of Not Being Earnest

31 May 2019

There are two totally different artists who are close to my heart. One is the contemporary German painter Michael Sowa, with his quaint, charming surrealism; and the other is American Dr Suess, whose quote I paste in here below:

“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”

I could not have said it better myself. Being light-hearted in one’s expression does not negate an underlying sincere nature—not at all. Ask any Buddhist.

That said, and having reached the glorious age where I don’t care any more about what people think, I have decided to let rip, to give way to my innate, childlike soul. This means that I am stepping away from the theme of ‘the better moments in a woman’s life’ – at least for now.

Hello, transmogrification.

Hint from the dictionary: ‘transmogrify’ – to transform in a surprising or magical manner.


















The Happy Hippo

oil on canvas, 56 cm x 70 cm


We are all interconnected, animals and plants alike. Hold onto that thought.

And may you, too, be bitten by the flea of benign madness.




Drama in the Bedroom

4 May 2019

A few nights ago we had the mother of all thunderstorms.

At first, I woke up and listened to the soothing patter of rain on the roof. How wonderful. What a relief. Man and beast—and garden—have been waiting for this godsend for weeks.

Gosh, I thought, the rain’s getting heavier, in fact, it sounds like it’s coming down in cascades. And then, at 4 a.m., I sat bolt upright in bed and turned on the light.

At the far end of my room there was a veritable Trevi Fountain! My air conditioner above the window had turned into a gargoyle, spewing water in all directions. The wall was awash, just like the waterwall at the entrance to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Like a flash of lightning I flew out of bed and started to pull out the rugs, sofa, bookshelf… and then my electricity blew a fuse and I stood in the dark in my nightie, bare feet slithering about in the wet.

I mopped up as best I could by the light of my mobile phone and went back to bed. What else could I do in complete darkness?

All sorted now; the electricity is back on. My ceiling is made of pine boards from the 1860s. Had it been modern plasterboard, it would have crashed down on me.

Today’s image of a sleepwalker is as serene as I was tousled and chaotic.


The Sleepwalker
40 cm x 80 cm, in an ornate silver frame
$ 2,200

May all your dreams be dry ones!


A Fashion Tip for Easter

16 April 2019

It’s that time of year when the weather is starting to turn, and the nights are growing cool.

To ward off any pesky head-colds, here is a sure-fire remedy: a recipe found in a monk’s chest in a remote mountain range at the back of Transylvania.


Take one fluffy white rabbit


Place rabbit on top of your head, keep it there for one hour, or until the warmth of its underbelly has seeped into your brain.

If no soothing effects after one hour, double the dose.

Oh, and for Easter you can use the same white rabbit as your seasonal fashion accessory.


My Wabbity Hat

30 cm x 30 cm, $ 1,500


May all your eggs be good ones.



Ahoy There! Castlemaine Festival is in full swing.

26 March 2019

Shiver me timbers!

The Castlemaine State Festival is in full swing, and the town, which has been sleepy for weeks in the intense summer heat, is suddenly abuzz.

Clowns are swinging from the rafters, musicians are kicking up their heels, and waiters are swinging their trays through the throngs at the rate of knots.

The caffè lattes served could fill an ocean.

Here at Studio Rapp, paintings are a-swinging from the walls.
Legroom was at a premium over the weekend; just as well the seas will be calmer now during the week, when the township is less inundated.

Because I have a quiet moment after a weekend of all hands on deck, and because the smorgasbord of arts at the festival has put me in the mood for colour and costume: here is a little bit of visual theatre for you.

The Pirate Bride
oil on canvas, 35 cm x 40 cm
$ 800

May your days be festive!



For Good Luck

21 March 2019

Preparing for a Festival exhibition always carries with it a certain amount of stress.

Working away in my studio, I was interrupted by some upsetting news. After that phone call I was not myself.

When I went to the sink to clean out my brushes, I had an accident with the bottle of turps. What a stinking mess! I mopped it up as best as I could.

Feeling woozy from the fumes, and to steady my nerves, I poured myself a glass of wine and placed it on the desk next to my laptop – and knocked it over. Red wine all over the keyboard!

I jumped up and ran for some rags to mop up – and in doing so, knocked a fresh painting off the easel. It landed on the floor, face-down, little bits of fluff sticking to the paint.

Drama in the studio!

The painting I managed to repair; the laptop, alas, was not so lucky. It has since been replaced with a new one…

In case you should fear a bout of bad luck coming, you could, as a prevention, kiss your computer/laptop/phone screen over this image.


oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm

$ 1,800 AUD

May I have the pleasure of seeing you come through the door during the Castlemaine Festival?

From March 22 to 31 2019, Studio Rapp will be open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.


A Labour of Love

10 March 2019

Australia’s Labour Day comes but once a year.

By contrast, my personal Labour Day comes around with incredible frequency. In fact, if I were an ox, I would buckle under my yoke. But since I am female, and that makes me a cow… better not go there.

What I am trying to say is this: Some people think that a painting is something that just happens. You half-close your eyes, and the thing more or less does itself.


You could say painting is like gardening. You dig in your brain for ideas. You rake the ground for ideas. You shovel the muck for ideas… you get the idea.

Are you familiar with Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’?

Inspired by that work, but replanted into a small outpost of Castlemaine, here are my ‘Demoiselles de Chewton‘ or ‘Ladies of Chewton‘. This is how I imagine them in the gold rush era. They didn’t contort themselves in misery, as they might well have done. No. They got on with it. Labour Day every day.


‘Les Demoiselles de Chewton’
Oil on canvas, 111 cm x 84 cm
$ 3,500-

May your labours yield nothing but gold.

