Monday, 24 August 2020

A Decade of Art Matters

Ten years ago on  24th August 2010, I wrote these words in the first post for my blog Art Matters.

Art matters - it has mattered all my life and I hope that in this blog I'll give you an idea of the importance it has for me. However, art hasn't always taken centre stage as I have done so many others things along the way.

Aloes  - oil on canvas. 2010 

These iconic South African flowers were painted shortly before I left Durban. 

I had just received notification that my visa application to move to Australia had been approved. It was time to get organised. I knew that I would have to find a way to establish myself as an artist and teacher in a place where I only knew a handful of people, quite removed from the place where I was well known and had good connections in the art world. 

Creating a website and writing a blog were a good start. I had no idea whether any one would even see the blog let alone read anything I wrote but I did it anyway. Gradually people saw it and read my posts and left the odd comment.

Flinders Blue - oil on canvas 1000mm x 1000mm - 2011. 

This abstract was an early commission

I decided from the start to treat the blog as a way of documenting my journey from Durban, South Africa to Brisbane, Australia. From a personal perspective I enjoy looking back at some of the posts, remembering the highs and lows of the last ten years. 

Pink roses with mirrors - oil and silver leaf on canvas 900 mm x 900 mm - 2012

A commission for a local hairdressing salon Sabe Hair 

Over the years the frequency of posting has waxed and waned depending on what else was happening. When I began the blog there were many bloggers who maintained the stance of “post every day”. I decided from the start that I would only write when I had something to say. This approach has worked well. 

Deja Bru Cafe  acrylic on canvas 3600 mm x 1200 mm - 2012. 

A mural for my local cafe. 

When I landed in Brisbane at the beginning of December it was a step into the unknown. I wasn’t entirely alone though because I stayed with my daughter and her family for the first six months until I could move into my own home. 

Portofino - oil on canvas. 900 mm x 900 mm - 2012 

One of three paintings commissioned by Maverick Travel for their offices.

Reeds  rise from water - oil on canvas 700 mm x 700 mm 2013

Floods in Brisbane 

Within a couple of weeks, though, my plans for exploring the city and meeting new people were put on hold because in January Brisbane and the surrounding area were hit with terrible floods. The city centre including the art galleries were inundated and remained closed for months. Many people lost their homes and businesses. So I had to put my plans on hold. 

Riverside Trees - oil on linen 900 mm x 610 mm 2014
Winner of the Nundah Art Show Grand Prize

Watching oil on canvas 910 mm x 610 mm 2015

Damask Peony oil on canvas 765 mm x 765 mm - 2016

Evening Light - Noosa 760 mm x 1200 mm 2017

I started teaching art in first week in my own home with a couple of students. Over the years the number of classes and students have increased. New connections led to painting commissions and opportunities. Exhibitions provided a place for my paintings to have a wider audience.

Escarpment Shadows - oil on canvas 610 mm x 455 mm - 2018.

I am constantly drawn back to the Drakensberg mountains. 


The wind scatters the golden leaves - oil on canvas 2019 

This year has been one of the most challenging with the arrival of COVID 19. My classes in the Hamilton Road Studio have been replaced by Zoom classes. Recently, with the support of Farm House Kedron I have the opportunity to teach in person on a Thursday - it’s so good to teach face to face again. 

Strelitzia squared - oil on canvas 500 mm x 500 mm 2020 

A huge thank you all my supporters over the years - the collectors who bought my paintings; the local businesses who commissioned paintings for their offices and lastly, and most importantly, all those artists who have attended my classes, supported me, befriended me and helped establish a haven for creativity. 

I look back on these years and realise - I did it! I have a good happy life. 

Thank you. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Art @ Farmhouse

I’m loving teaching people face to face during Thursday’s Art @ Farmhouse. After months of screens only it makes a pleasant change. Last week we drew and painted magnolias (not real unfortunately) but beautiful all the same. 

This week we are “ Painting Pop Food” - milkshakes, smoothies and burgers. 

Last year I worked on a commission for Milk Cafe Ashgrove. The refurbishment  of the cafe included a new wall mural of a sketch I had done in the cafe previously and new watercolours for vinyl window coverings. It was such an enjoyable project.

The Interior of Milk Cafe Ashgrove

A view from Ashgrove Avenue

A delicious Burger and chips

Coming up Thursday 20th August Harvest Table 

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Art @ Farm House

UPDATED 1st August 2020

Thursday Art @ Farm House now 6.00 to 8.00 pm

Have you been creating art on your own at home?

Do you crave some face-to-face social contact with like-minded creatives?


Classes at the Hamilton Road Studio have been held online using Zoom. These were more successful than I had anticipated, and those who attended coped really well. 


