Painting Workshops, Botanical, Natural History, Bird and Bee Illustration

Painting Workshops – Botanical, Natural History, Bird and Bee Illustration – Queensland

our Workshop Focal Subjects


3 DAYS – SMALL BIRD ILLUSTRATION – Scarlet Honeyeaters, Male and Female

Well, its time to pack my bags and hit the road north once more, all set for 3 back to back painting workshops in sunny Queensland. Who can believe its upon us already! Hosted by Bienarté, as I usually am when in the Brissy area, I am so excited for these events. The first is in a new studio space on the Sunshine Coast, enjoying a deep dive into small bird illustration, Scarlet Honeyeaters our stunning focus this time.

I have been so blessed for this workshop, collaborating with two new photographers who have helped me out with some really awesome reference images we will be working from. The male Scarlet Honeyeater we will be working with comes thanks to Marj Kibby, a fellow Coastie, whilst the absolutely gorgeous female reference comes with thanks to Chris Morecroft Without this kind of support, our workshops, work and experience just wouldnt be the same so when I say thank you, I really mean it from the heart. I now have the opportunity to enjoy these stunning reference materials with my students, to explore and reexpress them in a whole new way, whilst continuing my own efforts to share my own knowledge and love of bird illustration…. and I get to share the beautiful work of these photographers with you all too, so with that under my wing, I am SO looking forward to jumping into this painting workshop!





Our other 3 day focus is on BEE ILLUSTRATION, a definite dry brush challenge for my students to tackle, perfect for those who are detail oriented. Dry brushing is very hard to do, certainly to do well. Its hard to teach online because of the extent of fine detail, and with very few able to pass on thorough knowledge of this sort of highly detailed illustration work, I wanted to offer a face to face painting workshop to really be able to get into the nitty gritty of detailed work, its very real challenges and even realer delights. This is definitely one for learning how to detail, and might I suggest even moreso, its to learn about patience, 2 crafts worth the learning. Those who can surrender to it are rewarded well, producing emotionally satisfying, mentally stimulating, physically meditative, beautiful work for their redirection and efforts.

I am looking forward to the challenge of this event and believe my students are set for plenty of learning over the 3 days. We will be exploring a honey bee this time, a most beautiful starting point for the art of bee illustration. So with all the preparation done, I am ready to set off for the 9, maybe 10 hour drive to see you all. Its going to be a wonderful week or two ahead so ill see you there if youre a student this time, or ill be back here with the unfoldings and workshop progress for everyone else afar. Dont forget if you are afar and want to learn, you can join me in my online painting tutorials


Sunshine coast small birds workshop

The drive up here has been long, of course, but it has been so full of fun and beauty too, its hard to feel like its a chore! Catching up with such good friends and so many of my favourite places along the way, Ive travelled about 1000kms to get here, crossed the border and made my way to the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains area here on the Sunshine Coast… my birthplace. Its 26 years since Ive come this far north of Brisbane but the memories of my early years are as strong as ever here. Lush gardens, plenty of sunshine, that muggy tropical climate, an ease in the air… bare feet, not much clothing, fabulous plants and flowers, tropical fruit trees lining the roadsides baring enough food to keep you going each day… just as it was when we were little. Of course those were the days before dreadful overpopulation and the dreaded fruit fly set in, but it still has its magic. Its nice to be back. Ive settled in to my little home amongst the lily ponds and gardens here nicely, slept well, and its time to head off to our first day of our Small Bird Painting Workshop with Bienarté.

Here we worked from a super sweet image from Chris Morecroft who kindly allowed me to knowledge share with his image. Some of my students have painted a little before, some in other mediums and some have never painted before so to kick things off we played with the female scarlet honeyeater, just to get an initial feel for the medium, materials and this painting style. Although we didnt necessarily complete the female in class, it certainly served us well as the groundwork, a solid introduction to the work, and when you look at the male studies below the improvement is clear and quite remarkable. Of course the male was wildly more challenging to render too. Over just 3 days I saw people slowing down without guilt, hands steadying, breath calming, and the growth was constant and clear to see. My students departed with plenty of food for thought to chew on, practical strategies to work by and new knowledge in hand. Its a great starting place thats for sure…. whats more, they all left smiling too, so thats a lovely wrap to any event in my book!

In putting this collection together of my students results, I realise I am missing some pieces with some of us running off before I managed to capture the final images. I do apologise profusely for that… But here are the ones I did manage to grab in time. Over the three days we covered many aspects of small bird illustration, my work processes and approaches, materials, and watercolour painting techniques I use to create my own work. I feel like this has equipped my students well for the next chapter of their creative pursuits and growth. I saw such wonderful work from every one of you with attitudes and openness to match. It was a genuine pleasure to work with you all! Thank you for your focus and positivity, and for coming along to make this the wonderful experience it was for us all.



its time for the next painting workshop here in brisbane

Our second painting workshop focusses on BEE ILLUSTRATION, so getting even more involved than the last as we start splitting the hairs into dry brush and fine detailing. Theres a lot to learn. Im really looking forward to the deep dive ahead, and its the first time Ive offered a workshop that goes into this extent of challenge. But by request, we are taking on the challenge with a full class of students ready to learn all about it over the next 3 days. I am here in Brisbane now in readiness of course, recovering from an 8km walk exploring the city in temperatures that hit 30 degrees by my return. A new day in a new city and of course i spent half of it wandering the wonderful fruit, vege and flower markets so full of life, colour and variety! What kind of a tourist am I hey? I guess I just love what I love and Im always going to get caught up in feasts for the eyes. In any case, Im here by Bienartés wonderful studio space ready for the start of this exciting new event. Il lbe back tomorrow with the progress

So here is a collection of my wonderful students works from my BEE ILLUSTRATION painting workshop in progress. This is the most challenging workshop I have held, by request, and my students certainly rose to the occasion! Slowing down, taking on all the information I offered, putting the steps into place for themselves, they learnt a lot about the finer side of detailing and working with highly rendered, tricky subjects as this bee presented. Texture, fur, translucency, colour, watercolour painting techniques and mostly, varying degrees of dry brushing to achieve some pretty remarkable results. I saw a lot of perseverance and growth from each and every student as they worked through the task at hand. Two of my students have never painted before and yet they too, created some awesome results for their efforts. So much of this experience will continue grow and develop with them with every future painting effort, coming away with a whole swag of new knowledge to process from this event. Id like to thank everyone who came along and dived in the deep end with me, for your efforts and again, your positivity and openness to learning and trying! Amazing work and well done.


If youd like to join me in a face to face event over 2023, I have just a handful remaining available so head over to my years WORKSHOP blog post for more info and links to book. Ill be on the Gold Coast and Newcastle mid year.