During my workshop at Tupare House with Taranaki Regional Council in May this year I was fortunate to have writer and poet Virginia Winder (aka Weta Woman) as one of my students. Virginia wanted to both attend as a student and also review the course. After many conversations about my work over the last decade, Virginia has written a very generous story linked here:
I've been teaching Beginners Botanical Art Workshops since 2004, when I had a studio at Corban Estate Arts Centre, in West Auckland and ran weekly night courses. Although I am not formally trained in Botanical Art, my approach to teaching is very practical - I literally teach what I have spent years trying to figure out myself.
Botanical Art is a classic art form and the only modern thing about my class is that we use acrylic paint, synthetic brushes and not watercolour and sable hair.
Over the last 3 years, I have been focusing my teaching more toward the area of research I developed during my Doctorate of Fine Arts (DocFA) studies that I completed in 2016. This approach or methodology, is based on an intention to highlight the benefits of connecting with our natural environments - both metaphysically and creatively.
Recently I have been considering the wider implications on our mental and physical well being when we allow ourselves the time and space to have a deeper more observational approach to being in nature. There is a school of thought that suggests spending time in nature has benefits to our health beyond the obvious 'getting some fresh air'. My workshops are basically an entry level approach to observational drawing and painting plant subjects, but they are also an introduction to a more modern approach to mindful creativity and eco therapy.
Simply put, being closer to nature is good for us, and learning to draw and paint plants is certainly up close and personal!