“Landscape Warming Deconstructed”

60 x 80 cms

Luminance, Supracolor & Museum Aquarelle pencils on Canson pastel board.

Own reference & imagination.

‘The visual and performing arts aren’t just about what you see, it’s also about your emotional response to an image, a performance or a sound. What we are confronted with can often be layered with meanings and innuendos. We can interpret something in a completely different way than its original intention. Examples of visual art are guilty on all counts. Art is an illusion, a journey into one’s imagination that often triggers memories, both good and bad. Art is a wonderful escape from the harsh realities of the world we live in. It’s also a reminder of who we are, where we live and what’s happening around us.

I’m interested in the environment, particularly the changes that have been happening lately at an all-too-increasing rate. Here in Australia, particularly where I live, it’s getting hotter and drier. Almost all of the state of New South Wales is in drought. The landscape is suffering and the people (particularly the farmers and their families) are also suffering. When will this drought end? Why is it occurring? I don’t have the answer, but I’m convinced that climate change has a lot to do with it.

For several years I have been working on the impact of climate change as one of the themes in my artwork. You can see my latest work on my newly developed second website:

My featured work, “Landscape Warming Deconstructed”, takes a very different look at our sunbaked landscape. This drawing is both a puzzle, a variation on jigsaws, in this case it can be arranged a several ways. On this occasion it’s arranged in such a way as to give a reverse impact to the agony of a suffering landscape. I’ve taken an image that in its original form would be stark, barren and ‘dry’ and made it look ‘more engaging’. This drawing is a deliberate attempt to hide the pain of a scorched landscape. The colour palette is ‘warm’, but at the same time easy on the eye. I want people to enjoy the drawing then reflect on the impact that our climate is having on our landscape. This will be very pertinent to people living in Australia. Are we too complacent about the impact of climate change? Our politicians are struggling to provide us with any real answers and it’s time they seriously addressed this issue.

I have just finished the plan for my next drawing, “New South Wales Dry”. This will have a very different colour palette and will resonate with those living in Western New South Wales. It’s time to show what’s really happening out there!

It’s time we had some rain!


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“Hyland’s Flat Deconstructed”.

60 x 80 cms

Luminance & Museum Aquarelle pencils on Canson pastel board. Own reference.

Artist’s Statement: Situated just south of Conara, Hyland’s Flat is a tiny, barren plateau, often devoid of grass and the victim of harsh, extreme weather that this part of the Midlands experiences. Its only saving grace (visually) are 8 conifers that were planted last century and still survive despite their harsh surroundings. When viewed, this landscape has little to offer, but when analysed, assessed and re-arranged, it becomes a tapestry of greater visual appeal and has a character of its own. This ‘deconstruction’ has given me a new insight regarding the plateau, especially in recognizing the colours, patterns and shapes that exist on a small scale despite being diminished by the scale of barrenness that is evident. First impressions are not always the ‘real picture’.

It was an honour to be a finalist (for the third time) in the $20,000 Bay of Fires Art Prize in Tasmania, Australia. My coloured pencil drawing is one in a series that I’ve been working on for 4 years that’s focused on a small plateau in Tasmania’s Midlands region known as Hyland’s Flat. It’s a barren, bleak place, eroded, scarred and except for 8 defiant conifers, it has nothing really to offer. Why then, am I interested in such a place? I’m fascinated how such places survive. This area of land is stoic, defiant (along with the conifers), tough and enduring. In a way it’s inspirational. It takes everything  Mother Nature throws at it. Wow!


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“Autumn Sticks and Stones”

19 x 27.7 cms

Supracolor pencils and Archival Ink Pen on 200 gsm paper.

Own reference from Drawing 31 of Not Your Average Adult Colouring Book 2.

I’m a member of a number of coloured pencil groups on social media worldwide and I take the opportunity to share my drawings on their sites whenever I can. Many of my posts show my drawings as ‘works in progress’. I’m happy to share each drawing’s creation in stages and by the positive response I’ve received I know that my efforts are worthwhile and even helpful especially for those who are beginners in coloured pencil drawing.

Every group has a set of rules regarding the posting of art work and rightly so, but one rule that appears regularly bans any examples of adult colouring. To a certain extent I actually agree, but what about the examples from tutorials that often appear? Tutorials are fine because they are teaching programs and are extremely helpful for beginners, but they are subject to a set of guidelines and usually demand a pre-determined outcome, the latter also applying to adult colouring books.

