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

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: 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

birdwatching in London

I revisited old haunts in London recently, and found inspiration in springtime. If you stand and listen, the city is alive with bird calls. And not just pigeons! The landscaping of each beautiful park ensures that the natural sounds which might usually accompany fields full of daffodils haven’t been lost to commuters and tourists. It’s reassuring to know some birds are thriving here. On my way through London, I took time to visit the Mall Galleries and stand in awe of the remarkable talentRead more

road trip

My paintings are influenced by scenes observed from life. Every year, I travel interstate to experience different places, sometimes new or significant, usually mixed with some old favourites. I go birdwatching with binoculars, camera and sketchbook. When time permits, I set up my easel and paint. Some of my best, most inspirational ideas happen when traveling. Black-shouldered kite settling on a fencepost, cockatiels in flight, mulga parrots sheltering from the midday heat, a striated pardalote singing from an abandoned railwayRead more

private commissions

Art is very personal. Each painting has its own symbolism and inspiration. A private commission can be imbued with deep meaning, depending on the client’s story, and this I always respect. My first overseas commission came from Switzerland, when I lived in Kakadu National Park as a young university graduate. Since then, I have sold paintings to clients in many countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Kuwait, Dubai and South Africa, and throughout Australia. Commissioning a painting is an easy process. We startRead more

sand dunes

Getting up close and personal with subjects is both inspirational and instructional. So that when I need to paint native plants that thrive in a dune environment, I have sensory memories to recall their colour, texture, the way they move in the breeze, how the sand shifts around their stems. Even if these plants form just a tiny part of the painting’s composition, I can portray them with more authenticity. The paint and brush strokes are imbued not just withRead more