Colouring book…designed by young people in art class

With adult colouring books all the rage, I thought I would look at designing my own pages, then I thought why not make it an art class activity. We looked at various examples, discussed what we liked and what we didn’t, then set to work… each on their own preferred subject in their own style. All felt the task of designing the pages was harder than colouring the final product.

The works below were created by 9 to 15 year olds (plus mine). I printed  a copy of each page for each participant then stapled a set each with a  blank cover (for them to enhance)  to give them a holiday colouring book. A really interesting activity . Feel free to print your own copy if you wish.

CP book 1

CP book 3


CP book 4


CP book 5


CP book 6


CP book


CP book 7

CP book 2

Winter days in the Studio…. “serious” painting, art play and quirky stuff

Winter is a time of runny noses, colds and ‘flu. But it is also a time to enjoy keeping warm inside, creating artworks without feeling guilty about all the time spent indoors.

I always keep busy creating but don’t photograph and post many of my works. Today I had a quick look around the studio, grabbed my most recent works and the i-pad and got photographing…… outdoors (it was a lovely clear afternoon).

Firstly, I intended to finish this acrylic on canvas………. I have added some of the seaweed but I want more texture in the front.


I have asked a few friends what they think and, as expected, have had a few different responses. I have finally decided to go with what I originally thought (as I tend to do) …. I will add some sand from the location to give authentic texture, in addition to implied texture through spattering, dry brush, scumbling etc.

IMG_0095I take a few classes each week, usually in watercolour, and in the most recent we focused on tone while re-enforcing the importance of timing, and working with increasingly drier paint to achieve strength. We painted a winter snow scene in Sepia…. no other colours to distract….. purely tonal. Aiming for a sense of depth with softer distance and harder, stronger edges to the fore.

I have also been enjoying the colour and flow of dyes on silk, making more of my silk miniatures in a brooch which accompany my hand painted scarves. I have a couple of venues waiting for new stock of these and hope to get on top of putting some online on my handmade shop in the next few weeks. While taking photos of these I finally got around to taking a few pics showing some of the many ways these sets can be worn. I gave up trying to find a suitable willing model and used my dressmaking form and a head form (they were most co-operative). More ideas are posted on my Silk Watercolours blog (listed in my links)

,soft pink purple cool blue bright orange deep pink blue lime IMG_0076IMG_0079

I have been asked by one venue to do some quirky, fun stuff… so that I did and, yes , it was fun. The card is from handmade paper (made at the last workshop I took at a local Tasmanian Regional Arts branch), and beautifully polished pebbles collected from local beaches. These my sister and I love picking up on beach walks when she visits, she takes them back to back to Victoria, tumbles them and posts some back to me for my STONE BIRD card creations. I spend ages playing with these beautifully smooth coloured stones to see what characters I can find.  Very meditative…. oh yes, that new thing “mindfulness”! The little watercolour and ink girl is just for fun…. colour and smiles.

IMG_0094                                              just for fun

Whenever I am in the studio for a few consecutive days I tend to experiment with something new. This time I  explored  a combination of a silk painting background under an encaustic artwork in a pendant. I am happy with the result … soft silk watercolour with the intensity and dimensionality of an abstract encaustic painting suggestive of a network.

IMG_0102 2

And last week I had a call from the local newspaper, The Advocate, asking about a forthcoming workshop I am taking at Tasmanian Regional Arts Sheffield on Making Little Boxes for trinkets, jewellery etc. They needed a pic so I gathered what I could find, made a couple of new boxes, put one of my handmade scarves in one and an encaustic pendant in another and sent them some images to play with (none of me with my red drippy “winter cold” nose and bloodshot eyes!)


If ever I get artist’s block I just reach for a different medium…. my studio has everything at hand……. my most favourite place to relax, work and play. Such is the life af someone addicted to creating.

Sumi e and Suminagashi…expressive art for special needs children

Today I have been practising “mark making” in preparation for a workshop I will be taking with fellow artist, Jan Marinos, with special needs students. We will be getting the youngsters to explore making marks on various oriental papers. We will also introduce them to Japanese marbling… Suminagashi.

