Discover for yourself how easy & enjoyable painting can be !

..... as you come exploring ART materials and ART techniques with me.

01 December 2010


This Year Give someone You love
a Creative Christmas Gift!
to the address of your choice

18 November 2010

ART DVD launch "Welcome to My Garden"

Had a wonderful morning yesterday at the launch of the ART DVD series "Welcome to My Garden"

02 November 2010

DVD launch "Welcome to My Garden"

If you are reading this post then:
to the OFFICIAL LAUNCH of the
4 Disc ART lesson DVD Series
Thursday 18th November 2010
10.30 am at the Gympie Library
Watch a preview of the DVDs
and enjoy a delicious morning tea
entry is FREE

Bookings are essential for catering purposes

RSVP by Friday 12th November 2010
at Gympie Library  ph/ 54 810859

26 September 2010

Welcome to My Garden 4DVD set case and discs artwork

Well it has sure been a fast and furious few weeks since the computer came home from some minor surgery.
 (replacement hard drive)
Everything is back on track now - the master copies are now in the hands of the replicators, so not long now and they will be released!

26 August 2010


This is one of the "Welcome to My Garden" images which didn't end up being featured in the DVD. I am currently working on some written instruction to go with the step-by-step photos while I await the return of my DVD producing computer.

17 August 2010


Last Sunday after church we took the kids to visit Bli Bli Castle. They had a great time dressing up and chasing clues for the treasure hunt. I got some good photos to use for painting reference.
If I  had to describe my daugter in 1 word it would be "party" and she  was delighted to find a Jesters hat for her to wear in the dress up box.
I feel this portrait has captured her personality very well.

10 August 2010


Looks like a really smart bike doesn't it? Well let me tell you "It's not so smart!" Oh sure it's ok on the straight sealed roads, but you take your eyes of the road for 1 second and let it onto the gravel and dirt and it has no idea how to behave what so ever. come my excuses for why the "Welcome to My Garden" DVD is still not available and why I haven't posted in so long.....firstly....after much deliberation and liason with the DVD reproduction company I have decided to produce this series as 4 separate discs (1 for each painting) in the 1 package. This has extended editing time somewhat but that is mostly finished now......secondly.....the computer I use for video editing has died! It was only a very young computer so it has gone back under waranty and I was told - "It can be resurected with some new parts and will be just like a new one. This should take between 2 days to 2 weeks to sort out .....that was 3 weeks ago so far, last week I was told "Should be only another week or so" what does the bike have to do with all this?.....well....not that much really.....except that on the way home from dropping the computer back to the supplier (yes of course a car would have been more practical ) the bike decided to buck me off onto the side of the road..... I got back on and rode it home just to show it I was still boss, but I spent the next week in bed on painkillers and the following week in bed without painkillers and now praise god I am back on a computer..... Unfortunately I still don't have THE computer but hopefully not too much the mean time I will endeavour to at least keep you informed and entertained with some new postings.

31 May 2010

"Welcome to My Garden" DVD case

"Welcome to My Garden" is back on the drawing board (well, the editing computer actually).
The series is now undergoing some minor alterations with some new improved software .
Although this means the production is going to take a little longer, the resulting workshop will be even more user friendly, making the learning process that much more enjoyable.

Here is a preview of what the DVD case will look like.

23 May 2010

First the GOOD NEWS - My first DVD "Welcome to My Garden " is now complete. All the editing is finished. The workshop contains 4 complete step-by-step demonstrations. Each lesson is explained in great detail with obvious "page markers" at the end of each step so that when you are following along at home you will know when to pause the dvd and complete the step. I have simplified each step as much as possible to make the lessons easy enough for complete beginners and children to follow.


Once again I have run into some technical difficulties. The full 4 lesson workshop ended up being over 3 hours  and my computer seems to be having trouble coping with it. Nevertheless.....IT WILL BE PUBLISHED....I'm just not sure how long it will take.

The sponge roses will have to go onto a separate dvd.

