Whats Been Happening? Book Illustration, Workshops, Projects and Other News…

Whats Been Happening? Book Illustration, Workshops, Projects and Other News…

its a bit different but so is 2020!

2020 hey… What a crazy year it has been for us all!! ‘So much has changed, hasn’t it?’ my friend messaged as I started writing this post, my reply simply ‘So much’. Its really just that simple, life for us all has changed.  For better? For worse? I still find myself somewhere between mourning the life I knew and LOVED and the new balance of so many things feeling renewed and simpler too. State of mind? Choice? Optimism or reality…? I dont know. Its odd… but somehow, I find myself enjoying the odd.

With so many things upended in all of our lives this year, we have all been in this strange, collective life shuffle, rearranging our worlds, reconsidering our priorities, adjusting to the shifting landscape of our lives with each new day. I find myself sitting here on a new day coffee in hand, recalling my son saying to me some years ago as he transitioned from a child to a young adult, ‘Mum, if I am being honest, I am afraid of the future. I dont know what that looks like, what will come or how I will learn to manage it – and its scary!’. ‘You know what else you could call that my darling?’ I had said to him as he looked at me desperate for clarity and confidence ‘An adventure!’ He paused and grinned back at me, his face softening with a new perspective. I guess now its time to take my own advice 😊

We cant change the way life serves us some curveballs, but they always come. Keeping a healthy perspective is something we can do. This small internal shift can change how we feel about so many things which leaves us less depleted for the challenges that come. Easier said than done I know all too well. Here, this morning I am thinking of that conversation though, and it makes me smile. In this challenging time, I hope that we can embrace the changes as an adventure, have some trust that with the changes were going through and make the best of things we can. There is also plenty of good that comes with it and with this in mind, Ive started to write about whats next on my drawing board!

Talking about the good, I have seen so many people return to a better balance, myself too, its actually incredible! For me, just being home is so odd! A Spring at home after 10 away traveling..? No travel plans at all? Insane… I have returned to being a homebody after so many years adventuring and blowing in the wind. Its a whole new chapter, but a surprisingly happy one so far thats for sure! I look around me and see flowers and veges in peoples gardens again, pets being walked regularly, time with family units, hiking trails full, cooking, even bread making… exhaling in the lessening of haste, the recollection of creative pursuits as were all reacquainting ourselves with smaller bubbles and a home based life. Things that matter!

So many have jumped in to my online painting tutorials over the past months, to actually start fulfilling those life long desires, hobbies and interests theyve always talked about doing but never had time for. People are trying new things, making new discoveries and many are actually finding even better ways of doing life. Now is the time for so many new things… Its an amazing time, never more perfect for creativity.

For me Ive been lucky amongst it all, working steadily all year. With the cancellation of all of my face to face events, the canning of my many overseas adventures I had planned and all the projects that have been put on hold over the year, Ive wasted no time, jumping on the opportunity to finally return to things I havent had time for in years too!

Whats Been going on
Jacaranda Street Launch

With one long term project JACARANDA STREET launching this month, we celebrate so many things with it, vision, perseverance, adapting, rebirth, beauty and creativity as we go live with this wonderful initiative. Focussed on the spectacular jacarandas of Sydney, its an ongoing project I feel very proud to be a part of and I am looking forward to seeing it grow with us in time. Theres lots to come on this mauve front!

The original jacaranda illustration created for this year

Amongst the many exciting things to unfold on the Jacaranda Street front in recent weeks is our Limoncello! The worlds first purple limoncello, after lots of work and fussing to get it juuuust right, we are very excited to see this roll off the production line, labels going on in mesmerising and satisfying fashion, ready for all to enjoy. Doesnt it look wonderful! With gin and vodka next in line, certainly there will be plenty more news to come on this front.

From artwork to production, labelling and shelves, our purple limencello is hot off the press

New Online Painting Tutorial Release

My new online painting tutorial TOADSTOOLS is the most recent positive thing to emerge from this window, something that was simply not possible just a year ago. Hitting the ‘submit’ button on the 4 month long project just yesterday, my attention shifts fully today to an engaging new venture as I await for the course to go live.


