Monday, November 4, 2019

Jewels All Around Us

September and October in Australia were wonderful months to be adventure sketching. I managed to make a few interesting hiking trips with my sketchbook in hand.  But to be honest, I don't need to go far to find an extraordinary wealth of unique subjects.

The key with nature and adventure sketching is to focus on the things that catch your attention. That changes regularly, so when you let yourself get lost in the environment, without restrictions or expectations, you produce an amazing array of memories.

This month I have been prepping for some upcoming workshops and have been trying to finish some botanical paintings that were started too long ago.  But despite this, my nature sketchbook is growing with all the discoveries I'm making around the Noosa Shire and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia.

If you're in this area in November, I have a choice of two three hour Nature Sketching workshops that you can join me in.  Both are almost sold out, with only two places left on Wednesday, 13th November, and three places left on Saturday, 23rd November. Children are welcome when accompanied by an adult.  For more info click here.

Have a great week. xx

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Sketching Habit

Many people think they have no creative talent, or can't draw at all.  I say Rubbish!!

Everyone has creativity in them.  They are born with it, and as time goes on, their talent gets entangled with fear.

As adults, a creative practice helps us centre ourselves mentally and emotionally, and the feeling of achievement when we spend time drawing or painting is paramount to our positive outlook.

The ability to draw or paint is not based in skill, it's based in practice.  And all we need to do to step onto a creative path, is start.

But many people also lack purpose.  I know I did. Which is why I evolved my art through my love of travel and nature. Combing these things with a sketchbook and pen completely changed my life. And, it can change yours too.

Sometimes all we need is the right opportunity.  Which is why I am offering two opportunities for your to launch your own sketching and journaling habit.

And if you have children in your life, giving them this experience will change their lives too...and the world for the better.

Join me on my Nature Sketching workshop on November 13 in Noosa Australia, or bring your kids and grandkids on November 23.  Class sizes will be kept small so you get plenty of space and instruction.

Learn basic sketching and observation skills, and the art of keeping a Nature Journal. These classes are for beginners and experienced sketchers alike.

To learn more, click here.

I hope to see you there.

Hugs xx

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Children & Nature Sketching

In my extensive research and humble experience, there is no greater gift than to give a child the experience of nature.  Today, more than ever, we face huge challenges in environmental destruction and climate change.

With all the science and knowledge we have available to us, it baffles me why we as a species are not making the sweeping and urgent changes necessary to save our world for its inhabitants, present and future.

In my opinion, this comes from two main areas; the pursuit of money, and total ignorance or denial. But those of us who care, and there is a lot of us, there's a lot we can do to change the way we live.  Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle and Repurchase (never buy new).  This is the philosophy in my house, and with the declining in basic household prosperity, it's partially driven by finance--or a lack thereof.

In my world, there is a strong focus on Nature Sketching & Journaling. Whatever your passion, this is a powerful way to bring awareness to the natural world around us. And we have a responsibility to to not only teach our children about the importance and beauty of the environment, but we have have an even bigger responsibility to give them those experiences.  To give them purpose.

Childhood is the time of imprint. Opinions, beliefs, memories and decisions are all based on what we as parents teach them, what experiences we give them is profound to shaping them as responsible, caring adults.

There are so many reasons why starting and sharing a nature sketching habit with your children is important.  Purpose, expression, awareness, skill, passion, creativity, development, relationship, mental health--the list goes on.

Over the years, as I have been developing my own artistic skill, I have always been driven by passion. Like everything, passion waxes and wanes, but nature journaling has added a new dimension to my purpose.  And sharing it with my children, and with your children is my way of giving back.

There are so many great naturalists and scientists who are developing their own nature journaling and sketching passion, and that's a wonderful thing.  But it's time we developed this passion and love in the next generation.

Whether they are artists, or outdoor kids, giving them the experience of nature journaling in the field, or in your own backyard, and encouraging it through an ongoing practice is one of the best gifts a parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend can give them.

My two November Nature Journaling classes are designed for adult and child alike. So if you're in the Noosa area on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, and would like to spend a morning learning and experiencing Nature Sketching & Journaling with me, why don't you join me. And if you have a child 9 years or older, why don't you give this class as gift to them as well.  (All children must be accompanied by a paying adult).

To learn more, click here.

I hope to see you there.  Hugs xx

Friday, October 25, 2019

Slow Down

Writers, naturalists, scientists, and artists alike use journals and sketchbooks to preserve what they have seen, done, experienced. A journal, for many, is the most important tool they possess.

Hi everyone. I know it's been a very very long time since I posted, and so much has happened. I'm now living permanently back in my homeland, and loving it. My family and I moved back here earlier this year and we're super happy.  I live in the most beautiful place on earth and it is so inspiring.  I've been working on a new field of art, scientific and natural illustration.  It feels wonderful to using my skills and creativity in such a meaningful way.