11 May 2010

"Welcome to My Garden" is in the finishing stages now. The paintings are all done and I'm on to the final editing and voice overs. Hopefully only another week if there are no more technical difficulties.
The dvd will feature 2 acrylic gardenscapes, 1 watercolour lesson and 1 soft pastel lesson, all complete step-by-step demonstrations  And depending on the final length, I may tag on the sponge rose painting demonstration.
All using just the primaries and white ( except for the pastel I also used a black pastel pencil).

06 May 2010


Follow these simple steps to produce your outline image. I prefer to work out my image on cheap drawing paper then transfer to the water colour paper. This eliminates damaging the good paper with the constant erasures I seem to make. I don't bother with details at this stage, the aim is to establish the positions of the main features.

Transfer your outline drawing to the watercolour paper by tracing onto tracing paper then rubbing the back of the image with the water-soluble graphite pencil. Place the template, graphite side down, in position on the watercolour paper and draw over the image with a biro or stylus. Keep a light touch so as not to engrave the image into the paper.

Using a 4B and 2B water-soluble graphite pencil , shade the darkest areas. The colour spreads once it is wet and can be quite strong so I prefer to start cautiously. Although the graphite CAN still be erased after it has been wet it is still easier to darken than to lighten.


Using a wet no 8 sable round brush blend the graphite. Always consider the direction of the feathers and the shading with your brushstrokes.

Let the piece completely dry then reinforce the darkest areas with the water-soluble graphite pencil. If any areas are too dark they can be lightened with a normal graphite eraser. Alternatively they can be wetted and lifted out with a tissue.

Ensure that the paper is DRY before using an eraser or you will damage it .

Blend again with your damp paintbrush. Highlights can be lifted out with a normal pencil eraser as I have done around the eyes and along the leg. Graphite can be erased from anywhere that you feel your picture has become too dark.

Finally, add the yellow. Keep some variation in the tone. I have used cadmium yellow watercolour here, but watercolour pencil, soft pastel or coloured pencil would be just as effective. Watercolour cannot be removed with the eraser but can be lightened if necessary by rewetting and lifting out with a tissue.

05 May 2010


BIRD BATH watercolour 2nd image

Filmed the painting of this watercolour image today for the dvd "Welcome to My Garden" Not sure yet if this will be the final image or not. Watercolours dry lighter so you are not sure of the exact colour while it is still wet. Now that I study it I feel the statue needs more contrast in it's shading. Oh well there is always tomorrow.

30 April 2010


Here is the final image of the Eastern Yellow Robins in Bouganvillia for the dvd "Welcome to My Garden".  If you compare it to the first 2 images you will see there is a noticable colour change. This is because I decided that I wanted to stick to the limited palette I had used in the acrylic paintings. No problem I thought, I have taught students to mix green and purple with their pastels before. Anyway I did a practice with the butterfly picture. That was all good until I got to the tree trunk....then...O.M.G...I haven't made brown before!! Now what do I do? Compromise and introduce a stick of brown pastel? No time to practice now...I was shooting film and the painting was almost finished! NO! JUST DO IT! Just goes to show.....You CAN mix brown with soft pastel and I think I like it better than the browns on the other versions of the painting!

19 April 2010


Today I have been practicing Magpies to add the finishing touches to the "Welcome to My Garden" paintings. Next time you see me demonstrating a magpie and you think "wow I wish I was gifted to be able to paint them like that" just remember it's not really the gift - practice makes perfect.

15 April 2010


I am working on the pastel robin lesson for the "Welcome to my Garden" dvd today.
This is my 2nd image  I have added a 2nd bird and if you compare it to the previous paining I did last month you'll notice I have altered the background a little. This is due to the fact that I found some footage that I had forgotten I had even taken of the sunlight glowing through the foliage and glistening on the waterdrops. In the previous painting I had been working from imagination and memory - boy was I happy when I actually found I had some reference material.

13 April 2010

Thank God for facebook.....I have discovered that if I concentrate hard enough and hold my tongue just right I can make photo albums and add videos and all fairly quickly. Now Blogger and Youtube, well, that is a bit different. Just when I think I have it all figured out "it" changes. All this trying to keep up with technology is cutting into my painting time. Any way that is probably enough complaining for one morning besides there is a kookaburra outside the kitchen window who has been hopping from one piece of the kids playground equipment to the other and now he is in the closest tree just asking for a he's gone....yes he is back.