Over November we finally got to play CATCH-UPS on the workshop front, completing our QLD March events at long last. We had a wonderful time in a beautiful little studio space on the NSW border, allowing all my QLD students to come across the border whilst I still couldnt. Thanks to Gillian at Artable Studio who always has the will and the way to make magic happen. Thank you all for your patience as we adjust, adjust and readjust to the new Covid life with a smile. We are so fortunate to have the chance to meet again for such a beautiful week in paradise.

Our 3 day event focussed on the magical blue waterlily, our friend Dave venturing into the murky waters of the the pond to collect the waterlily flowers for us to enjoy, thank you Dave! Sparing Gillian and I from smelling like swamp things was very noble of you, and an upside my students never considered for their noses over the 3 days. Our room was full of the flowers, the aroma and beauty of our gatherings, making the event even better for us all. Great work was produced in such a short space of time and certainly there was lots of learning that came with it.

The other event was a very rare, special occasion teaching small birds for 2 days… such fun! My students did so well learning about a very challenging topic to take on with perseverance, growth and a smile along the way. Thank you all for your efforts, great attitudes and company, it was a pleasure. And with that, my only post covid workshop to take place, 2020 is a wrap for teaching! Hard to believe.

Just remember, if you do want to keep learning, I do have several online painting tutorials available that you may enjoy. At this stage I wont be running events over 2021 though I do have a catch up Tassie event now running in March which is fully booked, and Gillian from Artable and I are discussing the possibilities of holding one more luxury event later in the year so let her know if youd like to go on the waiting list for that. Itll be amazing whatever we do and it will book out very fast no doubt!

A New Fun Collaboration

Another sweet sidenote comes with the creation of some gorgeous cookies, hand made by Outback Treats in Mt Isa. This collaboration has been such fun on my side, creating a series of small, intricate Australian botanical illustrations to adorn Orla’s gorgeous cookies. Goodness knows, I am better at painting than making cookies, but together we made true cookie art! Once again, helping anothers wonderful ideas come to life with my work in some small way, puts a smile on my face! Arent they wonderful? She really does do amazing things with treats so take a minute to check her work out if you can

The New Book Illustration Project Kicks Off

I am consumed… once more! This new project is a complete book illustration and definitely a sidestep in focus for me. In time I will share more with you on this, but its with clients I love working with, its an undertaking I want to put my hand to, and perhaps its just time for a fun change of energy, focus, challenge and pace for me too… so why not! In another time and place a long term project like this would not have been possible for me to consider, but now the time is right and I am feeling very excited about the possibilities and adventure of this project ahead as I jump on into the shallow end of its waters. I feel like there has never been a better time for a long term focus than now and I am ready!

It all started with a small pencil drawing of fanciful pig illustration I created ‘just for fun’ for a client as I sat watching a movie one night at home some years ago now. There was no reason for the illustration at the time, the image simply came to me out of the blue and I thought id be a fun thing to share with my client, the owner of the pig. Its so rare I have time to explore extra ideas in a quiet moment, but this night, my pig character emerged. From there this pig concept has continued to expand, weaving his way into the fibres of so many unforeseen creative ventures that would come. Now comes this series of book illustrations with it… So it really is a wonderful case of ‘from little things, big things grow!’

So much work goes on behind the scenes of these ventures. Its incredible. Bringing your own vision to life is one thing, but making another’s vision come alive is a special kind of magic in itself as Ive said, and I love it. Its a path of challenge, satisfaction, extreme personal and professional growth and discovery that takes you beyond your own space every time. Collaboration is a wonderful thing, to me a privilege earned and an opportunity respected greatly. And so its time to plant new seeds and see where the wind blows us, a new, huuuuge, but fun filled adventure indeed!

After many months of discussion and background work, we are ready to begin. My brief has been handed over to me and my part of the journey now kicks off. Tomorrow, and for many days after, I will continue my search for my reference and start the early stages of developing ideas and characters for the story. There are so many complex ideas cycling endlessly in my ever cluttered but completely organised headspace, and through this I must start to clarify and construct my vision to a tangible end, one step at a time. Translating an idea from someones passionately abstract, creative concepts to a physical outcome that aligns and speaks the same language is NOT a simple task. Not at all… its an exquisite skill, but I am looking forward to making it happen!

I may appear more absent in the coming months, but believe me I am as busy as ever here creating new things every day. Ill be back with more on this in time.