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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Flight of Fantasy

60 x 80 cms

Museum Aquarelle & Luminance coloured pencils on Canson pastel board

Own reference.

I have recently completed a drawing that I started 6 years ago. It was one of those drawings where I had to be ‘in the zone’ because of the nature of its subject and composition. I’m not publishing it as it will be entered for an upcoming art prize. This drawing gave birth to the one featured today (and there have been others). What is of particular note is that today’s drawing is radically different.

I often ‘play’ with images of my completed drawings using different apps. The results are varied, but always interesting. On this occasion my imagination led me to believe that what I was looking at were objects flying across a landscape woven with shapes. Yes, this was an ‘accident’, but without such research it would never have happened. The result is a rather abstract composition with some decipherable landscape objects.

Should artists always paint/draw what they see? What happens if they ‘see’ something different? On such occasions (unfortunately) commercialism rears its ugly head and often such ‘fictional creativity’ is destroyed. Frankly, I’m rarely influenced by the commercial viability of subjects for artwork. That explains why I don’t sell as much work as I would like to. Factual representational art always has a chance of selling. Those of us who walk a different path suffer for being unconventional.


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TV Drawing

L: “Fragile Sentinels R: “Fragile Guardians”

Both A4 in size, Supracolor pencils on Canson Paper, own references.

It’s not uncommon when I’m home to sit in our lounge room after tea and draw while I’m watching television (or is that listen to the tv). After a long day in the studio, drawing with a pen is my way of winding down. How do you wind down at the end of the day?

This is the time of the day when I can explore some of the ideas that have come to me during the day. I usually work with coloured pencils, so a fine line pen (black on white) is a nice change and it enables me to think in line, shape, pattern and composition without the ‘interference’ of colour; that will come later on when the drawings are on my easel in the coming days.

So far this year I have divided my time equally between ‘home and away’, with trips to Batemans Bay, Sydney and Tweed Heads. During this time I’ve gather a good deal of information for a series of drawings for my second adult colouring book, due for release (online) later in the year.

Once I’ve created each drawing I photograph them and ‘clean’ each one on my computer before printing a copy for colouring. I will only print and colour a single edition that will be offered for sale. I have already completed several and to my pleasant surprise 2 have already been claimed and I haven’t advertised!

My first series of drawings focuses on forest floors and is part of my ‘neglected landscape’ series. The second (and current) series was inspired by cairns that I have seen at Crowdy Bay (NSW), Wangetti Beach (Cairns) and Bruny Island (Tasmania). Nearly all are A4 in size, with an A3-size currently on my easel and a few that I have completed on canvas on canvas.

I’m hoping to have an exhibition of this ‘new departure’ in my work maybe next year.

I personally enjoy this type of drawing without colour and find much solace gazing at an image purely in black line on a white background.

No doubt time and further exploration of this theme will (hopefully) realise new directions. Variety is the spice of life!








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“Against the Flow”

80 x 60 cms

Luminance & Museum Aquarelle coloured pencils on Canson Pastel Board

Own references

Happy New Year to Everyone!

On one of my many visits to the Botanical Gardens in Cairns, I noticed a pile of leaves that had gathered in a corner of a small creek. There had been recent rains and although the creek’s flow had subsided, there was still enough water to make for an interesting spectacle of water bathed in sunlight lapping against a small, but defiant collection of leaves. It was a warm, still day with the surrounding forest full of the sounds of insects and birds. The dappled, flickering light caught my attention, especially when it was brought to a ‘halt’ by a collection leaves that had recently formed a substantial barrier on the water’s surface.

I returned to the same location last October to find no water and no leaves!

My fascination for floating objects either drifting or gathered in a backwater has been with me ever since I began trout fishing as a child.

Water can be a difficult subject to draw and taking photos is certainly one way of gathering information. Equally important is simply spending time watching the flow of creeks and rivers. I also practice this with waves, beaches and headlands. Looking, listening and staying silent can teach one a lot about the movement of water.

Let’s not forget the ‘layers’ of water; what can be seen below (submerged or semi-submerged) and what is reflected on the surface. All of these need careful observation and recording. I never take a few photos, I take lots from various angles. You cannot take too many!

Maybe this drawing is also a metaphor for life. Should we stand in the way or should we make a stand?



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Top: “A Tropical Memory” Bottom: “Tropical Leaves”

Both measure 60 x 80 cms, Luminance & Museum Aquarelle pencils on Canson pastel board. Own references.

The latter part of this year saw my work enter a very colourful phase due to the impact of my recent trip to Cairns and in particular, my interview with Cindy Wider. I must admit that my subject choice, the Flecker Botanical Gardens in Cairns, had a lot to do with it.

Never underestimate the power of colour. It can have a profound impact on us, no matter where we are or how we feel at the time. My recent subjects have lifted my spirits somewhat. Bright colours can make one feel good no matter what you’re dealing with at the time.

Looking back over this year’s work and I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished despite moving house from Cairns to Port Macquarie earlier in the year. I’m by no means ‘settled’ and I’m looking forward to our next move (wherever it will be) as we will be finally ‘settling down’ and I’ll have a permanent studio. Yay!

My exhibition for next February in Tasmania, which will also be online, is finished,  framed and ready for dispatching.

Thank you for your support and interest throughout the year. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!


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“A Cavalcade of Colour”

40 x 60 cms

Luminance pencils on Canson pastel board, own reference.