11 April 2010


This beautiful Palomino lives on the property next door to me. The neighbours tell me he is 27 years old and was sent to their place to retire. He caught my eye when he first moved there last year and  I took loads of photos of him for painting reference. I love horses and am especially partial to Palominos. Despite his obvious beauty, getting good portrait worthy shots was not an easy task.....Due to his age, he is very docile which makes it difficult to catch him looking interested in anything. I had to sneak up without letting him see me, have my camera already turned on and zoomed, and then jump out from behind the tree or fence post and take the shot before he recognized who I was. I had about 5 seconds of good pose before he would completely lose interest in me and go back to grazing or sleeping. And if that was not challenge enough, his paddock mate was an inquizative youngster who wanted to be the star of the photos and would continually get between me and the palomino.Still perseverance paid off, I just kept going back morning and evening (in the middle of the day the sunlight is too strong for good photos) day after day and after a few weeks I had collected enough shots to give me a reasonlable portfolio.  I just completed this pastel portrait this morning.


This is the last picture I managed to paint from life of my pink roses before the flowers lost their inspirational beauty. The entire painting was executed with a sponge and the same 4 colours as my previous garden paintings. I have taken many photos for future paintings. It rained last night and I took some photos of the wet flower and leaves this morning, all the waterdrops will make for a great subject.


I managed to find time to paint my roses again. This picture was painted in oil like the first one. This time I used a little more artistic license. I wanted more of a boquet effect rather than the pot plant that it actually is. I used the same 4 colours as I have been using for the "Welcome to My Garden" dvd paintings - Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow and a "magentaish" pink.

08 April 2010


I simply HAD TO paint this rose yesterday. It is quite a special plant to me - My Dad grew it from a cutting and gave it to me for my Birthday a few years ago. He passed away last year from cancer so this rose is a great memorial. Anyone who has Roses will know, they change dramatically each day once they start opening so there is no putting off till next week if you want to paint from life. I hope to paint them again tomorrow - there should be 3 full blown flowers then. It's not part of the "Welcome to My Garden" dvd  program but I did film the progress so if it edits okay you may get to view it.

05 April 2010


I know I am supposed to be working on the dvds but it was holidays so I have been practicing my pet portraits instead. I did manage to film a successfull take of the Flowing Fountain painting yesterday so I am back to the grindstone editing the film today. I would love to show you a video preview but I am having a battle getting any videos onto this site since youtube decided to banish the simple transfer video to blog application a few days ago. If you haven't seen the photo yet go to my previous post FLOWING FOUNTAIN.

BRIARD pastel

Milli is a BRIARD who visits my shop regularly. The Briard is an old French sheepdog breed. She is quite big and as you can see very black and very hairy. I found it challenging to portray the vast amount of hair while still retaining the blackness.
I used mainly pastel pencil. I tried some soft pastel on the chest but then decided to remove most of it in favour of the pencils. The hair on her face is more hairy while the fur on the rest of her body is more curly and fluffy.
The purple background is a mixture of a couple of soft pastels. I first did a white background but it was too harsh. She was wearing a purple lead when I took the photo so I opted for this - I think the purple suits her.


This cute little face belongs ot a "Bichon Frise" who visited my shop recently. I forgot to ask for a name when I asked for permission to take some 'photos for my pet protrait painting practice' (try saying that 5 times fast)

I started off with pastel pencils then moved onto soft pastel. I mainly just used a stick of titanium white letting the black paper provide the shading.


This was the first painting I did using a sponge instead of a paintbrush. Actually it was the 2nd original painting that I did after a 20 year break from art. The reason I chose to use a sponge was simply because I was so inexperienced at painting (at art college we were mainly taught drawing with charcoal and pastel, design, history.....never how to actually use a paintbrush) I couldn't manage to get a smooth portrait finish so I cut a piece off a new mop sponge ( it had been sitting in the cupboard because I have a 2 post mop and  accidentally bought a 4 post sponge)
I painted this in 2005. Like I said it was only my second real painting after a 20 year break. When I study it now I see so many mistakes but I will never part with it. The doves are actually glued on real dove feathers and the bible pages are photocopies from 3 different tranlations of Isiah 53.  -Old King James ,New King James and Good News -
The gold writing says "JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS" in Greek Latin and Hebrew. This is what was on the header of Jesus Cross.
I hope one day to paint an entire exhibition of Bible Images.....but for now.....lets get these dvds done.....


