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 Thank you for taking the challenge, here is where you will find your monthly art inspiration. Welcome, and enjoy.

 Happy creating  x Natalie 

Bindara Station, The Darling River

Yanga Lake, NSW

Quick sketches

Last year before lockdown, I went on a camping adventure from Albury to Silverton, NSW. We didn't need to travel far to note the beautiful changes in our Australian Landscape. From the lush green fields of the Riverina to the red dust of Broken Hill. Simple sketches are a wonderful reminder of this magical trip. From a 5 minute study to an hour long drawing, we are truly blessed to live in such an amazing country.

The Living Sculptures, Broken Hill

Behind the Luna Crest @ Lake Mungo

Main Camp, Lake Mungo NSW

Thinking of flowers

The cold weather is upon us and I thought it would be fun to dream of imaginary flowers, creating a little light & joy.

I enjoy the exercise of painting imaginary flowers and use this technique when upcycling old book covers for book binding.

This is a painting exercise where you can let your imagination take flight. Once mastered, you can use this technique as foundation work for all sorts of painting story telling.  

                                 Happy creating x Natalie

An imagined garden

for your journal

Please find HERE a printable PDF with this months instructions to follow with the slide shows below.

Below I have included some examples of other ways to use this painting technique. 

City scape 

Country Road

Painted Upcycled , Hand Bound Book Covers

Medley of Mushrooms

As the cooler weather is upon us,  mixing it up between sunny and rainy days... marvellous mushrooms are appearing everywhere. 

Mushrooms and mycelium are an essential part of our planets ecosystem and the life cycle as they recycle nutrients, keeping the forests healthy. Mycelium is the technical term for the cells that make up the root systems of mushrooms. These root systems play a major role with how trees communicate and share information and resources. Not always just what we see on the surface.

Lets begin with a warm up exercise and create a reference for this months art journal inspiration.                         Happy creating xN

The magic of mushrooms

Drawing our reference images to warm up for our journal exercise. Please follow the links for inspiration:  1, 2, 3

Now for this months challenge; A Medley of Mushrooms

This month I thought it might be fun to introduce some texture and dimension to the challenge by the use of collage. Find a selection of different papers, I chose pages from an old readers digest and some brown sketching paper. Rip and glue across this months pages in your journal. Mix them up, no rhyme or reason, it will come together in the end, just trust the process. Please consider your composition when you begin to sketch. I enjoyed grouping different varieties in clusters, bearing in mind the use of colour in the layout. Once you are happy with your layout, fill in the negative space with black ink.

For a splash of colour this month, I have used Inktense pencils and water colour, Added detail with Gel pens. See below for this months tools used

April​ 2020

We are all in this together

As we navigate through this unprecedented time in history, our love & prayers are with everyone who is affected by this difficult challenge. To all the healthcare workers & others who are involved in the frontline, working to contain & eradicate this virus, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts as we pray to keep you safe.

During this time of isolation, as we do our part to help contain the spread of COVID-19; I have been thinking how our perception of this situation could help us all through. 

Perception is the key, lets look at perception & art.   xN


by M C Escher

Perception is the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment.

Perception in art stands for a complex relation between visual stimuli and a personal understanding of them. It is a theoretical postulate that aims to clarify the relation between artworks and individual opinions and evaluations.


by M C Escher

"He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder."                    M C Escher

M C Escher, a master of the use of perception and optical illusion in art once said, “Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" Escher’s clever use of line and shading in his works plays with how we perceive what we think we see. 

Visit Escher's official website HERE

Three Worlds

by M C Escher

"Perception & Illusion", it's all about how you look at it

As I understand it all, perception is how our brain pulls all the information it is given together and tries to make sense of it. Our brain is programmed to fill in the missing information. For example, have you ever read a sentence where all the words appear to be miss spelt but you can read it anyway. As long as the first and last letters are where they should be, the rest of the letters can be in any order. Your brain will sift through the information and there you are. Illusion Art is where an artist will play with what you actually see and what your brain thinks you should see. Below are just a couple of examples.