But… we all missed the social camaraderie we enjoyed in the physical StudioTrying to find a way to reopen the Hamilton Road Studio safely under the current restrictions has been an ongoing dilemma for me


Now, through the generosity of Amanda from Farm House Kedron we have a wonderful solution. She has offered us the use of the Farm House Kedron Café on a Thursday from 4.30 pm


Art @ Farm House

While you create you can enjoy a glass of wine or nibble on a cheese platter; and most importantly catch up with old friends and as an extra bonus make some new ones. The venue can accommodate up to 40 people while remaining safe. Teaching such a large number is not part of my plan so the numbers will cap at 20.


These evenings will be a way to spend some together as I am sure you crave some face to face human contact in a creative setting. We will work in the large Farm House Hall which will ensure proper social distancing.


You will be able to book and pay for each evening through the booking feature on the Farm House website. At the same time, you can order a drink or snack. In additionMiss Sophias Gelateria will be open all the time so you can indulge in a sweet treat. 

There will be large tables, but no easels and you would need to bring your own supplies as communal art media cannot be shared.

Café Sketching

Sketching in a café is a popular activity with urban sketchers. However, COVID 19 put this on hold. If you are a novice it can be intimidating to pull out  sketchbook and start drawing. Our first session of Art @ Farm House will give you an opportunity to practice. There is an array of fascinating objects, succulents and pot plants that will be available as drawing subjects as well as other inspiration we’ll introduce over time.

There is an array of fascinating objects, succulents and pot plants that will be available as drawing subjects. Other techniques and mediums will be introduced later - please let me know where your interest lies.

 I have often sketched at Farm House as you can see from these sketches.

What to bring

The materials should be whatever you have on hand – keep it simple.


A few suggestions:


• Drawing paper – loose sheets or a sketchbook 
• Drawing tools: Pencils, pens, either fine liners, fountain pens or ballpoint pend, markers, or pencil crayons – these can be watercolour pencil crayons or standard pencils. 
• If you have a set of watercolours you use for urban sketching this would be useful. 


Art @ Farmhouse 6.00 to 8.00 pm

9 Somerset Road, Kedron

BOOKINGS - click for bookings page

• Cost $22.00 
• Drinks and snacks extra
• Bookings can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance i.e. by Wednesday 6.00 pm.
• Book and pay on the Farm House website. Select Events and the date. You will receive a booking confirmation email and materials list.
Bookings can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance i.e. by Wednesday  4.30 pm.

I hope you will come along and join us for a creative time with like-minded artists up in this exciting new venture.





Thursday, 25 June 2020

Man’s Best Friend

Over the years I have painted Man’s Best Friend a number of times so today when I was asked to send images of my work I decided a blog post including the doggie portraits would be a good idea. 

Norbert - watercolour on paper 
Kinsey’s pup - watercolour on paper

Laura’s pup - watercolour on paper

Laura’s pup - watercolour on paper

Blaze - oil on canvas 

Dakota, above and Belle below - both oil on canvas 

Monday, 20 April 2020

Autumn in the Studio

Update 15th May 2020

Tuesday class is underway, but newcomers are welcome. Please contact me at

It’s been a month since the Hamilton Road Studio moved online using Zoom. Theoretically Term 2 starts this week. It seems that we will remain online for some time to come so I would like to offer more variety. I have created a new online class using Zoom and will work in the same manner as the existing weekly classes where the artists interact with each other, share work and develop new skills.

Experimenting with materials

The emphasis will be on experimentation with simple materials that can be done in a small space - the kitchen table for instance.There will be a theme set prior to each week’s class with suggested materials that will be needed. Each week I will demonstrate some techniques so I will be experimenting as well.

The new class will run in addition to the regular three hour weekly classes which will continue as scheduled. 

I wanted to offer something shorter (although we do have time in abundance!) and more affordable. We will also be recycling older work that’s been lying around for some time - think collage, concertina books from paintings and revisiting previous themes that can be more fully developed. 
If you don't have Zoom please use the following link and download the app.

You will need to register and create a password. You can use your desktop, laptop, iPad, tablet or phone  as any of these will work. The larger screen will enhance your experience.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Studio classes - one month on...

Since establishing the weekly classes in my Studio almost ten years ago, one of the most treasured aspects is the strong sense of community that has been nurtured here. I love that I have  seen experimentation and developing creativity; artists mastering skills and techniques; and also the sharing of experiences - often happy and sometimes sad. 

It’s been a month now that we meet, not in my little Studio but online, I am both happy and thankful that this sense of community remains. 

I thought I would give you an idea of how it all works. 

The class schedules remain unaltered and we meet on the same day at the same times - routine is good. I start a class in Zoom and then the artists sign in. By the way, we have had no security issues using Zoom. At times the connection might be a little slow, (thanks to the whole world beong constantly online) otherwise it's been relatively easy. 

