Admiration and Appreciation


It has to be said that if it wasn’t for my husband Peter’s wonderful photography I would not have anything to sketch.

So before I take my leave to the city of Canberra, hopefuly a weekend jam-packed with family fun. Like a visit to Questacon, to check out a Spider Exhibition (Eeek! kids choice! Due to a live huntsman colony on show) Of course then to my favourite, a Bird Aviary. Also to the Old Bus Depot Markets for a shopping spree, yay we love shopping.

So before I leave I wanted to share my better half’s photo’s.

I imagine we will have plenty more after we visit the Canberra bird aviary.

Peter and I take our camera’s at every opportunity, but somehow he captures the better photo. Neither of us have much of an idea on the technical side of things, well he may know a bit more than me. I’m a point and shoot kinda gal (keep it simple) and Pete well as you can see he has a flare for capturing much more than most amateur photographers. Keep and eye out for the four legged gull (I kid you not!)

We enjoy a healthy competition to see who can get the best capture of the day. He beats me every time. And so I usually end up using his photo’s for my art.

How could I not.

Enjoy the many beautiful images from the birds, farm life and of course the cows.

My dream when we retire is to go on a birdy-bucket-list tour. First around Australia and see all the birds that are not in our state. Then a bird tour in the United States one day to see the hummingbird. Yes I will die happy if I get to see one in the wild.

Birds have become a big part of our life, and I hope to join a local bird watching group when I get some time. Enjoy the slideshow of some of Pete’s stunning bird captures.

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This post is to say thanks to my Husband for forever surprising and inspiring me, as you can see from the photos and my art below. They are perfection and I hardly do them justice.





Sometimes I think I should not try, yet something stirs the creative soul when I look upon them and I have to create.

I will leave you with one of my favourite cat portraits of Apple the cat. I could imagine this one on a giant canvas, one day I will get around to it.

Thanks for stopping by I would like to know where your inspiration comes from when you create?


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All We Have is NOW

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Today I had a huge decision to make, a free day to catch up on either the domestics, due to family arriving this weekend or follow a vibe that I needed to paint.

As you would have worked out by the above painting  my house is still in chaos. But I could not resist turning up the music and following the muse. I have not dragged my paint box out in a long, long time due to my passion for using pencils mostly.

I guess the painting reminds me of Spring and the changing seasons give me the energy to declutter. It didn’t happen today but I’m glad I followed my heart and created this little fellow. I have sketched him before and thought he would look good in paint as well.

I have been revisiting old art to see how far I have come and sketched this crow again too. I guess tomorrow I will behave and get the house in order.

BUT I don’t feel guilty at all, seize the day People.DSCN8436 (copy) My next creative opportunity will be Thursday, thats picture book illustration day. If we don’t grab the moments when they become available, they vanish quick enough.

Whether you are heading into Autumn or Spring I hope life is inspiring you to create. I know nature will never stop amazing me.

Enjoy the NOW, go for it! Create Create Create.

Posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized | 98 Comments

Out of My Comfort Zone

IMG_1261 (copy)I know I have not been present in the blogging world, my attention has been with my picture book illustrations. To say I am out of my comfort zone is somewhat dramatic but I’m now thinking about the big picture and even how I am going to get the book out there into the hands of children once I have completed it. For me that is an amazing thought and one I never dreamed I could do. But now I see it in my mind and its all about the hard work. Creating my best work in the hope it captures the imagination or attention it deserves. So whilst I play with illustrations (can’t show originals sadly) I will share another small journey.

A great opportunity to push my skills with a commission to sketch a beautiful pet. She is unwell and my client wanted a memory for her daughter (now grown) of her favourite horse. I’m not that confidant with sketching horses and it is hard to create a portrait and capture the character of the animal from old photos which were not good quality. But in the pet portrait world it seems that people usually don’t have any good quality compositions or images. The darling horse in her day was beautiful. Recent illness and the photos of her now she is almost unrecognisable. We googled the breed of horse to get an idea of colour etc. To create a pencil sketch this large excited me I must say. Yet I was also a little nervous that I would not capture her spirit with so little reference to go on.

