Wednesday 19 May 2021

Mudgee NSW Sketching Tour

My Mudgee sketching tour also included Ryalstone, Hill End and Sofala. It was a fabulous 4 days/3 nights away in a very beautiful part of NSW. This is the beginning of my sketching tours and they will be (naturally) focused on Australian locations.

Next week I am taking a group to the Northern Territory which will include Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks and Katherine, including a boat trip up Katherine Gorge.

The weather was glorious while away, at least for the first two days, with it much colder of a morning on the last two mornings, with a few clouds around.

Leonie with the tour bus

View at the Blue Mountains

Sketching in the street at Ryalstone

Di Lusso Winery, Mudgee

Some of the group sketching the view at Di Lusso Winery, Mudgee

The Rotunda in Robertson Park, Mudgee

Sketchng the rotunda

The vines and panormatic view at Wirruna Hill Winery

Great Western Store, owner Henry Stuart. another sketching stop

Mudgee clock tower and church

Tours in the Pipeline:
Cairns to Cape Tribulation
Northern Rivers
More country NSW

Thursday 8 April 2021

Painting Nasturtiums

I have always loved nasturtiums. They are such happy and colourful flowers, and I find them very uplifting. Finding them growing across the road from my place, I collected some various colours and leaves and went about the 'botanical process'.

I did a basic line drawing which had various coloured flowers at various stages. It was only an A4 size so was quite different to my contemporary large scale work I have been producing for the past several years.

The drawing was done on tracing paper. I knew I would be changing things as I went along, so it is easy to erase and to add notes. It also gives a strong outline which is easy to see when transferring to watercolour paper.

To ensure I had good balance between the shapes and colours I photocopied the drawing on to 185gsm hotpressed watercolour paper, so I could work on the compositional balance and colours.

On the colour study above, I identified which leaves were front or back and also experimented with various underglazes and overglazes to achieve the glorious luminosity common to many of the nasturtium flowers.

I used masking fluid on the leaves which made the process of painting them much easier.

Before I had reached the final stages, I went to replenish my stock of flowers and leaves, only to find the gardener had dug most of them up, as the flowers were just about finished. No problem, as I had preserved a few flowers, just in case.....

So here is the final painting.  I also videoed the process so the videos will be available once I have finished the editing.

To see more of my tutorial videos, go to  and 'Video Tutorials'.

Happy painting!

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Botanical Art Tutorials

Happy New Year! Let's all hope that life will get back to normal at some stage, or at least allow us to relax. With so many workshops cancelled and most of my art tours postponed, I took advantage of the extra time I had and made some Botanical Art Tutorials, fourteen in all.

It was a big learning curve but just what I needed - a Challenge! So I learned to make and edit the videos myself, so much so, that I am about to use a new and more advanced programme - another challenge.

I have some short videos on Youtube, so have a look. The full videos are accessible on my website Here are a few examples of the available videos to look for on Youtube.

At the beginner of the COVID-19 outbreak, I had just come back from Hobart, so basically have been in isolation since then. I did not want to sit around inactive, and knew I had to keep myself fit. I live in an area with some beautiful old cottages and terraces, so I would walk each morning and photograph them. I also discovered hidden lanes and streets I had not explored. So each morning it was a joy to get out with my camera, explore and take photos.

My goal was to produce a sketchbook of my favourite local buildings. I didn't get as far as I had thought, but the intention was there.  Below is a black pen sketch of the first cottage I am going to video as I work through the various stages, and I begin making a series of  comprehensive Travel Sketching videos, covering all aspects of travel sketching. You can see some of my other sketches on my website:

What have I learned from being isolated during the pandemic?

That life and art may take a slightly different direction.
This is very positive, and it makes you grow by exploring other areas in your life, taking on new challenges, and opening your mind to new ways of doing things, such as some online workshops.

Persevere and keep an open mind. 
When taking on or learning new computer programmes (in my case video making and editing) or even working with new art mediums, such as acrylics instead of watercolour, or instead of working with detailed images, perhaps look at slightly more abstract or contemporary compositions and colour palettes.

Keep fit and healthy.
Exercising by just going for a short walk, building up to longer walks, or doing some exercises to videos on Youtube, and there are plenty to choose from. Not only will this be a new interest for you, but there is a very true saying 'a healthy body makes a healthy mind.' 

You may not feel like getting out and walking, but the hardest part is walking out the door. Have your walking clothes ready the night before, so you dont even have to think about it. I guarantee when you return, the endorphins would have kicked in and you will fabulous - so please that you 'did it'!!!

Explore alternative creative pursuits that you may have been thinking about, but had done nothing, or make a concerted effort to take up again, what you were doing before we had COVID.

Keep safe, healthy and happy.... 

I have some Sydney workshops planned for February and March at WEA. See more information on

I am also taking a sketching group to the beautiful region of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, in May 2021. Details are on my holiday sketching website.