Saturday 27 April 2013

Workshop Canberra Botanic Gardens

Yesterday saw the sun setting after a glorious day - and the bats flying directly over our apartment. Some fly so low I feel I could reach up and touch them.

Notice the two bats in the photo. Sometimes there are many many dozens of them.
Have been working on my new painting of the Banksia prionotes and making good progress, as much as time will allow. I am working on the detailed areas now, which is my favourite part. I love the meditative experience of botanical painting, as it takes you into another world, where time stands still while you paint away contentedly.
In a few days I will be heading off to Canberra, where I am teaching a three-day workshop at the Botanical Gardens on 'Painting Australian Native Plants'. The subjects will be taken (under strict supervision) from the Gardens.
I am looking forward immensely to my stay in Canberra and meeting more of the lovely ladies that paint there. I will be sure to take lots of warm clothes as it has been very cold in the mornings and evenings.
Here are a few progess photos of my banksia painting.

and this is where I am now -
Not much time to finish this painting before I go - as have quite a bit of preparation to do for the workshop. So near and yet so far.....
I already have the subject and design in my head for my next painting, which will be something a little different.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Coloured Pencil DVD

I have just reviewed an excellent instructional DVD by coloured pencil artist Jacqueline Pemberton from WA. I am in awe of the amazing botanical art work Jacqui produces. The DVD takes you through every step along the way from start to finish on the processes of coloured pencil techniques. The materials are extremely important and different types of pencils are used for differing purposes.
If you have ever wanted to "have a go" using coloured pencils, this comprehensive DVD is for you! It is also available in a two-part set - Jacqui's DVD covers the processes of botanical art and materials, and Helen Fitzgerald's DVD in the set is a "Splash and Dash" guide to the basic coloured pencil techniques using free expression. The materials in this DVD are also explained very clearly. Enjoy!
See Jacqui's website for more information: There is also a promotional DVD on this website so you can view before you purchase.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

A Book a Week - 1. 'Botany for Artists - Lizabeth Leech

I have some wonderful and varied books in my collections. Some I just "had to have" and glanced through, promising myself I would return to them and luxuriate at leisure in the information and wonderful paintings and photographs.
I am sure many of you will relate to this. So I have decided to take a book a week, read and enjoy it, and pass my information on to you. I certainly have books for everyone.
The first book in this series I would like to share is very scientifically botanical. But remember, in the many weeks to come, there will be a book to whet everyone's appetite.


by Lizabeth Leech


A member of the Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Society (HCPFS), Lizabeth Leech is also a botanist and a renowned botanical artist.
This user-friendly book has over 350 informative photographs, paintings and line drawings by both Lizabeth and members of the HCPFS and is an accessible introduction to the wonderful world of plants. It was written in response to students and artists' questions regarding botanical aspects of various subjects, in order to confidently produce a botanically accurate painting.
Malus domestica 'Discovery' apple - Beth Phillip
Chapter 5 - Fruits and Seeds
Flowers, fruits, seeds, roots, stems and carnivorous plants, as well as cacti and succulents, cone bearing trees, ferns, mosses, fungi and lichen are some of the chapters covered.
The book includes Helpsheets for most plant groups, helping the artist recognise and develop their observational skills. It is also a guide to plant identification and recognising their important and unique features by understanding their structure.
It is targeted to anyone interested in plants and flowers and those wishing to draw and paint them, by marrying technical accuracy with aesthetical representation.
The chapter of Topics of Interest incorporates the correct botanical Latin names, choosing a typical representative specimen, keeping the specimen in good condition, photographic information and much more.
This fascinating book would be a valuable tool in any botanical artist's collection. 

  • Published by Crowood Press, Marlborough, Wiltshire UK. The Australian distributors are Peribo Pty Ltd, Mt Kuring-gai, NSW.

As I look over shelf after shelf of books, I am quite excited about what I will choose for next week's review. It will have a botanical flavour, but will be very, very different and will appeal to a much larger audience. Have I whetted your appetite?

Wednesday 10 April 2013

A-Z of Pen and Wash Sketching

My latest article for Artist's Back to Basics magazine has just been published in the latest edition.
It is six pages of "The A-Z of Pen & Wash Sketching".
I have an article published in this magazine every quarterly issue - everything from removing paint spots on watercolour paper to using a light source and how to achieve three dimensionality on a two dimensional surface. It is a great magazine for "taking you back to basics".
Page 1 (of 6)

Sunday 7 April 2013

Botanica Exhibition

I have taken my 5 paintings into the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens for their annual exhibition opening to the public on Saturday 13th April. This is Sydney's major botanical art exhibition.
I was very pleased with the framing which totally enhanced my two framed paintings. The Art Scene in West Ryde (Sydney) has as usual done superb work. I do not go anywhere else for framing, as  I have tried some local framers with very disappointing results. There is no comparison with exhibiting a painting with a custom frame, and that of a ready made (for the masses) frames.
I finished off three unframed paintings which can be sold together or separately, as they are A4 size, which is a size that is quick and easy to finish - although don't pack the punch of larger paintings, which make a real statement on the walls.
I have begun work on a large banksia painting, so will post some images of that soon.
Hakea baxteri (unframed)

Grevillea baxteri (unframed)