The marbling will give colourful patterns which they can overwork, if they so choose, with ink marks. For this marbling (suminagashi) we use Oriental papers such as Hoshu which need no preliminary treatment and have good wet strength. We will introduce participants to grinding their own ink using a solid ink stick and stone in the traditional way. This is a relaxing activity which focuses the mind in preparation for painting. We will then use soft Chinese brushes of various sizes to make expressive marks…. not necessarily the flowers etc which I painted, but more simple, expressive, non-representational,  mark making.

One of my works shown below, which combined Sumi e roses on marbled paper, I made into a fan employing a simple concertina fold method. The Hosho paper is very strong and easy to fold while retaining those folds well . With assistance from their aides, each participant in the Special Education workshop will make a fan. Other works will contribute to a joint mural/assemblage presentation at the final 2 day camp.

.Sumi esumiganashi on oriental papers  sumiganashi and Sumi e fan

Burnie Shines…. Silk fashion and Silk Painting workshops

As part of Burnie Shines annual celebrations in Burnie I have some silk garments in a fashion parade…. Art 2 Wear.
Exciting. One night only. I will post some pics after the event on October 10. Hopefully showing the maodels wearing the garments, if not the items on coathangers (not quite the same).
on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October at Burnie Makers Workshop. Have a go at painting on silk and create a special handmade Christmas gift while enjoying the flow of dyes on silk. If you love colour you will love this.
Click the link for the Sunday workshop details… watercolour technique (put the image in a card or do a slightly larger one to frame.
Busy, busy with Deloraine Craft Fair fast approaching too.

Kids for a Creative Future Project… silk painting

These colourful cards contain silk paintings using the salt technique, done at a small workshop at Eastern Shore Community House, East Devonport, Tasmania today. Lovely people… all co-operative, so involved, very polite …. just loved it. I think it is nice for everyone to go home with a finished product and, as we made badges last time, this time we put the paintings into cards. Most of the children give them to their parents. I just love that parents are so special to them. They are nearly always the first people the youngsters think of when sharing something special. And wouldn’t any parent feel special receiving any of these? ESCH silk workshop Thank you to ESCH for asking me to tutor this session and thank you to TRA for funding this successful project……..Children for a Creative Future.

Paper Mache Mask

Mardi has been coming to my children’s art classes for many years and she is so creative. When the activity was set to make a paper mache mask she, of course, came up with her own character….. that is often the hardest part but Mardi’s work is always totally her own. I love this character with it’s puffy cheeks she built on out of extra scrunched up newspaper. And the slightly “wonky” lips and nose are just perfect to add character. Mardi is also excellent at drawing and pays attention to detail. She will go a long way with her art and I am proud to have been able to share in her development.children's art class

paper mach mask

Children’s Art… Paint on ceramics

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Yesterday I took 2 half day workshops for children at my Forth studio. Participants were each given a purchased ceramic plate (various sizes) on which to paint a design of their choice. Getting started is tough so I talked a little about stimulus materials and had various  resources available. They drew some idea roughs on paper then I talked about and demonstrated how to use the oven cured  paints. These are tricky to work with as they slip and easily lift off the surface, so overworking or “scrubbing” is not good. We used soft brushes and gently applied the colour. Some used a Porcelain 160 pen to outline. Working within a circle rather than a rectangular format is quite different. They took their treasures home with instructions to fire in their home ovens.

(Sorry about the sideways pics… I have rotated them but when they upload many seem to want to revert)

Paint on Cermaics JUNE school holiday art

Due to requests I decide to run a creative workshop for children in the school holidays. This is also suitable for adults as you will create your own design to paint on a plate or mug (which will be supplied but you may bring your own to make sure you have the size/shape you want). Wonderful for parent/child or grandparent/child shared fun.  Oven cured ceramic paints will be supplied. You will have a great personal artwork. The morning session has only one vacancy. (Image included is of a piece painted by Helena in 1997….. age 9). For info click on the following title.

Paint on Ceramics

Silk Painting workshop

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I had such a lovely day with 23 young people (primary school age) at Burnie Regional Art Gallery. I am impressed, as I am sure you will be, with the silk paintings they did. FANTASTIC!!!! We did not use gutta to draw shapes to fill in with colour. Instead I wanted them to Go with the Flow (title of the workshop) using the free flowing dyes in watercolour technique. They handled this well without muddying the colours. It is quite a challenge for young people who generally like an illustrative style. They all understood and I am proud of the way they approached the task and the results obtained. Each child chose one favorite of their 3 small paintings to mount into a card for a professional looking finished product.