There is a dislike for adult colouring books with many professional and amateur coloured pencil artists worldwide. I suspect this is due to the fact that the drawings published are usually self-explanatory, simply requiring the addition of a coloured medium. This is true of most adult colouring books, but not mine! In fact, my books are a reaction to the majority of publications, most of which I find lack any real challenge. I realize there is a market for such books, but I want to challenge people to interpret my drawings THEIR OWN WAY. If the drawing controls how you colour it, how can you hope for a result that reflects something about yourself? Colouring books are supposedly therapeutic (some certainly aren’t!). Both my books certainly are and in fact, extracts have been used by students in a school for the deaf and in an aged care facility, both in Tasmania (Australia) with extremely pleasing results.

My second book is due for release online next month. Instead of having a printed and bound publication, as was the case with my first book, I’m asking everyone to select their 18 favourite drawings from a catalogue of 40 (more will be added from time to time). Once an order is placed (via email) you will be sent a clear plastic 20 page folder with a cover page along with instructions and some spare sheets of drawing paper for colour testing along with the drawings you have chosen. You may choose more than one copy of a particular drawing if you wish.

My second book has already received some ‘test driving’ (in a workshop), with very pleasing results. I encourage beginners, amateurs and experienced coloured pencil artists to check out my drawing index on my YOU ADD COLOUR site on Facebook after July 1st.

I have included an example (Drawing 31 from my second book) as today’s featured artwork. This is how I ‘see’ this drawing. How would you colour it?

As it’s in the category of adult colouring, should this drawing appear on coloured pencil groups on social media? I realize that I’m the creator of this drawing, but this is a copy, not the original. What do you think?


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“Summer Landmarks”

60 x 80 cms

Luminance, Museum Aquarelle, Supracolor coloured pencils

& archival pen on Canson pastel board.

Own reference & Imagination

One of my favourite subjects is the Midlands area of Tasmania (Australia), in particular, Hyland’s Flat, a small plateau-like area of land just south of Conara. It’s dry, barren and bleak, save for 8, 60+ year-old conifers that continue to defy the harsh, unfriendly climate.

Lately, I’ve been pursuing the theme of climate change on the Tasmanian landscape, looking at the possible impact that a change in climate could have. This theme led to ‘seasonal changes’ in the climate, resulting in a number of coloured pencil drawings.

I was keen to look at the impact of climate change, mark-making and the season of Summer on Hyland’s Flat in the one drawing, so I decided to produce a ‘study’ (a practice piece) on a 30 x 40 cm birch panel. This turned out to be a good investment of time with the bonus of a finished drawing. Such studies are an excellent way to trial colours and various compositions to get a small glimpse on how a much larger piece would work. I was concerned that the composition would not be ‘busy’ enough, if drawn on a larger scale and this become evident with the wood panel. Although I was pleased with the outcome, I needed to add more detail to the larger version and to introduce some new colours.

“Summer Landmarks” (Study)

Luminance and Museum Aquarelle coloured pencils & archival pen on Birch Panel.

Own reference & Imagination

Summary: two drawings, one small, one large; the same subject with some noticeable differences, especially in detail and colour palette, as well as changes in the composition.

I enjoyed the process and the opportunity to see my idea in miniature before attempting a much grander piece. I wasn’t sure if my idea was worth the time and effort on a larger scale. The ‘study’ gave me the answer.


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As Good as a Holiday

“Not a Neglected Landscape” (Lake St. Clair, Tasmania, Australia)

Gouache & Archival pen on Canvas, 81 x 106 cms.

I have been very productive so far this year, consistently completing 2 drawings each week, resulting in a large collection of coloured pencil work (and the need to buy more folders to store them).

A couple of weeks ago, with the release of my second adult colouring book looming, I though that it’s about time I put down the pencils and picked up a pen to complete my target of 40 (A4-size) drawings and have them scanned and ready for printing. I reached my goal last Monday and even managed to complete an extra 2!

Working in black and white has been a refreshing break, but it also opened another door, this time in the form of gouache paint, a long time favourite of mine. I decided that some of my line studies deserved to be seen in colour, but not coloured pencil this time. I needed to pick up a brush again and I remembered how much I enjoyed painting before we left Tasmania 2 years ago. It’s early days, but I’m pleased with my progress. I’m not sure where this will take me, but the journey thus far has been very satisfying!

