Thursday 28 March 2013

Harbour Bridge Sketch

My excurisons into the city are always so enjoyable. I can walk into the city from my place, so it isnt as if I have a long journey to get there. It is a time factor. I am usually busy with other projects and of course - work.
I say to myself  "I must do this more often" and I should. Below is my sketch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay.

On to another topic, I was given a beautiful bunch of Australian native plants and flowers. I fell in love with a Banksia prionotes so have become a little obsessed with that. Yesterday afternoon I did the drawing of the flower and today will do the leaves - all ready to begin the painting.
I will be running some Banksia workshops this year. The thing to remember is "There are no shortcuts!"  I love detail, so I love painting the intricate details. Takes me into another world.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Circular Quay

Met up with Elsa this morning at Circular Quay. Elsa is a ceramicist and we have been friends since our first day or Uni. That goes back a long way. Had a delightful and relaxed morning sketching, sipping coffee, strolling and watching the people get on and off the Carnival Spirit that docked this morning at the Overseas Terminal.
I love it when a cruise ship is in and the weather is beautiful, as Sydney Harbour can be seen at its very best. Having cruised into some wonderful harbours of the world, there is still nothing like Sydney. What can be better than to literally step off the ship and see the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House within walking distance.
Manged to spend some time at the Museum of Contemporary Art and there is always something quite interesting on.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Sketching Historic Beechworth

I have just returned from a fabulous weekend with a great group who were "Sketching Historic Beechworth." I love to see the sketches that each participant completes. Every person looks at the same subject in a very different way. They see colours differently and their techniques are all very individual.
Most of the people that come on my art tours have had little or no experience with watercolour and very little with drawing. I am amazed at what they produce.
Above are just a few sketches from the weekend. There are no winners and no losers - every sketch is very special, and all very unique to the artist. Notice how each artist above has looked from a very different aspect. This was the theme throughout the group.
They all loved Beechworth, and many stayed on after the workshop to get more of a feel for the place. It is so historic you almost expect to see Ned Kelly galloping along the main street. The buildings are very typically 19th century and the shops have all retained their original facades.
Above is the post office with its very typical architectural features still found in many small towns in Australia.
Here is one of my sketches of the renowned Commercial Hotel. I have been going to Beechworth twice a year for the past 5 years and there is never enough time to sketch or see all there is to do there.
In May I will return for another 4 or 5 days to take another workshop, this time in Drawing & Painting Banksias.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

'Collecting Ladies' new book

I was sent an absolutely beautiful book called Collecting Ladies by Penny Olsen. It centres around Ferdinand von Mueller and the women botanical artists who sent him specimens they had collected. There is a fascinating story behind this which makes for some very enjoyable reading.

The women in the book came from every state in the Australian colonies, as Mueller had advertised in newspapers for collectors around 1870 and had over 3000 responses, of which only about 10% were women.

Louisa Anne Meredith (Tas), Fanny de Mole (SA), Helena Scott (NSW), Ellis Rowan (Vic) and Lady Margaret Forrest (WA) are among some of the fourteen women featured in this book.

Some of Fanny de Mole's delightful botanical paintings

Not only does the book contain some wonderful botanical paintings, but also some charming photographs of the artists which gives us an an insight into their lives.

Rosa Fiveash in her Adelaide Hills home 1907
I loved reacquainting myself with the ladies from my book 'Women of Flowers'  and was delighted to meet other very talented women, all with special stories.

This book is in the final stages of publication and will be available for sale from 5th April. You will be able to purchase it from the National Library of Australia's bookshop and many bookstores around Australia.

Happy reading....

Sunday 10 March 2013

Looking at Leaves

Yesterday I taught a botanical art class and we explored the theme of 'Looking at Leaves'. Nothing is truer than "if you can paint a leaf, you can paint the world." (John Ruskin 1819-1900). He was an English philospoher, artist, art critic and author.
John Ruskin
John Ruskin - some of his botanical images

My class of 16 students of all levels, did some excellent work yesterday. It gives me enormous satisfaction to see just what can be achieved in a one-day workhop. Teaching adults is extremely rewarding, as they really have a passion for learning.
Just some of the leaves from the workshop

Someone asked me the other evening what would I do if I wasnt teaching, painting, writing, travelling and involved in my other projects and art career. Without hesitation I replied "exactly what I am doing now - as I love my work which really isnt like work at all."
That sums it all up...I suppose being a bit of a workaholic (according to my husband) doesnt hurt.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Natural History Exhibition

Last night I attended the opening of a natural history exhibition at Coogee called Sea Secrets by Anna Mellefont.
Anna began her art studies with me at Bondi approximately ten years ago and I have seen her work develop over many years. She found the medium of coloured pencil worked better for her than watercolour and she has not looked back since. Her works display great form, solidity and three-dimensionality as well as wonderful subtlety of colour and texture.
Below is a picture of myself and Anna with one of her beautiful works of sea shells on the right. 
Leonie & Anna Mellefont
It gives me such a buzz to see a former student doing so well, being so proactive and producing such amazing work.