I sent my client a black and white outline of the composition (above) taken from several photos. She loved it and said she wanted just the outline, she was happy with that. I told her that the pencil rendering would be even better. Even though I had never really sketched a horse for a client before. I knew I could do better than the pencil outline.

Trust in your instincts and see where they take you. I have left a step-by-step rendering, you can see her come alive. My client was ecstatic and when she handed the artwork to her daughter she cried. She said I had captured her baby perfectly. Not all my art turns out this well but it’s just a matter of starting again if its wrong. I am happy that I can create art that someone can keep as a cherished memory of a special friend.

I hope when the opportunity comes for you to step out of your comfort zone you take the chance to learn something new. Thanks for supporting my blog and I hope to get back to regular blog posts soon.

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Sweet Retreat

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The most anticipated event of the year!

The Bundanon Art Retreat in April. It has been and gone already!

It is a wonder that I have not blogged about it sooner but my writing days slip into a deep dark void of nothingness. I look at the calendar and feel I have lost clumps of time and I have. It seems to be happening more and more.  I have so many things I could be writing about. Yet my attention and motivation for art have shifted my passions around.

My writing slows and the drive to blog also. I know it’s just a faze. I’m not going to panic, just go where my interests take me. I decided only to blog when I felt the need to share something of value. Yet still, it is almost the end of June! The need to polish those writing skills is the reason I started the blog in the first place. For someone living in a rural setting, (no neighbours). Blogging is a fantastic way to connect with fellow creatives from across the globe. I will try to do better next month.

Now…….back to art. The Bundanon Retreat is available to the common folk due to the generosity of Arthur Boyd and his wife. They decided to donate their homestead and property back to Australia. Many creatives have benefited from the artist in residence programs (would be an amazing experience).

For the second year I drove to Bundanon eager to experience a few days learning new skills. Although it is not just about the art. The energy in the class is a real buzz too.  It is time well spent honing new skills and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The joy and laughter is infectious. Old friends catch up, share stories of life and also enjoy the odd glass of wine at the end of the day.

Mary and Jim deliver the goods, each lesson activates the senses. Opening my eyes to new ideas. It does help that there are no kids, (I mean that in the nicest way) no one to interrupt that creative flow.

Just me and my muse with oodles of time to play.

One particular area they utilise for inspiration is a walk into the nearby forest. We gear up with protective layers to combat the waiting leeches. They drop from the trees like black rain, with amazing accuracy. No kidding, little suckers turn up without an invitation. Two years running no leech for me. My ammunition? I drown myself in an expensive perfume and wear a pair of chunky boots (worked so far). Jim brings the salt and mozzy spray and off we go.

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Sitting under the canopy of tall spotted gums, there is a natural high as my eyes soak up nature. Our teacher Mary hands out the charcoal, we must colour the whole paper black (messy but fun). Mary asks us to choose a view to sketch. She then takes her erasure and proceeds in sketching, by selecting all the highlighted areas first.

I could not wait to start.

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After rubbing out the areas of light with my erasure I was stunned at the effect. We were then told to darken the shadowed areas with charcoal once more. A simple technique that had startling effects.


I ended up using a tangerine charcoal to finish. But I actually preferred the black and white one better. The beauty of the exercise is there is no going back and thats okay, its all about the process.

At the end of each day I did not create brilliant work. But boy did I learn many a new technique. The company and general positivity about the camp, leaves a certain joy in your soul, that is only found at Bundanon.

I look forward to getting a place next year. My husband supports my time out and believes I deserve a couple of days off from the Mummy-me. I also get to spend time with two of my beautiful sisters Coleen and Carmel. And their gorgeous friends, like Nicky. Although sis Carm did not plan to stay over night this year and drove home the first night. Her new baby boy needing her more and fate decided that she was not to return when her car had a flat tyre. Hopefully next year Carm.

If you get the chance to go on any kind of retreat I would say go for it! My world is richer for the experience.

