story as art

Whenever someone says to me, “I’m so not creative” or “I haven’t got a creative bone in my body” as happened again recently, I wonder how that narrative first emerges in a person’s mind and why it takes such hold in the stories they tell about themselves. In life, we all make creative choices every day, from what to wear through to how we can best navigate a difficult situation. Although my sister would say that her wardrobe is purelyRead more

Art workshop for Canberra Tree Week

On Wednesday 2 May, I will be introducing the “STEP into plein air” event on behalf of NatureArt Lab, as part of Canberra Tree Week at the National Arboretum. My artist talk is followed by a three-hour art workshop held among beautiful local endangered trees and flowering plants of the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP), Forest 20. “STEP into plein air” focuses on a creative appreciation for our natural environment, especially the gorgeous array of plants from the Southern TablelandsRead more

Sketching trees at Earth Festival

What’s not to love about painting trees? Even better, painting trees in the beautiful surrounds of Canberra’s Australian National Botanic Gardens. I was invited to demonstrate acrylic sketching techniques as part of NatureArt Lab’s course promotion event on Saturday 21 April at the Earth Festival – celebrating sustainable living with a great vibe, music, good coffee and healthy food choices on the shady Eucalypt Lawn. I introduced the acrylic demo with a statement about our relationship with trees and my appreciation,Read more

HMAS Adelaide commission

From birds to ships! When HMAS Adelaide commissioned an original painting to showcase the capabilities of a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship, I was thrilled. I’ve painted ships before but not quite at this scale so I was absolutely determined to enjoy the whole experience. As usual, I took a deep-dive into the detail and worked closely with the Welfare Committee to create a painting that reflects a “typical day” of amphibious operations. I have portrayed HMAS Adelaide docking down, with threeRead more

art workshop

Tomorrow I will be hosting a one-day art workshop at Jerrabomberra Wetlands for members of the Wildlife and Botanical Artists society. Earlier this year, I was invited to give a presentation to WABA members in the beautiful surroundings of Canberra’s Botanic Gardens. I spoke about my approach to art, techniques for gaining inspiration, significant influences and philosophies, and the hard work that is a necessary part of any creative process. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation with other likeminded people in nature’sRead more

sketching pixie

Sketching a tree is simple. Other subjects are more difficult. Pixie was a very obliging subject, dozing in the late summer afternoon following a hard day’s work hauling a gypsy wagon along country roads in farmland near Bendigo, Victoria. I haven’t turned those sketches into a painting yet, but I might one day. Sometimes the act of drawing is just another way of engaging with the subject, paying close attention to detail, reverencing the form, observing the way light shapes theRead more

colour palette

   I find that I’m inspired simply by looking at my wooden box brimful of paint tubes. No matter how scuffed, squeezed, contorted, holed or shiny new they are, I love them all. My basics are Payne’s Gray, Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Hooker’s Green (acrylic) or Terre Verte (oil), Cobalt Blue and Yellow Ochre. I really can’t do without these heroes. All my paintings start with a Burnt Umber sketch, and some stay that way. But if it’sRead more

work in progress: miniatures

Working on two miniatures for this year’s Sydney Royal. I’m using Hahnemuhle paper – postcard size, since this keeps me under the 100cm-square worked area limit. Although the palette is the same for both paintings, I have emphasised stronger, cooler colours for the boy with a heavy background to draw attention to his hands and expression of concentration. Looser brushstrokes and lighter hues evoke the enthusiasm of a little girl’s impromptu fashion parade.Read more

work in progress: amulet

One of my favourite mediums is pen & ink. For several days, I have immersed my art table in found objects as part of the creative process to develop an amulet design for the cover of a fantasy novel. I use found objects as references for form and colour, and the way light caresses the surface. Handling the real object means I can portray it more convincingly in my illustration. For the accompanying knife sketch, I borrowed a leather-handled US Army knife to see howRead more

thank you birdlife members

  Thank you to all the Birdlife Australia members who said hello and mentioned my ad in the Birdlife magazine! The inaugural Australasian Bird Fair 2014 proved to be both an interesting and challenging experience. Interesting due to all the fabulous people who visited the Art Marquee and exchanged stories of birdwatching experiences, and our fellow artists who were welcoming, hard working and inspiring. Challenging due to the extremely hot weather which meant guests were in danger of wilting before our eyes! SupportRead more