It can take a moment to see something from someone else's perspective x

What do you see, a rabbit or a duck, a young woman or an older lady?

How many legs does an elephant normally have?

Warm​ up exercises for this months challenge

Please find here links to a printable PDF  with step by step instructions to draw an impossible shape, as shown on the right.

Step 1: Draw a grid of 1cm squares on your paper 

(alternately use grid paper)

Step 2: With a compass draw a couple of circles on the page.       Any where you like.

Step 3: Through the circles, draw vertical lines ½ a cm apart.        Creating vertical rectangle in the circles.

Step 4: For the rest of the page, draw horizontal lines ½ a cm      apart. Creating horizontal rectangle's.

Step 5: Begin to fill in every second horizontal rectangle                creating a checker board effect. Leave the circles at       this time so not to confuse yourself. I like to use black      ink and a small paint brush, but you may use      pencils/texters… anything you like.

Step 6: turn the paper and begin to fill the circles in the same fashion.

Step 7: Print and practice the impossible shapes

-Impossible Shapes-

First step for this inspiration is to paint with watercolour a circle. Don't forget to activate your watercolour, brushes and paper (refer to January's inspiration tips if needed). After your watercolour painting is dry, draw and paint your impossible shapes. When these are dry, add your background of mind bending checker board. I understand this months challenge is very detailed, but I thought with alot of us in isolation, we could be looking for activities to help fill our day. Art is always an excellent tool to help relax the mind and body.

Enjoy this challenge and I look forward to seeing your creations. 

Stay happy and healthy everyone.   xN

As an after note, please forgive my nails in these photos, as I am unable to see my Nail Tech :(

by Christian Dybdal Larsen

by Christian Dybdal Larsen

by Christian Dybdal Larsen

by Christian Dybdal Larsen

Hello Autumn 

"The falling leaves, drift by my window

The autumn leaves, of red and gold

I see your lips, the summer kisses

The sun-burned hands, I used to hold"

Eric Clapton -Autumn Leaves

As we say farewell to summer & the long hot days begin to fade; cooler nights mean a better sleep & the leaves on the trees begin to change. Beautiful shades from gold to crimson. The wind blows & the leaves break free, then they dance along the breeze...

 Autumn has always been my favourite season & a constant inspiration. Walking by the river with a sea of crunchy leaves beneath my feet, I begin searching for the perfect imperfect leaves to collect. The Cockatoos have been busy helping the leaves disconnect from the trees too early, they are lacking the beautiful tones of autumn. 

I gather a sample & head over to the picnic table, it's now time to art.              x Natalie

How to draw a Leaf 

I like to have a leaf to use as a reference. Begin by drawing the centre vein which will extend to become the stem. I then add another 4 veins, 2 on each side

I then stager another 9 veins (forming a triangle) along the centre vein & begin to add the outline, always referring to my reference leaf.

Finish defining the outline of your leaf and commence mapping the vein details, be as specific as you like.

Finish by adding the imperfections, any holes/rips will add interest to your drawing. Shading & directional mark making will help create depth.

Practice composition

-Falling Autumn Leaves-

After our warmup exercises, it’s now time to open your journal and begin your composition for this month’s entry. 

You may like to consider the Golden Rule we talked about last month. I like to use both sides of the page while sketching the layout. 

Watercolour is the perfect medium for this painting. Remember to activate the watercolour paper and paint with water. I only wet one leaf at a time and please be sure to let each layer dry as you add more colour to your painting. 

To finish this work, measure a 1cm border and paint with black ink. Last step is to detail the leaf veins with a white gel pen. 

I hope you have enjoyed this months challenge. Don't forget to send me a picture. 