And speaking of Castlemaine, the biennial Castlemaine State Festival is taking place later this month, from March 22-31 2019, and I’ll be opening my studio doors every day from 10am-5pm. Do come and visit! The studio address is: 50 Hargraves Street, Castlemaine, Victoria 3450, Australia.





Do You Spark Joy?

24 February 2019

Something tells me that even you will have heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying-up queen who teaches you how to keep only the things that spark joy.

* Will you hang on to that single rank rugby sock that once covered the cherished foot of a lover?

* Will you keep the photo that was taken by your best friend, but which makes you look like a body building experiment gone wrong?

* Will you give up hanging on to that guitar on the wall, for years home to a family of hairy-legged spiders?

Out with them.

Donate, recycle (boyfriend included). Deep breath of liberation.

But what about the things that do spark joy?

Will you neatly fold your sexiest drawers and stack them upright in a—ahem—drawer?

Speaking for myself, I have revolutionised the way I keep my joy-sparking socks. Uniformly black, they are all rolled up now, standing like Rollmops in a tin, albeit smelling deliciously of soap.

The white ones that got away are in the image below.


oil on canvas, 71 x 76 cm
$ 2,750


May there be nothing but order in your joyful madness.



Anatomy of a Painting

6 February 2019

Today’s painting may be just a tad eccentric, but that’s nothing new, is it?

Blame the current heat wave—it made me dream of fresh sea breezes…

As a norm, I don’t like people looking over my shoulder at a work in progress. They see only what’s in front of them, whereas I can see the final image in my inner eye. Today, however, I want to break with that rule—assuming that this drawn-out process might actually be of interest to you. So here I let you peep into the progression of my latest, called ‘Mrs Saltwater at Home’.

Here is photo Number One, taken by daughter Cat.



The yellow and green are left-over colours from a previous painting. Smearing them on kills the stark white of the canvas, which is as frightening to a painter as the blank page is to a novelist with writer’s block. Next I transfer the outlines from a prepared drawing, and now have to wait a few days, or things will smudge. You can’t hurry your oil paint.

Number Two shows some base colours blocked in. These can take up to a week to surface-dry, before I can continue.



Number Three picks out more detail:


Number Four shows the finished result:

‘Mrs Saltwater at Home’
Oil on canvas, 66 cm x 84 cm, plus width of frame
$ 4,500

I hope the above hasn’t shattered your image of the ‘volatile artist’ who gurgitates his or her emotions onto the canvas in one hit. No. It’s the result of painstaking planning, discipline, patience—and if you’re lucky, the odd slip of inspiration along the way.


Nosy Parkers Galore

15 January 2019

Finger-print forensic science is so yesterday. What I need right now is a forensic detective who specialises in nose-prints.

If such a thing should exist, then I would like to keep an eye on the culprits who left their flat, nasal calling cards on an otherwise pristine pane of glass. The situation has gone completely out of hand.

Maybe it is my own fault. Maybe I should not have used ‘And Life Goes On’ as my current window display.


Oil on canvas, 106 cm x 106 cm, plus frame
$ 6,600

Enigmatic as the painting is, maybe the window-smudgers were looking for clues in the assorted luggage?

Had they asked me, I would have told them this:

‘Look,’ I would have said, ‘isn’t life like a series of rooms, as in the painting? Rooms that you have to pass through in order to become wiser? If you’ve managed to leave your old baggage behind, you are one of the lucky ones.’

The rest of us, who cling to our memories like limpets—be they good ones or bad—find ourselves stranded like the painting’s subject, being followed by emotional baggage. Unless, of course, she now decides to cut herself loose, and opens herself up to a brand new future.

Which way is your nose pointing? Backwards or forwards?


Happy New Year, from Studio Rapp

1 January 2019

Were you tucked safely in bed by 10 pm on New Year’s Eve, like yours truly? Or are you an altogether less boring person and you celebrated way into the wee hours, and in grand style?

Do you have a sore head now? (ha ha, I could have told you so)

Is your head in a spin? Your brain still in overdrive from going backwards and forwards? One moment asking yourself what on earth you did with the precious time that is your life, the next wondering what metaphorical mountains you will have to climb in the twelve months ahead?


oil on canvas, 45 x 56cm

Life is uncertain, but a cold compress across your forehead can do wonders.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a peaceful, fun-filled, healthy, prosperous New Year. It would be wonderful to see you walk through my door one of these weekends.


Studio Rapp – New Premises, New Beginnings

10 December 2018

As you can see, I am in a quaintly old-fashioned frame of mind tonight. Maybe the first glass of seasonal port has something to do with it?

Here’s to your health!

A good port is the colour of ruby, rich and full of depth, and it reminds me of the past twelve months which were equally condensed.

First I sold my idyllic cottage in the sticks, then I bought a run-down property, dating back to 1861, in the commercial heart of Castlemaine.

The renovations have left me with an elegant working space, as well as comfortable living quarters. The studio is much like a Parisian artist’s salon – a kind of living room where I like to entertain, or mix pleasure with business. You can come and see for yourself, as it is open to the public every weekend, or at other times by appointment.


Sometimes my attention wanders in the middle of a conversation. This is usually because a half-finished painting is staring at me from the easel. That hand! It needs correction. That bright cadmium yellow! It needs toning down. It’s like a constant dialogue with a patient, and the outcome depends a lot on the correct doses I decide to administer.



Having a set-up like this has been a dream of mine ever since I was eighteen. And now, only a mere handful of years later, my patience has been rewarded. Fun, fun, fun!

Studio Rapp is now located at 50 Hargraves St, Castlemaine, Victoria 3450, Australia. Tel +61 419103960. Open 10am-5pm weekends, or by appointment.