JESUS close up


29 March 2010

Charcoal Goanna

Here is a quick video of the steps for the CHARCOAL GOANNA portrait. If you would like to try creating him for yourself there are written instructions in my previous entry CHARCOAL GOANNA

24 March 2010


Here is a little preview of the steps I took in creating the first impression of the "Watercolour Birdbath". The paintings on the dvd "Welcome to My Garden" may vary from these "first impressions".

When I am developing a step-by-step lesson whether for film or a live workshop, I begin with these initial images or first drafts.
Sometimes one practice run is all I need but often I need to repeat the painting or parts of the painting several times before I am satisfied with the sequence of steps.
I aim to establish the most economical use of brushstrokes. This can be very time consuming but it is necessary to produce a seamless final demonstration that will be easy for the student to follow.

FLOWING FOUNTAIN acrylic on sponge

I have just completed my "first draft" of the fountain feature. This was painted entirely with 4 colours and  a dish sponge just like in the archway demonstration video in my previous posting.
The sketch on the easel is not related to the painting on the left. It was an abandoned pastel attempt of the same scene. (Yes I do have abandoned attempts.) I just thought the cat looked so cute under the easel that I couldn't resist putting it in.
By the way, the water wasn't flowing when I painted the fountain. Actually the bowl has a leak and the pump hasn't been turned on in years. But that is why artistic licence is so much better than taking a photo. I did paint it without the water but it looked boring. I'll show you when I get the video done.

23 March 2010

pastel robin in bouganilla photo steps_0001.wmv

This little bird is an Eastern Yellow Robin. It has a very curious nature which makes it such a pleasure to birdwatch and photograph. It is a very frequent visitor to my garden and provides such a lovely contrast to the purple bouganvillia.

acrylic archway steps.wmv

This is the first painting I have actually filmed for the dvd "Welcome to my Garden". I did about 5 takes before I was happy with the results.

18 March 2010


 This charming little birdbath is the feature I have chose as my watercolour lesson for the "Welcome to My Garden" dvd. The actual birdbath has been rendered in watersoluble graphite shaded just like a normal graphite drawing and then disolved with a brush and water giving a wet on dry watercolour effect. This contrasts nicely with the softer background which has been built up woth layers of wet on wet applications. If this sounds a little too technical don't worry. I will explain everything in great detail on the dvd.

17 March 2010


From my kitchen window is the view of my favorite garden. It is the one that I originally designed and planted as my "Cottage Style Garden" when I was going through my " Mad Keen Gardener" phase some years ago. I also created a "Rose Garden" a "Palm/Rainforest Garden" a "Native Australian Garden" a "Chookpen Garden" and a  "Roundabout driveway Garden". I already had an orchard garden and several other smaller nondescript plantings from previous years landscaping.

As I am currently in my "Mad Keen Artist" phase ( or mabye it is just "Mad Artist". I don't know . Is there a difference?) only the hardy and self preserving plants are still thriving.  The "Rose Garden" which was once my favorite (when I had the time and inclination to manicure it sometimes on a daily basis) is sadly no longer an artists inspiration. The "Cottage Garden" however still manages to produce some colourful blooms from time to time and attract a variety of birds and butterflies and  this  is what stirs the desire within me to paint.


So many people have been asking me "When do you think your first dvd will be finished?" and "When will you be starting lessons again?" I'm sure some of you have probably been wondering "Is she really doing anything or does she just want a break?"

Well I thought the best thing to do was to start this blog so I could give you all an insight to what I have been up to and record some evidence that I really have been working towards the end goal of making art lessons even more obtainable and affordable than before.

10 March 2010


This cheeky fellow turned up in my garden as I was shooting film for my upcoming painting lesson dvd which will be titled "Welcome to My Garden".
I couldn't help but shoot some film of him even though he wasn't part of my plan for the video production.I decided however to draw a charcoal portrait of him and record the steps I went through and offer this as a FREE Art lesson for anyone who was interested to try it for themselves.

