Wednesday 7 November 2012

Mt Tamborine Workshop

I have just returned from Queensland, where I taught a weekend workshop "Looking at Leaves", at Mt Tamborine, which is in the Gold Coast Hinterland. This is an important workshop as it teaches not only colour identification and mixing skills, but of course colour matching. I think one of the most difficult things to do in botanical art is highlights, so there were plenty of demonstrations and skills taught about brush control and the importance of how much water to pigment to use.

Just some of the leaves painted by the group

One of the great things about botanial art is that you meet so many lovely people, and I was fortunate enough to be able to stay with my lovely friend Margot who organised this workshop. So not only was I able to explore a new area and enjoy a new environment, I had a great time teaching the new group, who were also extremely nice (as botanical artists and gardeners tend to be), and also had some valuable time to catch up with Margot.

The view from Margot's house, which is situated on the Coomera River.
It was coolish on the mountain, so I was pleased I packed some warm clothes. I am not good with cold, and going away is the bane of my life - ensuring I have clothes for all seasons. Mt Tamborine is a beautiful spot with spectacular views over valleys and distant mountain ranges.

The workshop was held in an extremely well appointed facility within the Heritage Centre historical site, where original buildings are now used as a museum to show what life was like in the 19th and early 20th century.

Some of the ladies at the workshop lived locally, and others had travelled from around the Gold Coast area. They also put on the most amazing morning teas and lunches. It was an absolute feast. Very difficult not only to be aware of calories, but to decide whether to have a piece of coconut-chocolate slice, the date and nut cake or jam and coconut slice. And that was just for morning tea! Lunch was much more varied, with fruits, cheeses, several incredibly delicious quiches, a wonderful vegetarian nut slice, salads - and not forgetting desert. Maureen had made a sumptous trifle, and on the last day Janice brought in a carrot cake. Who can say no! I tell my students that "watercolour is like weight - easy to put on and hard to get off". Now I am home I will certainly have to walk a few more kms. 

Some of the delicious food the ladies provided at the workshop. Margot is on the left.

After the workshop on Saturday afternoon, Margot and I were invited to Pat's place on the mountain. As an avid gardener she spends many hours creating wonderful areas of garden, including a Japanese garden, a rose garden full of strongly perfumed heritage roses, several different rainforest walks, an English garden and much more. It was amazing.

Deep wine red of the hollyhocks from Pat's English garden

Heritage roses

After a great workshop, which we all enjoyed immensely, on the final day the group were invited to Jenny's house, which was on the western side of the Mt Tamborine ridge. In another life Jenny was a garden designer and her "borrowed" vistas in her garden, as well as her creative input into her own garden created a fantasic backdrop for our champers and nibblies and closure for the weekend. It could not have ended on a more pleasurable note.

The view from Jenny's house and garden on Tamborine mountain

The setting western sun

As I wasnt leaving Margot's until Monday afternoon, it gave us a chance to wander around Coomera Waters, pick up various plant specimens (which I am now eager to start on) and enjoy the peace and serenity. As a city girl, living about 7kms from the heart of Sydney, the actual quietness of Coomera Waters and the lack of traffic was in total contrast to the usual hustle and bustle of my daily life.

An iridescent beetle on the Brachychiton (Kurrajong) trees, which were in full bloom.
So thank you Margot for a wonderful time, and thank you ladies of the Mt Tamborine group for your hospitality and enthusiasm, and for you all in making my workshop and stay such a pleasant experience.

My new office/studio
It is finished, but having been away for 4 days, I am a little behind with putting things back into the office. It is all functional, and today I am focusing on putting back my books. There are still hundreds of them stacked in the lounge room, but hopefully most of them will be in their new home today.

I will post some photos once it is all organised.

If any of my readers would like to comment, I would love to hear from you. Just click on the pencil icon at the end of any post and add a comment. Don't be daunted when you have to decipher the code, which enables me to see your comment. I find it very difficult to decode the numbers and letters and it often takes me about 3 goes if I am commenting on someone else's blog. So be patient and give it a go!

If you would like to subscribe so you receive my posts, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click "Subscribe to".


  1. Welcome to my blog. Hope you continue to enjoy my journeys.

  2. I love writing and enjoy posting my blogs. They combine my interests in nature, art and the environment.

  3. Hello Leonie. I enjoyed your blog. I like your botanical art workshop at Mt. tambourine . I like your photos. You seem to be a nature loving person.