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Enjoy the slides this was only one lesson. We actually learned how to make a collagraph print too. Here is a link to a youtube clip of how its done, I love what this artist creates. I was happy with my raven collagraph, yes I had to sketch the birds whilst I was at Bundanon.

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Story Prompt 3 Winnie and Wink

This Prompt was not as easy as the other two. Not because I wasn’t inspired by all the wonderful and whacky prompts. No, it was a busy time. School holidays (say no more!),  Art Retreat at Bundanon (fabulous as always), seven stitches in my back, removing a suspect mole (was a bad one but all gone now), and life just got in the way of blogging and reading blogs. (That happens a lot lately.)

I want to thank Randall over at for his crazy contribution in the comments. The kids loved his prompt. Please if you are not following Randall’s website you are missing out. His photography is a visual feast for the senses and he is also a unique wordsmith with interesting thoughts on life.

Thanks a bunch Randall you never know this story may become a picture book in time. Thank you to everyone who left a prompt. I hope you enjoy the story.

Winnie and Wink

writing prompt by Kath Unsworth

Whinnie to the Rescue

Winnie and Wink


Winnie and Wink

Winnie and Wink were the best of friends. They did everything together.

Their favourite game of all was hide and seek.

Winnie always found Wink. And Wink always claimed that the next time Winnie would never, EVER find her. But she always did.

“Why won’t you let me find you for a change?” asked Wink.

“Because you need more practice at hiding. And until you get better at it, your  Mum said you have to keep practicing. You don’t want the two-legged monsters to catch you and eat you, do you?”

“No I don’t, but it’s still not fair!”

“Well I’m the best at hiding and you need more practice.” Boasted Winnie.

The next day Wink set off to hide, again she shouted those familiar words.

“You will never, EVER find me!”

Whinny smiled to herself, she always found Wink. Yet by late afternoon Winnie was pacing up and down.

She had looked high, and low and in all Wink’s favourite hiding places, there was no sign of Wink, not even her scent in the air. Winnie refused to say the words I give up. That would mean her friend had finally won. Winnie did not like to lose.

Where could she be? She hoped Wink had not ventured into the land of the two-legged monsters to hide. No bunny was safe out there.

She heard a high-pitched squeal and wondered if it was Wink. Without thinking she scampered out of the woods into the clearing.

The two-legged monsters were stomping around in a garden. To Winnie’s horror they were collecting stunned bunnies.

Her heart stopped when she found a bunny that wore a pink ribbon just like Wink’s, only she was wrapped from head to toe in pink paper.

“What have they done to you Wink?” She knew this had to be some kind of black magic the two-legged monsters had used on her friend.

She had to think fast.

She lifted Wink over her shoulder and ran as fast as her hind legs could go. Back into the safety of the forest.

“Wink! Wink! Talk to me!“

It was no use Wink did not talk or move. Winnie felt bad for making Wink hide all the time.

“I promise Winky if we get out of this mess I will let you be the finder.” She sobbed. “I give up, you win!” She sobbed some more, wrapping her arms around her best friend’s cold stiff body.

“Who are you talking to Winnie?” Said a small voice from behind a bush.

“Wink! it’s you, I found you at last!”

“No you didn’t! I won, you gave up remember.” Wink said hugging her friend. “So tomorrow I get to find you.”

“Yes okay you won, you are the best at hiding, but what are we going to do about this poor bunny?”

Winnie and Wink went back home carrying the strange bunny. They hoped the elders might know a bunny spell to save it.

But that’s another story.

THE END or is it???

Let me know if you can imagine this as a picture book? And thanks for reading.

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PROMPT Me Punk 3



Easter Monday and I finally arrive at my blog. My mind on over drive from too much Lindt bunny chocolate. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We were lucky enough to spend it with family on the beach. Autumn is here but the days have been warm enough for a swim.

Looking at the amount of posts I have written for March, I must admit it’s slim pickings. My apologies. As I work on my illustrations for the picture book I am avoiding social media and the time traps that suck the good sketching light out of each day.