Nature has become my permanent muse. It always has been really, but it's taken my awhile to develop my skills and my comfort level.

When I open my eyes to nature, I truly understand the beauty that is all around me.  The very act of recording what I see in my sketchbook, infuses my memories with permanence, and enables me to see clearly. The extraordinary world of nature has so many surprises, when I stop long enough to observe, absorb, and immortalise them in ink and colour.

Keeping a nature sketchbook is the best way for me to discover and remember the uniqueness of the natural world. The conscious act of observing and sketching slows me down and makes m e stop, sit, look, and breathe. Giving me back a sense of 'now', grounding me in the 'environment', and enabling me to see that which I have never truly seen before.

It is such a beautiful experience, that I have decided to offer an open air workshop that introduces you to this extraordinary practice.

Join me for one of two, three-hour workshops exploring the world of nature sketching and drawing.

Held at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, This introductory Nature Sketching experience offers a beautiful morning of tuition, creativity and exploration with like minded individuals. Children 9 years and older are welcome to join, but must be accompanied by a participating adult.

Learn the basics of keeping a nature sketchbook while experiencing nature at her very best.  Whether you're holidaying in Noosa, or are a seasoned local, come and learn the art of Nature Sketching with me.

Wednesday, 13th November, 2019. 9am - Noon @ Wallace Park, Noosaville


Saturday, 23rd November, 2019. 9am - Noon @ Wallace Park, Noosaville


You can bring your own materials if you have them, or you can purchase materials from OXLADES AT NOOSA.
Oxlades Art Supplies - Noosa
28 Eenie Creek Road
Noosaville QLD 4566

Phone: +61 (07) 5474 1046
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm & Saturday 09:00am - 1:00pm

Minimum Essential Materials:
  • A5 Sketchbook.  (I recommend Stillman & Birn - Epsilon or Alpha)
  • Graphite sketching pencils. (I recommend Faber-Castell 9000 in HB or 2B)
  • Eraser 
  • Sharpener
  • Pigment Liner Pens - (I recommend Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens in Fine and Extra Fine)
  • Watercolour Pencils (I recommend Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils Set of 12 minimum)
  • Refillable Water Brush (Barrel of brush is filled with water)

Other essential items:
  • Small portable chair, Towel or blanket to sit on.
  • Sunscreen & Sun hat
  • Bug spray - Absolutely essential
  • Water bottle & snacks
  • Small cloth or towel for cleaning your water brush

Optional but highly recommended:
  • Small tape measure (sewing type)
  • Magnifying glass 
  • Binoculars
  • Disposable gloves for touching and exploring 
  • Plastic bag for specimens
  • Camera
  • Umbrella for keeping the sun or rain off
You will also need a good backpack or bag for all your equipment. Make sure it is easy to carry. We will not be walking far in this workshop, but we will be moving around in natural areas and on uneven ground, so comfortable clothes, good shoes, and long pants are highly recommended.


  • Nature Sketching--the 'what', 'why' and 'how'
  • Deepening observation and focusing awareness
  • Organising your page - data, lists, and visual thinking
  • The process of drawing and sketching
  • Form versus likeness
  • Blocking, shaping, and bounding
  • Value, shadow, and negative spaces
  • Colour and composition


  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 9am - Noon - Wallace Park Precinct. Meet between the Noosa Library and the Noosa Leisure centre. 7 Wallace Drive, Noosaville, Queensland, Australia. 
    • Adults $75, Children (15 and Under) $55

  • Saturday, November 23, 2019 - 9am - Noon - Wallace Park Precinct. Meet between the Noosa Library and the Noosa Leisure centre. 7 Wallace Drive, Noosaville, Queensland, Australia. 
    • Adults $75, Children (15 and Under) $55

Friday, February 17, 2017

They're Still The Best

It's been a couple of years now, and I'm still using Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks.  Not for any other reason than they are still the best books you can get.

In the chaos of my busy life, I still paint, sketch, and play in a sketchbook at least once, usually two or three times a day.  At every tiny opportunity I take the time to explore and refine my skills.  And trust me, there are many pages I want to rip out, but I just turn the page instead.

I keep a stock standard of four S&B sketchbooks on hand at any time. The Epsilon (pictured above) is my go to on a daily basis.  The Zeta is my preferred book for watercolor illustration and botanical exploration. The Alpha is my daily journal and the place I capture those moments in life, and the Beta is my preparation sketchbook.  It's the Beta I keep color notes and swatches, test pages for larger paintings, and sample or trial pages for botanical works.

And the best thing...the prices are comparable, if not better than anything else around.  It's pure value for money.

Anyway, there's no compensation, not product in kinds, in fact S&B don't even know I'm posting about their book.  It's just in the spirit of great quality art supplies that are true value for money.  And I think we all need a little more of that these days.

Everything you see here was done in a Stillman & Birn Sketchbook.

Have a beautiful week and thanks for checking in.

 Hugs xx