Early in November while I was in Cairns, I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy and Stuart Wider, both highly competent artists and co-founders of (Art Curriculum Designers).Cindy was keen to promote my artwork and this opportunity was too good to miss. It’s great when anyone takes an interest in your work, but it’s ‘special’ when such highly regarded professionals see something that they want to share with their world-wide audience. I invite you to watch the fruits of our most excellent morning together:

Cindy is a professional artist with over 20 years of experience and also one of the internet’s most experienced instructors teaching on-line since 2008. Along with her husband, fellow artist Stuart Wider she is a co-founder of where she presents drawing courses.
Not only does she absolutely love sharing her passion for art with her students, but she is also on a mission to let the world know about similarly passionate artists. That’s where the interview with me comes in. I spent a very pleasant morning showing Cindy around the gardens, a place which I am very familiar with and which has been such a source of inspiration for me.
Cindy’s unique method of teaching students how to draw is known as ‘The Cindy Wider Method’. The course which is based upon Cindy’s method is the The Complete Drawing Certificate Course. Cindy presents her course worldwide online at supported her team of international instructors.
Even before Cindy started teaching online she was presenting her courses in the real world. Before she moved to Far North Queensland (via the UK) Cindy ran the largest private art tuition program on the Sunshine Coast presenting her courses to over 80 students per week.
Cindy has an obvious passion for helping complete beginner artists to get started and with long experience in the real world she has developed a practical understanding of how beginner students really learn to draw. It’s with this empathy and deep understanding that makes Cindy’s in-depth course curriculum (supported by her team of caring and trained art instructors) so successful for her students.
If you are a complete beginner artist looking for a good solid start with drawing, and aim to eventually create your own completely original art, I highly recommend Cindy’s course to you. Interested? Click the link below for more!


Promoting one’s art is something that any committed artist should take if the opportunity arises. The problem is often cost (value for money) or even how to go about it. Effective promotion will see your work being presented to a broader audience that may result in more sales, even commissions. Promotion of one’s work is never easy as it takes time and effort. Artists want to spend the majority of their time in their studios!

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the first step is to create a personal business card. This is an essential requirement if you want people to remember who you are. There are plenty of online options for the design and printing of business cards if you can’t create one yourself.

Social media is the second place to consider. I use Facebook (as myself) and Instagram (as #portmacquarieartist). I’ve had success with the former, but none to date with the latter. I not only post examples of my work, but I include updates as I’m creating them. Blogging is another way of promoting your work, but it’s not for everyone. I’ve been blogging since 2008, with over 1,000,000 hits. It’s a big commitment, but I enjoy it because I like writing about my work and my art philosophy.

My represented gallery ( promotes my work and I’m very pleased with my association with them. Joining art groups on social media as well as in the community can help you promote your work and at least it will expand your audience ‘reach’.

Creating short videos is another way to ‘spread the word’. I have shown a few of my own, but there’s a lot to learn for any forays into professional presentations. It would be great if we could all afford a promotions officer, but that’s not going to happen. Believe in yourself, believe in what you do and go out and make yourself known, but keep on producing your art as well!


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Inside my Head

Blog 01“The Landscapes of My Mind”

60 x 80 cms

Luminance & Museum Aquarelle pencils on Canson pastel board.

We all (most of the time) think and act differently (thank goodness). We come from different backgrounds, different life experiences and different situations. I’m a product of Australia, with Poland and England thrown in for good measure. I class myself as conservative in many ways but when it comes to my creative pursuits I’m anything but. Art gives me a wonderful sense of freedom. As I get older the boundaries once set at Art School seem to be vanishing. I’m becoming radical!

I’m not really sure why I have reached this stage in my life, but I’m certainly enjoying it! For nearly 50 years I have engaged in my aim to create artworks. It’s only since I retired from full-time art teaching (almost 12 years ago) that I began to realize the value of ‘being yourself’ when it came to art.

The pressure to produce ‘sellable’ art is always there for artists who exhibit their work. You make a sale therefore you can afford a frame for your next painting. If you can afford a number of frames, there’s no guarantee of selling all of them and there’s a good chance you’ll start collecting your own artwork by default (I know).

Today’s featured drawing is the second in a series of ‘free-thinking’ artworks. I recently finished and had framed 21 drawings for my exhibition at Gallery Pejean in Launceston (Tasmania, Australia) next February. It was time for a change, something different.

BLOG Mind 01At art school I often painted abstracts but they weren’t (back then) commercially viable. What did I have to lose? My situation today is a lot different, so I thought ‘why not!’ I’m pleased with both the drawings as they were not only enjoyable to create, but they seemed to relax me and I never felt pressured to get a ‘result’. How did I do them?

BLOG Mind 02Looking at details from one’s work in greyscale often results in some interesting tonal variations.

Besides using my imagination, I went back and looked at some of my recent work that happened to have strong colours and shapes. I then chose parts at random and ‘played’ with a composition until I was happy. I wanted parts to ‘jostle’ each other as I wasn’t afraid about the rules of composition. As for the colours I made decisions as I went. The careful, thorough planning I was used to was discarded! The key to this type of work is to only concentrate on a small section at a time. Start anywhere you like, continue anywhere you like. Don’t be in a rush to finish as this type of work doesn’t need completion in one sitting (or standing).  Be patient. Be brave.

Don’t worry be happy!


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