Firstly I cropped the photo down to the centre of interest. I actually turned my photo and worked on a horizontal format. I did this to make the photos landscape format which fills out your computer screen better, but I also found it more comfortable to work on the picture this way as I had my paper stuck to a wall to make it easier for photographing, and it was very good to be working at a constant height.

I worked out my initial drawing on some “scrap” (water damaged pastel paper), and transferred the image to my “good” paper.
If you are not familiar with this technique here are the steps:
Trace your outline onto tracing paper (or greaseproof lunch wrap)
Rub on the back of the tracing with a light grey pastel.
Place your tracing pastel side down onto your good paper.
Redraw the outlines over your template.
Handy hint: to keep your tracing paper in place hold it down with a few small blobs of blue tack in the corners.

I realize this image is very faint and you probably can’t see the details properly but in real life you can just make them out. This is what you want on your own drawing. Just enough to see where you are going.
The paper I'm working on is 220gsm canson pastel paper  naples yellow in colour. I'm not sure why it appears white in most of the photos. (Need more camera practice I guess)
I find it best with charcoal to work left to right to avoid smudging. If you are left handed you may find it easier to reverse the image to make life easier (or cleaner). The very first thing I did was the eye ball. I then gradually worked outwards. For the eye , nostril and smaller details I worked with the charcoal pencil for the rest I used the extra thick stick of willow charcoal.
Handy hint: if you can’t stand the feel of charcoal in your fingers like me just wrap a folded tissue around the stick .

Add the stripes in with short jagged strokes working your way around the curves rather than drawing in the lines. If you draw in outlines for your stripes it is very difficult if not impossible to stop them from showing through the finished work.

I worked my way down to the shoulder and then concentrated on the stripe pattern of the front leg.
Again, DON’T DRAW THE STRIPES HORIZONTALLY. Instead work in short jagged strokes vertically.
I use the pencil for the claws and finer shadow areas between the fingers, otherwise it is charcoal stick.

Move down the body working around the pale spots. Work mostly with short horizontal and vertical strokes to build up the dark areas.



Add on the back leg and tail and the body is complete. Now stand back and reassess the shading.

The next photo is closest to the actual paper colour

By gently dragging the charcoal across the textured paper you will gain shading with a nice “reptile” finish to it. For the darker areas where you don’t want any light paper showing through, press the charcoal into the paper by rubbing with your finger or a paper stump. (If you use your finger like I did you will need to wash it periodically to keep everything clean)
The longer you look at a picture the more details you will start to notice. I have added some more folds to the skin on the neck here.

Moving onto the tree trunks. The trunk the goanna is holding is smooth new bark. To replicate this your shading edges need to be smooth and blended. Add the shading softly and rub the charcoal into the paper with your finger or stump.

The trunk behind the goanna is also smooth bark but not quite a smooth as the thinner trunk. Allow your shading to be a little bolder on this one. .
The bark on the final trunk is obviously much rougher than the other two. There is much more contrast in the shading here. I wanted the texture to show up without competing with the goanna for attention. To achieve this I started the trunk the same way as the other two by shading and blending then added the darker strokes overtop.

To soften the effect but still maintain the rough look I then erased the highlights with an eraser, working in short strokes with the grain of the bark vertically and diagonally similar to the charcoal strokes. I used a gum eraser for this. You will need to clean your eraser after every couple of strokes. A sheet of textured paper or fine sand paper is good for this.
To add the leaves I turned the picture right way up. I found it easier to work this way as I was no longer referring so much to the photograph for placement. You will notice also that I have not drawn in the leaves as they were but strategically placed them to direct attention back to the main subject.
You will notice if you refer back to the original photo that the goanna was actually well camouflaged . That’s fine when he wants to hide but for a portrait I wanted him to stand out.
This is what Artistic Licence is all about.

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Hi there

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Gympie, QLD, Australia
I love to paint and draw and I often teach to share my passion with others. Currently I am focussing on producing some step-by-step painting lesson dvds.