We can see and hear each other; have a chance to touch base and chat about our week; share work in progress and offer suggestions, advice and encouragement. The community atmosphere of sharing and friendship remains. 

The smiling faces of the Saturday group.

Before the class starts, I am sent photographs of work in progress. Then by using my iPad connected to my laptop we can all view the work. I can annotate the photograph showing any possible amendments. This is particularly useful when beginning a work and the design needs to be altered. I have worked like this in the Studio for some time so its good to be able to continue in the same way. 

Here we were talking about the contrasting vertical and horizontal aspects of this lovely watercolour of giraffes, and how the shadows at the bottom would add a strong design feature. 

This is a photograph of a still life set up was sent to me. Here, using Procreate I can demonstrate the wide range of colours found in the photograph - it shows that green is not just one green and brown has many variations too. 

Term 2 

Since none of us were going anywhere a communal decision was taken to continue with classes over Easter so the first term will happily roll into the second.


If anyone would like to join us please send me an email at, we would love to have you. There is also the opportunity for one-on-one sessions and individual mentorship. I would love to discuss your personal requirements. 


A recent mail from a Studio attendee:

Hi Carol,

Count me in Carol. Same time, same place.
I commend you on the effort you have put in. I was so surprised how you managed to make the class enjoyable and productive. You should feel very proud of yourself.
The accountability is good for me, and the rewards from producing my art ........ words cannot express.

See you tomorrow🎨👌

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Taking stock March 2020

It was a confronting realisation this morning to see that I have been MIA from my blog since the first week in January. I did have a couple of draft blog posts waiting but those were never completed. Now March is almost over, and the world is a very different place. When I advertised my classes I didn’t imagine that these would now continue in a whole new format. 


Zoom has become my Studio with students getting together to share their work and continue learning. More than this though, it’s a place to stay connected with friends and maintain the strong community that has developed over the years. We can share a virtual cup of coffee and have a laugh. 

Artists, writers, in fact all creative people, are uniquely suited to this new life. We do spend much of our time in studios, away from others, making our art. Now we have that much more time to do this. But we still need our supportive community. This is where, in 2020, society is fortunate to have amazing technologies that allow us to share and engage easily. 

Imagine living during the time of The Black Death 1665 or The Spanish Flu 1918 - 1920 - no phones; no internet; no Facebook groups or WhatsApp chats. It would have been very a lonely time. 

We might feel the constant bombardment of information oppressive but, indeed, we are blessed that life can continue in isolation but with the benefit of being intimately connected.

Forward Planning

My plan going forward is to spend more time creating. I paint and draw because I need to; I feel whole when I have made something beautiful. For that time that I am engaged I forget about what is happening outside the Studio, my chattering mind that churns constantly is stilled. My mood lifts.  I plan to share what I have made so hopefully I will encourage others to be creative too.

Here is something to brighten your day and cheer you up. This painting would have been submitted to the Rotary Art Spectacular, but of course that has now been cancelled. 

Strelitzia Squared - Oil and cold wax on canvas 505 mm x 505 mm

And, of course, if you love this and would like it to brighten your life forever, please contact me - it is available.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Art classes 2020

The new year is time for new adventures. 
Why not explore your creativity by attending an art class? 
In addition to learning new skills, or brushing up on skills you already have, you will join a group of like-minded supportive artists and make new friends. 

Currently there are a couple of places available on Wednesday evening, Friday and Saturday mornings. Thursday classes are fully enrolled.
If you have a have any questions please get in contact with me via email at

Reviews for classes
This lovely email came from an artist...

Good morning Carol,
Just wanted to pop you an email to tell you about my experiences at your studio.

When I started art classes at your Studio 5 years ago I hoped that your classes would reignite my interest in painting.  I had dabbled with painting in high school and a few classes when my children were young but had not pursued it any further than that.  I have learnt so much from you….. I love that each student in your class is encouraged to pursue their own ‘style’.  

I love that we, as a group, encourage and learn from each other. I enjoy the little talks or mini lectures you give on a different style or artist and how your classes are not just about the actual painting but also about the ‘love of art’. So good for the soul. 

When I started 5 years ago I had hoped to achieve certain things.  I have done this and more.  I thank you for sharing your knowledge with me ....


One of the artists wrote this in an email to me after a painting was accepted for the Rotary Art Spectacular Exhibition:

Hi Carol
I’m so excited just to have my art accepted .
Your mentorship over the years has been invaluable Thanks Carol and looking forward to my projects for next term.


And one more recent email:

I would like to also thank you for making the art classes so interesting and giving us, especially me, the confidence to have a go.   I feel like I am finally getting into the hang of this painting thing and actually liking what I am doing.  

I did of bit more work on the sand grasses and actually forwarded a copy to family and friends, instead of just hiding it away.   Big step for me.   Thank you.