After all that chocolate I’m in the mood for some FUN. Happy to bring back Prompt Me Punk  3. It delights me to see the ideas the readers come up with. Eventually I imagine I will reshape these stories and create other picture books from them.

Please contribute your idea  in a sentence or two, the sillier the better………

Choose two main characters.

One big problem.

Make sure you have names and if they are human or animal. Remember my children will be choosing the prompt that they would like to see me do.

REMEMBER real life can be stranger than fiction. Think about your pets or kids, or both and something crazy that may have really happened. For example today I found a tiny snail no bigger than my fingernail sitting on top of a cows head. It looked so small and vulnerable up there and so my husband put him back in the garden. My mind went crazy with picture book ideas.

I look forward to creating something special and thank you for inspiring me to challenge myself. I bid farewell to March and hope April is kind to us all.

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The Other Me


Abseiling with my my sister.

The Other Me.

My children don’t really know her. I had forgotten about her until the other week when we went on a family adventure. My daughter’s birthday, we decided to keep it simple with just the four of us. Willow wanted to do the tree climb at a local fun park. They all wore these cheeky grins when I agreed to come along, like they knew something I didn’t. They had after all experienced the tree climb once before.

The kids jumped around excited that I was keen to come along. Mum usually sat on the beach or the sidelines waving at them and reading a book. Not this time. They warned me it was no easy feat and a bit scary. Especially if the wind picked up. I can tell you I was a tad nervous yet I pretended everything was fine. But I had a secret. My kids had not met the other me, the adventurous one before marriage and babies.

On arrival we lathered ourselves in sunscreen and drank gallons of water in ready for a hot day. I listened carefully to the safety talk, our trusty guides joked with us as they strapped us into our gear. My boy took to the ladder first, like a monkey chasing the last banana at feeding time. Then Pete followed him, up higher and higher with little effort. Willow smiled at me. I know she was checking to see if my knees were knocking. They were but I tried to look calm. She waved, then set off up into the sky towards the first platform.

My turn. I will remind the readers I have not attempted anything this physical in a long while.  But I thought about my years as a backpacker, all the different challenges I set myself. One step after another and using my yoga breath I found myself at the tops of the canopy. I will admit the ladder climb is one of the most challenging parts of the course, just don’t look down. My heart was thumping wildly but I smiled and waved at the kids like I had climbed it one hundred times before.

Foggy memories. The other me abseiling down a mountain cliff, came flooding back. As I attached myself for the ride of my life, I reminded the older me I had experienced much worse. I heard the kids cheering me on as I flew across the park on the flying fox. “Go Mum!”

It felt amazing.

The other me would have been fearless on the ropes and steps of the course. The other me was much younger, blonde and in prime condition. Shaken at first, slowly I gained confidence being up so high. I was thankful for the many weeks of yoga. My upper body strength was not brilliant, but I managed. Climbing nets, stepping across swinging polls and walking on thin cables.

When you reach the end they warned me there is a drop down to a small mat, way down below. Instead of thinking about it, I thought about a sky dive, a tandem  jump I did in my thirties. No fear there.


I wondered why I had changed so much after children. How did I become this safe and boring person. You definitely change when you become a mother. Maybe a bit too serious at times, due to being the discipline police with little ones. Well I’m happy to say, now the children are almost both teens the other me has found her way back. In the last couple of months we have been active, embracing life. Bike riding, walking, using a paddle ski at the beach and now tree climbing. Where will we go next?

When I reached the platform I looked down at my tiny family below, waving up at me. I connected my link to the pulley and jumped, no hesitation. I knew the safety harness and the pulley would slow my decent for a soft landing. The drop was so much fun.

Pete commented at how I jumped off without a thought. I smiled and thanked the universe for all the amazing adventures the other me had experienced. It was cool to see my children look at me in a different light. My only regret is we did not get any photos. In the rush of adrenaline I said yes to doing it all again for my son’s birthday in July. Then I heard they are making a black course which will be even more challenging. Oh well I will have to ask the other me if she is available on that day.

When have you surprised your kids and shown them another side of you? I would love to hear about it.

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