The Space In Between

Bree Riley , , NSW

I’ve known my husband since I was 13 years old. After being together for 22 years & married for over 16 years, he is my best friend & my other half. We have never been apart for any extended period… until he decided to fill up his bucket list with a solo unassisted bike packing mission from Perth to Sydney. While I’m completely supportive of him living his best life, the reality of being apart sucks. Sometimes it’s the little things you miss and I’m really feeling his absence.

As we have just commemorated ANZAC Day it has given me a new appreciation for the sacrifices made by families that are separated from their loved ones in order to serve our country. When painting this, I thought a lot about my friend whose husband is a SAS hero and is currently deployed for 6 months. I find her so inspiring how she is raising 3 kids while navigating life’s ups and downs and holding it all together with such grace and humility. She is one of the strongest women I know.

This painting is called “The Space in Between” and it’s about how loneliness blooms in the quiet moments when we are apart from our loved ones. For me, I realise life goes on, we keep going on but the absences are felt and need to be honoured. I’ve used muted colours to reflect how separation can take all the colour out of things and favoured greens to acknowledge the sacrifices made by those, past and present, who serve and protect our country.


  • Bree Riley
  • Painting
  • Acyclic on Arches cotton paper
  • 72cm x 51cm
  • Bree Riley