Happy creating                x Natalie 

Flowers for February

Let us celebrate February , the month of love, with flowers

February Art Challenge is to draw a beautiful bouquet of fantasy flowers. Please don’t feel you have to reproduce exactly what your eyes see, a photo can do that. Let your imagination take flight and create your own flowers without limitation. The most wonderful joy I find in creating art is the freedom to see the world how you choose. Give your inspiration life filled with wonderful colour, or you may choose to create  a bouquet of black and white. There’s no right or wrong. Just have fun.

Happy creating              x Natalie

A good place to start  this challenge is with a blank sheet of paper. Begin by ruling a grid H6 x W5 cm. This helps with order and scale, then with a grey lead pencil begin drawing doodle flowers from your imagination. I then add ink with a .05 black ink micron pen, to define the flowers. Try adding colour to give the flowers some life. I enjoy using Derwent Inktense Pencils. Firstly, colour lightly as you would with a normal pencil, then apply water wash with a watercolour paint brush. I also added watercolour paint, black ink pen (Artline 210 medium 0.6) and gold detail (Pilot Pintor EF Gold) Just remember to let each layer dry before you add the next. You have now created a reference sheet to use when you create your bouquet in your Art Journal.

Now you can open your art journal and begin your composition. Consider the overall balance of the page and is it pleasing to the eye. The Golden Ratio is a natural occurrence we see all around us and is known to subconsciously please us. I often use this phenomenon as a reference when considering my composition - Please use this link if you would like more information.

Begin with your larger flower's placement in pencil. Then add smaller flowers, leaves and detail. Once you are happy with your composition go over your layout with ink. At this stage I like to place paper towel under the pages I am working on to protect the pages below. Then begin to add layers of colour. I thought it would be fun to add a wash of black ink for the background. 

Last step was to go back in with the gold pen and add in all the detail. I love to use line to create movement and depth. 

Have fun with creating your bouquet and please send me a photo.   X Natalie

Welcome 2020 !!!

A new year brings with it endless possibilities, unexpected opportunities, a chance to make new friends and always the potential to learn something new.

I thank you for taking the 2020 art challenge. My intention is to share with you some of my favourite art practices with tips and tricks I have picked up along the way. I understand some of you may be accomplished artists and I thank you for joining in the fun. Others may have limited art experience and feel slightly out of your comfort zone. I would just like to reassure you in my opinion there are no mistakes in art. There are no judgments made here, just the freedom to play, express yourself and try something new.

 The amazing colour wheel and its relationships


The colour wheel or circle of colour shows relationships between colours and how to mix colours.

Primary Colours, Yellow, Red & Blue

Secondary Colours, Orange, Violet & Green

Tertiary Colours, Yellow/Orange, Red/Orange, Red/Violet, Blue/Violet, Blue/Green, Yellow/Green


Analogous colours are located close on a colour wheel

Complementary colours located opposite each other on a colour wheel

Split complementary, a colour and the two colours next to its complementary

Monochromatic colours shades or tints of the same colour

Triadic, three colours spaced equally apart

Please find available here a PDF Printout of a Watercolour guide for beginners to help you enjoy your medium to the max :) 

Januarys Inspiration

The Dragonfly

Scientific name ; Anisoptera

PDF Printout here, how to draw a dragonfly

My first entry in my 2020 Art Journal

To watch a dragonfly dance across the water on a hot day is the epitome of summer. Always fascinated by the beautiful wings and how they stop, hover and dart away.

To prepare your journal, place a sheet of absorbent paper between the page you are working on and the page below. Tape a border with masking tape and activate your page ready to absorb the paint. I'm imagining an abstract pond of colour for the dragonfly to dance across and this is what we are beginning. Please follow the gallery to the left, for a step by step account of how I have created my dragonfly.

Remember, This is only an inspiration. Feel free to use any medium you have available and any composition you find pleasing.

To have you image included in our monthly gallery, please forward your image along with your first name in an email via this link by 31/01/20.

Happy creating. Many thanks, Natalie

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