There are times when I feel far more ‘at home’ with a pen than a coloured pencil or a paint brush. I began drawing with a pen a long time ago and I think this ‘return’ has ignited my interest in mark making.

I’m currently working on my 14thline drawing, all of which I hope to offer for sale in an online exhibition. They are all part of my ‘neglected landscapes’ series that I have been working on for a number of years; the landscapes we walk on, but rarely take the time to  stop and look down to admire what humbly lies at our feet. I have a never-ending list of subjects to draw, so I expect that I will have enough to keep myself busy for a while!














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Crowdy Cairns

“Silent Stones, Crowdy Bay”

80 x 60 cms

Luminance & Supracolor pencils on Canson pastel board.

My own reference & imagination.

This is not a post concerning the population of Cairns (Australia), instead, it’s about my fascination for rock cairns, especially those that I’ve seen during my travels throughout Australia.

A cairn is a deliberate structure made from various sized stones laid on top of each other one at a time. One must choose the right size and shaped stone to use in order to maintain the structure and balance of the cairn.

Cairns have been used from prehistoric times to the present day for a variety of purposes such as landmarks, burial sites, relating to astronomy, trail markers and sculptural reminders left by visiting tourists.

About 80 klms south of Port Macquarie lies Crowdy Beach where there are a number of cairns very close to the beach. They have inspired my latest drawings, both for my forthcoming adult colouring book (edition 2) and my folio of coloured pencil drawings.

Last week I was part of ArtWalk 2018 at Port Macquarie and I spent close to 4 hours working on the drawing featured at the top of this post. It ‘drew’ a great deal of positive comment and following its completion yesterday, has been added to my art shop on Redbubble:

I have begun a second drawing, this one being more sculptural and three- dimensional. The emphasis here is on the grandeur of the cairns, building from the large stones at the front to the peak of the cairns towering over all below, flanked by hills in the background along with part of the beach and bay.

The ‘sculptural feel’ of these stones is my major source of motivation with this subject, whether it be in solid colour or simple line drawing. These structures are ‘3D jigsaws’ in colour and intriguing patterns when recorded in line.

I have drawn stones ‘seriously’ for over 30 years and find the subject of cairns as good as any that I’ve drawn. When given the opportunity, I like to build my own cairns, then photograph them.  Recording them in one’s sketch book when time permits, is an excellent way of recording what you see at the time and is often quite different to what a camera ‘sees’. I won’t work from other people’s photos or royalty-free images, the only exception being certain commissions. I want to have ownership (and appreciation/experience) over what I’m working on and I want to ‘know’ my subject and (hopefully) understand it. Isn’t that was art is all about?


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Back to Teaching

I haven’t taught an art workshop since my 2-day class in Hobart last October, so it was about time I continued to ‘spread the gospel of coloured pencils’, this time in Port Macquarie. Things have been developing nicely of late teaching-wise. I will be conducting workshops in two locations, Alice in Paperland, where I’ll be working with Prismacolors, and at the Sunset Framing Gallery in the Port Macquarie CBD, where I’ll be offering classes using Caran d’Ache pencils, beginning with Luminance.

I will also be demonstrating my drawing technique with Luminace pencils at the annual Port Macquarie ArtWalk on Thursday April 19th, between 6 – 9 pm. For those who know the area I’ll be working outside Luna Bonita. I’m looking forward to what I understand is an extremely popular event.

I still enjoy art teaching after 46 years. Nowadays it’s a different audience, but the principles are the same; encourage one’s students to discover who they are through their art. Everyone can draw, everyone can paint, it’s just that we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. We are all different, we think and act differently and our art is the same. Art is not about being able to copy a photo exactly as it is, it’s being able to interpret what you ‘see’ and understanding (and valuing) how we see things for ourselves. We are all unique, and my teaching methods are based on the individual, hence my classes encourage an individual response.

Take my class late last month for example. There were 9 participants, unfortunately, another 4 were weren’t able to attend due to flooding ( but they will be attending my next class). There were 3 tasks in the 4-hour lesson.

  1. Experiencing and recording a variety of colours from the Prismacolor range on white and coloured supports.
  2. Colouring a small design using personally selected colours.
  3. Drawing up in proportion, a photo of a rock and rendering it in colour with shade and light in the appropriate places with an emphasis on colour blending. I did not introduce 3D examples of rock due to the time restraint and the fact that this was an introductory workshop.

The results were very encouraging and very individual in approach. I’m looking forward to a more intense program following my second introductory workshop on April 13th.


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